As Noah walks toward the transit platform at the station, the gateless entry recognizes him through facial recognition or his smart device and debits his account. Video sensors along the way track passengers; flat-panel displays guide Noah to the least congested car. The system uses the passenger information to update overall ridership counts. If capacity is rising, additional cars are prepared to deploy and vice versa as ridership drops toward the end of the day. Lighting and temperature are optimized for maximum comfort and minimal energy. Should an emergency condition occur, the system will immediately act to minimize disruption and, short of that, will insure everyone remains safe, even if an evacuation is required. Passengers with smartphones have full Wi-Fi bandwidth for entertainment and communications. Efficiency, convenience, and safety are maximized. The system basically runs itself.
Many of the transit features described above have already been implemented at one or more locations around the world. The need for simpler, faster, more convenient, and more sustainable transportation is only increasing with time. So too are the number of innovative solutions ready to help usher in a new era of mobility befitting of the age of AI. Transit systems must appeal to Gen Z in the face of competition from autonomous vehicles, Uber, Lyft, and electric scooters.
Public transportation in major metropolitan areas consists of multiple modes, including trains, buses, and shuttles, often connecting with private transportation services. All these modes ideally must communicate, tracking flows in order to optimize complete journeys. The goal is to create an integrated transportation fabric where all modes are tied together with a free flow of information.
In this world of constant change, transportation leaders are becoming more intuitive—to sense and respond to new technology opportunities, social challenges, and resident needs as they emerge. Today’s networks can harness data, technology, and human experience capabilities to tackle both new and long-standing transportation challenges.
Three Trends in Public Transportation
As governments and their private sector partners contemplate their next moves, they should consider the three trends currently reshaping the landscape and ask how these trends can inform their journeys toward a better transportation future.
The network is the key resource enabling this. The network as a platform means it is easy to manage; scalable and flexible as the needs grow; safe and secure with rapidly expanding use of IoT; and provides unlimited data to track assets, riders, and the entire environment. This platform helps insure the best possible rider experience and operational efficiency, with no compromise to security and safety.
When Noah arrives at his destination, his self-driving car has left its parking spot and awaits him at curbside. He had been enjoying a movie on a wide screen display aboard the train and his smart device alertly asks if he’d like to continue watching on his car’s dashboard monitor. All legs of Noah’s trip have been added to his rider loyalty program, which he can check through his loyalty app at any time.