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A paradigm shift in mobility: 3 trends driving social innovation in transport
‘Social Innovation’ is defined as bringing about innovations to deliver life-changing outcomes for both society and individuals. This definition can be applied to the transportation sector by leveraging new opportunities in mobility to deliver benefits to communities and the wider society.
Powering this transformation are three converging trends that are creating the right environment for Social Innovation to flourish: connectivity and convergence, smart governance and social changes and preferences. Here we take a look at the three trends:
Connectivity and convergence
Connectivity is changing the way we – quite literally – connect with transport. Today, using our mobiles to hail and share a taxi is almost ubiquitous in urban environments. But what about in a decade when there will be more than 80 billion connected devices around the world? The next development will be a move towards more automation in the network, and connecting vehicles to infrastructure and devices. The operational benefit from this will be met with customer experience improvements. Connectivity has the potential to positively impact our lives, as well as our commutes, by linking up a seamless vision of connected living.
Public policy will have an increasing role to play in ensuring the efficient and structured delivery of connected transport systems. Forward-thinking mayors and city administrators are now showing leadership in helping to put smart technologies and other innovations at the heart of urban transport.
One of the common initiatives being pursued by governments across the world is opening cities’ vast data resources to private developers to allow them to create transport solutions that really meet a city’s needs. For example, London has an exemplary open data policy, allowing the private sector to innovate on the vast data resources available through the London data store public resource. This enables over 35,000 visits per month from over 450 applications such as CityMapper, which simplify getting around the city and make public transport far easier to use (letting people know, for example, when the next bus is due or how to connect through multiple forms of transport).
Social and demographic changes are transforming the way we view and interact with transport. The proportion of mass transit in several mega cities now exceeds that of private transportation, due to the significant public transport infrastructure developments which make public transport quicker, cheaper and more comfortable. This in turn has left to a shift in people’s attitude towards public transport, with greater acceptance of these options than ever before.
For example, in London, just 34% of trips are made by private car and in Germany, applications for driving licenses amongst 16-29 year olds over the last decade have declined by 14%. Transport providers are increasingly capitalising on the opportunity that the greater acceptance of public transport creates. We see this when looking at high speed rail – as the public increasingly looks to rail as a transport option, Frost & Sullivan research shows there will be an average 6% annual growth in high speed rail track globally until 2020.
These three trends are converging to create the circumstances ripe for Social Innovation. If businesses take advantage of this opportunity, providing innovative solutions to tackle the transport challenges society faces, it will transform the way people get around. This will ultimately bring a more complex but efficient transportation ecosystem, where customers better understand their transport options and operators better understand their customers.