Over the past few years, ‘resilience’ has become more important than ever, from navigating through a pandemic to reducing carbon emissions.
It’s a critical part of transport management, ensuring that people and goods can continue to move around in the face of obstacles such as extreme weather conditions, major road, rail or air incidents and infrastructure failures.
Lack of resilience has profound economic and social consequences for both businesses and individuals alike. Pre-COVID, traffic congestion alone cost the US $87 billion in lost productivity in a year (source: WEF). The frustration and stress (not to mention wasted hours) have a detrimental impact on wellbeing and the environment.
COVID-19 also taught us that our transport systems are not as robust as we thought. It saw the transport sector become vulnerable to unexpected changes, such as lockdowns and travel restrictions, with many people forced to explore alternative mobility solutions. In this context, mobility as a service (MaaS) may be able to support local governments in building a more resilient transport system.
According to The Geography of Transport Systems, “…resilience is the capability to recover from a disruption to an operational level similar to prior to the disruption in a timely manner. The longer and deeper the impact of the disruption on operations, the less resilient a transport system is.”
Resilient transport systems can take many forms. For example, they could include a multitude of transport modes to support communities dependent on requirements. During COVID-19, vehicles switched from moving people to moving goods and medical supplies while micromobility options were offered to key workers to help them get to work safely. A key aspect of resilience is the ability to be dynamic and on-demand. This could mean flexible pricing and routes or multifunctioning spaces. Many cities, for instance, responded quickly during the pandemic to increase cycling lanes and encourage active travel.
A further aspect of transport resilience is the ease with which travellers can access available transport within their region. Interconnected transport hubs, reliable information and the ability for people to plan and manage journeys across multiple modes are vital. To achieve this, all stakeholders must operate in an open environment rather than in silos to encourage a flexible and responsive system. Another important factor is the balance between resilience and efficiency. Often at opposing ends of the spectrum, together we must build both into transport systems.
Technology is a key component in a resilient transport system. Its importance in Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning (SUMP) is highlighted in the guide ‘Planning for more resilient and robust urban mobility’, which also adapts seven principles from the City Resilience Index as a framework. Here we look at how MaaS aligns with each of these principles to help make mobility more resilient:
Transportation is critical to the functioning of the economy, city and individual daily life. When a transport system is resilient, it means people and goods can move around with minimal disruption. Public and private vehicles break down, bad weather closes bridges, and traffic congestion or accidents bring highways to a crawl. MaaS solutions can help to provide alternative routes and modes in real time, providing a more adaptable and robust urban transport network – one which also helps to reduce risks and keep mobility ecosystems functioning even in times of crises.
This article was originally published by SkedGo.
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