More and more transport experts agree that we’re living through a transformative period across the sector. The changes that are happening are as fundamental as those which accompanied the coming of railways, automobiles and flights. Data is powering transport to enable a cognitive revolution.
A recent survey in The Economist called data the ‘new fuel’ of the 21st century. It’s not a new metaphor, but it’s a useful one. It shows how valuable data is becoming to all sectors of the economy. It also puts into sharp focus the need for better ways of sharing data and refining it to extract valuable insights that can make a difference in the real world. We need those insights so we can power a new era of cognitive mobility.
What we need to do is use data to make travel much more responsive for the individual passenger. For this, we have to use the data to improve the way in which existing resources are utilized – day-by-day, hour-by-hour, journey-by-journey. It’s intelligent mobility based on what people want to do, when they want to do it.
In Helsinki, for instance, they’re taking an approach to transport akin to the Airbnb and Netflix model. The aim is to provide Transport-as-a-Service which you consume as and when you need it. It’s Mobility-as-a-Service’ – it’s like streaming a movie; you watch it when you want to.
By enabling a closer link between supply and demand the transport operators learn more about what people really want, and actually do. They can be encouraged to travel at different times, helping to regulate the service and ease congestion. Price incentives can promote less busy times, and achieve a better balance in terms of revenue. It can even increase overall revenues. As our new Insight Guide shows, there’s lot of work being done to achieve this Cognitive Mobility. And it’s focused on people. It’s a human-centric effort that makes the most of technology, but isn’t a slave to it. It’s the traveller that counts.
We can learn a lot from each one of them, all we need to do it ensure the data gets captured and analysed creatively.
 ‘Fuel of the Future’ – Briefing: The data economy. The Economist May 6th 2017