This may seem a bold claim, but the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst in driving forwards a fast-paced reaction from the transport industry. It is clear that things will not – indeed, cannot – be the same again, writes Philippe Vappereau, Chief Executive Officer, Calypso Networks Association, for The Logistics Point September 2020.
We have travelled through the first three eras in little over 100 years: first, the electrical age, enabling underground networks and tramways; second, autopilot systems and automated ticketing to cope with mass transit; and third, passenger information services helping to make public transport attractive and adapt supply to demand.
Ticketing, too, has transformed, with contactless cards simplifying payments and granting easier and faster access to networks. Now, almost overnight, we enter the fourth age of public transport.
This new era is using technology for essential crowd management, reducing unnecessary interactions, minimising contact points, micromobility transport options, improving passenger flow, and encouraging travel at times when the system is quieter, for example by pushing notifications to customers.
The new normal
Public transport today faces a cruel paradox: operating the capacity to handle mass passenger flows when needed, while helping facilitate social distancing to keep people safe if Covid-19 persists or returns.
Transport operators need to live with this reality and adapt to it. An overnight technological breakthrough solving all our challenges is unlikely, but we can assess what technology we have available right now, and improve it, optimise it, and re- evaluate whether there are any untapped possibilities within it.
While transport ticketing technologies are not the sole solution, they can help reduce costs, find customers again, and significantly support social distancing measures.....
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