What if each metropolitan mode of transport (from trains and subways to buses and trams, including cars, taxis, scooters and bicycles) was not only carbon neutral, but also perfectly interconnected with each of the other modes as well as with the entire mobility ecosystem?
In such a world, each vehicle is in fact a smartphone on wheels that constantly communicates with other vehicles and with urban infrastructure to optimize routes, speed up logistics, reduce traffic jams and allow passengers to move smoothly between vehicles. different modes of transport and mobility providers.
End-to-end multimodal journeys, a sustainable model
This is a world in which end-to-end multimodal journeys (such as carpooling to go to the station, the tram to enter the city and finally the scooter to reach the office) would be so simple, accessible and straightforward. than getting in a car or hopping in a taxi.
This vision of a fully integrated and optimized mobility ecosystem is not only closer to the needs of travelers, it is also much more environmentally and societal sustainable. It represents the best hope for city planners to persuade citizens to leave their cars in the garage and switch to greener modes of transport.
The question has always plagued city planners: if you build a new mobility service, can you guarantee that citizens will use it? Identifying underserved areas is not enough, it is also necessary to understand the real needs and motivations of those who will use this service.
Identifying underserved areas is not enough, it is also necessary to understand the real needs and motivations of those who will use this service.
Plan mobility systems from the user’s point of view
One way to do this is to use psychological information to plan mobility systems from the user’s point of view, doing a detailed analysis of the traffic needs of a given area and then supplementing the information with an analysis of the psychology of users and their needs.
This approach has been tested in the Lake Geneva region, plagued by persistent traffic jams despite reliable public transport. It not only helped identify the main gaps in the offer, but also showed how the final adoption by comfort-seeking passengers relies on “premium” services that offer more convenience and benefits than services. conventional.
This passenger-centric planning approach can then combine with advances in digital technologies and data analytics to begin building more sustainable and integrated mobility ecosystems.
Create agile services based on demand
A key element of this approach is the creation of agile services that allow the capacity of the system to be increased or decreased according to demand. In practice, however, the difficulty of obtaining real-time data from the system has always made this extremely difficult. Ultimately, this is an issue that continuous V2X connectivity (between a vehicle and its surroundings) could solve in the future.
But in the meantime, transport operators can already do a lot with data from passenger mobile applications, for example, or other sources. The Berlin app Jelbi (powered by the T platformrafi) is an example that is already operational.
Mobility operators must also acquire a spirit of experimentation and open innovation. The integration problem is simply too complex and has too many evolving elements to be solved on its own. Therefore, you have to be ready to share your data with a whole ecosystem of partners and developers, as well as to “live test” as much as necessary different mobility interventions, and this in the real world rather than on a spreadsheet. calculation. the intelligent operating system in Columbus, Ohio, is a good example of a practical application.
Use real-time data and AI
Another key requirement is to use real-time data and AI to make network planning, programming and operations much more responsive and efficient. This means moving away from current, annual or semi-annual processes, for a platform that can continuously optimize the network to increase the capabilities of existing assets. The Israeli platform Optibus is a good example.
Given the disruption inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the difficult financial situation many operators now find themselves in, this is currently the ideal time to reconsider how citizens want to see future mobility ecosystems work. This is a unique opportunity, which should not be missed.
Marc Mechaï, Head of Mobility France & Benelux at Accenture, and Juergen Reers, Global Head of Mobility at Accenture
Expert opinions are published under the full responsibility of their authors and in no way commit the editorial staff of L’Usine Nouvelle.
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