The Future of Public Transport: Why Cities Need to Get Smarter

The Future of Public Transport: Why Cities Need to Get Smarter
Address: UrbanThings Limited
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UrbanThings

The Future of Public Transport: Why Cities Need to Get Smarter

The past twelve months have posed more questions than ever for passenger transport. After a general decrease in ridership over the past decade, the disruption of COVID-19 could be a true tipping point for the industry. With the pandemic acting as a catalyst for change, we’re examining how the industry can re-invent itself, by looking back at the last transformative year and answering the big question of, “now what?”

We’ve analysed our mobility platform data, posed vital questions to industry experts and passengers, and highlighted significant developments and trends that are shaping this future vision of smarter cities.

2020: The Big Pause

In 2020, we saw the passenger transport industry completely pause. The severe impact on travel was felt across the globe, with average city road traffic levels decreasing by half in the first six months of 2020. Closer to home here in the UK, we saw public transport usage down to just 10% of ‘normal’ pre-pandemic levels.

There were some promising early signs of recovery as the lockdown rules relaxed in late Summer, with bus usage up 60% and train travel steadily rising to 40%.

Statistics from UrbanThings: The Rise of Mobile Ticketing as a Safer Means of Payment

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, our customers in the bus industry have been encouraging passengers to use contactless payment forms, such as mobile ticketing as a safe payment option. We explored our data to understand the effect of lockdown on mobile ticketing.

Once restrictions were relaxed in September, mobile ticketing demand increased to nearly double the pre-pandemic average. This shows how behaviour change has incentivised smart travel as passengers move away from traditional methods and towards m-Ticketing.

Technological innovation played its part in aiding sector recovery in the wake of COVID-19. UrbanThings was part of this effort, winning £100k in government funding to develop a live vehicle occupancy prediction feature to provide passengers with peace of mind. Also key was increasing the availability of real-time passenger information. UrbanThings was active here too, working with Transport for London to introduce the driver app with accurate vehicle tracking, ensuring safe travel for NHS staff to and from the Nightingale hospital.

Catalytic Change Towards Smart Travel

We saw significant developments across the industry in 2020 as the pandemic acted as a catalyst towards smart technology. The passing of the Buses Bill was a significant moment, allowing the public sector to start influencing how bus services are operated and, crucially, ensure their connection into the wide data ecosystem. Other key developments included Milton Keynes Council voting to abandon fixed buses and replace them with an ‘on demand’ service, and the DfT’s investment of £90m into ‘Future Transport Zones’ which could implement similar, MaaS-style modernisations elsewhere.

A shift in the availability of data also began: the UK bus open data system (BODS) launch means location and arrival time information with be provided nationwide, and live occupancy being extended on UK rail data systems too shows movement across the industry towards wide-scale smart technology use.

2021: So, Now What?

We predict how transport will evolve given the disruption of COVID-19 and the acceleration towards smart travel, and source expert viewpoints from across the industry.

www.urbanthings.co

Latest UrbanThings News

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Paragon ID Acquires UrbanThings to Accelerate Growth Of Digital S...

Paragon ID, provider of digital identification solutions, has acquired UrbanThings, a leading UK supplier of digital transport solutions.

UrbanThings and Littlepay Partner to Bring MaaS to the Masses

UrbanThings and Littlepay Partner to Bring MaaS to the Masses

A partnership between UrbanThings and Littlepay will enable multi-operator and multi-modal contactless payments and capping. 

Ticketing Comes to UK Bus Checker after 10 Years

Ticketing Comes to UK Bus Checker after 10 Years

Ticketing Comes to UK Bus Checker after 10 Years UrbanThings is well-known for developing technology solutions that enable MaaS for cities and operators. But...

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Introducing the Rail+ Club from UrbanThings

The UrbanThings team has launched the Rail+ Club, a powerful new loyalty App designed to encourage passengers back to rail.

UrbanThings to Provide Platform for Free to Aid Sector Recovery

UrbanThings to Provide Platform for Free to Aid Sector Recovery

UrbanThings has introduced a ‘smart recovery’ promotion in an effort to help transport providers return as the nation prepares for post-pandemic life.

Transport Mobile Ticketing Usage Rises 200%

Transport Mobile Ticketing Usage Rises 200%

UrbanThings have reported a 200% rise in bus mobile ticketing use in Q4 of 2020 compared to pre-pandemic averages in a new white paper.

UrbanThings Launches Trip Reservations in Smart Passenger App

UrbanThings Launches Trip Reservations in Smart Passenger App

UrbanThings have introduced a brand new trip reservations feature as part of the Ticketless passenger app and all-new Ticketless passenger website. 

Ticketless Rolls-Out on Multi-Operator Network Trawscymru

Ticketless Rolls-Out on Multi-Operator Network Trawscymru

Ticketless is now live across several routes on the TrawsCymru network, and integrates with several operators to provide a single, multi-operator solution.

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