The world of transport and transport management is on the cusp of dramatic change.
The rate of this change, the exact effects, the period over which the change will take place, and the costs of the change are unknown and cannot be known at this stage. The only variable which can be known is the fundamental, ubiquitous and pervasive change will happen.
There is no one aspect of transport and transport management that will not change. Already, we are seeing the introduction of autonomous vehicles: mostly in a research capacity and still with a human driver ready to take the wheel should the need arise. However, the idea of driverless cars is quickly permeating throughout not only the transport industry, but the general populace.
These autonomous vehicles will be connected. They will communicate in infrastructure, initially the traffic controllers, and will broadcast their telemetry as much as ten times per second. At this stage, it is envisaged that all vehicles within a 300m radius of a transceiver will be in range. If we picture peak hour traffic in a major urban centre and the number of connected vehicles that will be within that 300m radius, the combined data feed per intersection will be phenomenal.
Truly autonomous vehicles (Connected Autonomous Vehicles or CAV) will have the ability to go ubering, that is, while the vehicle is not being used by its owner, it could provide transport for members of the public and thus earn money for the owner. It is predicted that total private car ownership will drop yet, paradoxically, congestion is predicted to increase until approximately 2040.
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) will allow people to purchase travel in a way similar to current phone plans.
Future freight will allow driverless trucks to move freight more efficiently, over greater distances, more quickly than is currently possible. Critically, driverless trucks will remove the drawback of driver fatigue that is rife in the current heavy vehicle industry. So driverless trucks will not only be more economical, they will be orders of magnitude safer than the present industry.
Smart algorithms and new business models may be able to solve problems that we currently take for granted and accept as a cost of living in a modern urban environment. Problems such as congestion, delays due to on-road incidents, and road rage may become things of the past.
These predicted market disruptors must not be underestimated. The coming revolution in transport and transport management will fundamentally change society, both culturally and economically.
However, it is impossible to predict exactly what the disruptors will be and when they will occur.
Organisations involved in the ITS industry need to be ready to ride the wave of disruption to not only survive but flourish, and planning needs to begin now for this disruption.
Have you started planning?
David Apelt, Chief Technology Officer, Transmax