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February 06 2019
By The routeone team

The routeone team is dedicated to bringing you the latest bus & coach industry news, views, jobs and more.

What’s driving the change in urban transport?

From the mobility market to the new generation, there are many factors driving the change in urban transport. Johan Herrlin, CEO at Ito World takes a look at five of them

It’s hard to believe that data-powered urban transport only began in 2005, with the introduction of Google Maps fundamentally altering how we thought about navigating our cities. Then along came the iPhone in 2007, which completely changed how we interact with technology.

Johan Herrlin, CEO at Ito World – delivers of real-time transit data feeds

By 2011, automotive manufacturers were becoming aware of this sea-change in their industry. BMW iVentures launched alongside Uber – and the rest, as they say, is history.

What’s driving change?

The mobility market: Mobility as a service (MaaS) grew in popularity in 2014, when automotive manufacturers launched spin-offs dealing with the threat of urban mobility. Today, the MaaS market is an active space with a lot of investment. Within this space, the key industry drivers are advances in technology and business models.

The new generation: Millennials are playing their part, as population demographics help MaaS come to fruition with a growing number of people living and working in cities and within the shared economy. When compared to baby boomers, millennials don’t have the same association with private car ownership and prestige.

The data deluge: In terms of technological change, open data, open systems and open APIs have all made MaaS possible. Without open systems, the essential bits and pieces aren’t available for developers and entrepreneurs to make use of. The breakneck speed at which autonomous vehicles are coming online, alongside the wider move towards electrification, will also greatly affect the development of MaaS.

The reboot of the bus: Across London there are now a number of bus services – none of them owned by public authorities – operating as on-demand, demand-responsive or fully scheduled bus services. The question is whether these additional private services are going to add to or reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and whether these operators are going to take the profitable routes in the city and leave the unprofitable routes to public agencies.

The rise of micro-mobility: It is clear that the micro-mobility market is exploding. This is because of one simple fact: Cars are bad for users, cities and the planet. Public transport, while it’s fast, low cost and good for the planet, is only useful if you live near pre-existing routes. Micro-mobility offerings bridge these two modes of transport by delivering the same benefits as private cars while being more beneficial to the user and city.

What’s next?

We have to be clear on what a good and bad outcome is for urban mobility in the years to come. We must protect against divisions between profitable and unprofitable routes, which will result in public transport being left to the least well-off demographics and areas of cities.

‘We have to be clear on what a good and bad outcome is for urban mobility’

Most importantly, regulatory frameworks need to prevent this from happening while simultaneously stimulating the sharing of information and data.

There has to be a win-win for public and private organisations and bodies, rather than harsh regulations that stifle innovation.

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