It’s easy to agree that public transport should operate at a right time and place to provide an attractive means of travel for as many people as possible. Indeed, we make it our mission to enable transportation options that cater to the mobility needs of everyone.
But, what is it all for?
Without sufficiently accessible public transport, there are economic opportunities not taken as people can’t get to jobs they may otherwise consider. In turn, for every candidate not accessible to an employer, there are fewer possibilities to run businesses efficiently and thrive.
For every patchy public transport timetable or poor connectivity between the lines, there are exponentially more cars idling in bumper to bumper traffic. In turn, carbon emission targets can’t be met resulting in human and monetary costs that are difficult to account for.
This domino effect goes on.
For every journey not taken because it takes too long, there is a loss of human connection. For every journey that takes longer than necessary, less time is spent at the destination. Compromising our quality of life. Our family time. Our ‘me’ time.
Why is all this so hard to make right?
The tools the transportation industry has been using so far easily fit the analogy of attempting to make fire with flint stones next to an induction cooktop.
Why would you?
Deploying traffic counters, while expensive, may tell you something about the volume of vehicles zooming by in either direction, but nothing about their purpose and nature, where they’ve come from, or where they’re going. So, how can you build optimal infrastructure based on only one of at least three need-to-know variables – how many, where to/from and to what end?
Public transit services utilising automatic counters onboard buses, trams or trains, face a similar quandary. Armed only with their own passenger data, they are also unable to identify opportunities to cater to journeys currently taking place elsewhere.
Studying transportation surveys that are on average done every five years, while a large undertaking, may give you a clue about how people who decided to participate in your survey used to travel. But nothing about everyone else’s needs or how these behaviors may have evolved since. So, how can you tell whether the existing services are still fit for purpose, what to improve upon, what to let go of and why? We believe that every journey matters and everyone’s needs should be accounted for.
Transportation planners and mobility providers we work with make multi-billion dollar decisions not to simply make existing journeys in their communities better, but to increase the odds of better economic outcomes for those so far served, as well as those so far left behind.
They are replacing patchy analogue methods with instantly accessible understanding of what goes on in their cities, towns and beyond in order to assess travel needs and measure impact more accurately.
They are stepping up to the plate to drive a new kind of decision making based on facts, rather than estimates, in order to grow accountability to both internal stakeholders and their citizens at large.
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on everything transportation planners and mobility providers knew about human mobility last Christmas. But, it is becoming clear that not one of our clients can simply write off 2020, and pick up where they left off at the beginning of this year.
We may see more people working from home permanently or fewer people travelling during historic peak times. All of us will still travel and in less predictable patterns. All of us will want more and better travel options as we move to safeguard our health and that of others.
While travel may never be the same, the general trajectory of passenger expectations for ever greater flexibility and convenience will become a steep hill to climb if we’re not prepared.
Enabling transportation options that cater to everyone’s needs has a new sense of urgency to it. We come prepared to help our clients meet this challenge head on.