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What to expect from mobility and transit in 2019?

What to expect from mobility and transit in 2019?
With innovative service offerings and electrification, the mobility industry is on a path of rapid change, raising questions on whether it would be worth owning a private car or just use the public transport systems as they become more and more convenient and efficient. Looking ahead at the new year and providing insights, Optibus recently published a post on what to expect in this industry in 2019.

More electric buses but not everywhere

The idea of electric buses is becoming more and more appealing as a great solution to pollution and energy concerns. So much so that countries in many continents are making a beeline to adopt it. However, Amos Haggiag, Co-Founder and CEO of Optibus, pointed out that countries like China are far ahead of reaching this goal than the more developed economies of Europe and the US.

“Electric bus adoption varies widely between countries and continents,” Haggiag said. “China is committed to electric buses (mostly as a way to control emissions) and, accordingly, there are 16,000 electric-vehicle-public transportation buses in Shenzhen alone, much more than the estimated 300 in the US and the 2,500 in Europe. Shenzhen is now on its way to electrify the city’s taxis.”

Shenzhen is not going to be alone, he continued. Many cities around the world are promoting the transition to electric vehicles and specifically buses. European and North American public transit agencies and operators are gradually piloting or adding electric buses to existing fleets. Local governments and agencies are funding this change, which also needs technology maturity. 2019 will be a year where the numbers of electric buses in Europe and North America will grow. Electric vehicles are substantially quieter so pay attention – you won’t hear them coming.

Increased use of public transport

Economic development and rise in consumer spending have led to more people owning private cars in countries like the US has raised concerns about the declining numbers of public transport ridership. Transport agencies are being forced to look for alternate options to solve this problem, including optimizing riding schedules and trip volumes.

“Ridership is complex and is influenced by many factors,” Haggiag said. “In 2019 new technologies utilizing big data will help improve transit networks by making them more efficient while reducing the costs. Deriving insights from big data utilizing AI will improve on-time performance and the entire rider experience, from better on-time performance to changing routes, new service offerings, etc. These efforts can and will grow ridership, and cities that will invest in these initiatives will see the numbers turn around. 2018 saw few US cities grow ridership; we predict that 2019 will see more such cities.”

Micro-mobility – the next big thing

Tiny transportation solutions like electric scooters, unicycles, and motorized skateboards could become more popular, not just as a main form of transport but also acting as a last-mile solution.

“As adoption numbers go up, micro-mobility will also replace larger shared mobility options that were first to market,” Haggiag pointed out. “New vehicle types that will be better suited for shared/rental use will appear and, with them, new regulations that will make sure drivers, passengers and pedestrians are safe (age restrictions, helmets, etc.). Micro-mobility will keep evolving and new devices will keep popping up around us.”

Changing the role of the government

The changing transport industry landscape could have a profound impact on how governments across the globe function in terms of offering services and regulating them. Solutions like micro mobility devices and shared travel services have paved way for new thinking on how transport will evolve in the coming years. In other words, governments need to think beyond the traditional transport systems and come up with ways to manage the new entrants. 

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