Safa Alkateb, CEO at Autocab
We’ve all experienced the stress and frustration of sitting in a traffic jam or facing delays while using public transport. Unreliable transport is the last thing we need to be worrying about – particularly when travelling for work.
Delays aren’t just frustrating for individuals. Delays hamper businesses too, who often feel the knock-on effects to both productivity levels and profitability when their staff are late or important meetings are missed.
In the future, though, we’re likely to see big changes here. Our transport network will run a lot more efficiently than it does currently, opening the door for smoother commutes and wider business travel – from inter-city journeys to trips across continents.
But what will this system look like, and what plans are we putting in place to prepare for it?
A new way to travel
The end-to-end travel experience will undoubtedly improve, with services that are not only frictionless but tailored to individual needs and more affordable to use.
We will be given more choice and therefore need to rely less on privately owned cars to take us from A to B. The concept of Transport as a service (TaaS) is growing, which will provide us with access to a myriad of on-demand travel options – all connected and easy to view in one place.
When we turn on our phones in the morning, an app might be the tool to allow us to identify the quickest and most convenient travel options to get from door to door. We’ll be able to see real-time information on arrival and departure times and receive a suggested route. We’ll even be able to pay for the entire journey in one transaction, cutting down on the costs and time associated with booking individual trips.
Technology – the facilitator
It is through technology that these advances in travel will become a reality. Autonomous vehicles, set to dominate our roads in years to come, will be connected to each other and their surroundings using intelligent technology, such as the Internet of Things (IoT).
This technology is underpinned by data which can be fed back into the transport network. So public and private operators will be able to gather and quickly share insights around average journey times and traffic severity. Having an up-to-the-minute view of information will make life easier for operators as much as it will make services better for customers, allowing them to adjust schedules and plan in alternative routes where necessary.
First steps in place
It’s clear that data will have a massive impact on the future of transport, so the ability to start capturing this now is vital. We need it to better inform our policies and plans moving forward.
Business travellers are already generating significant amounts of data as they are the ones who are making regular journeys and typically crossing multiple modes of transport in doing so. Cloud-based systems, used by taxi firms and ride-hailing services, are helping to collect and analyse data from those making trips, so are a rich source of information for operators and city planners.
Additionally, partnerships will become a key element in helping us to connect networks together. We’re starting to see some of these being built already. Taxis, for example, are working closely with rental car companies to provide customers with improved pick up and drop off (PUDO) services. So when a businessperson steps off a plane, they know they have a taxi waiting for them which can take them to their hire car.
Eventually, we will be able to apply this type of third-party collaboration across all forms of transportation. Train operators and airlines should be able to join with taxis, for instance, to link up a passenger’s journey and make it a seamless one.
The possibilities seem endless for future business travel. It’s likely to become a lot less stressful, giving us time to focus on what matters most – our business.