Urban intermodality: The future of transport in cities is digital

THE TRANSFORMATION OF URBAN TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS, OWING TO THE EMERGING DIGITISATION PROCESS, BRINGS WITH IT THE CONSTANT INCORPORATION OF TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCES. A TIME OF CHANGE IN WHICH R&D TAKES ON SPECIAL RELEVANCE TO PROVIDE SOLUTIONS TO CHALLENGES SUCH AS THE INTEGRATION OF DIFFERENT SYSTEMS.

 

The world population continues to grow at a rate of 74 million people per year, according to statistics published by United Nations Organisation.  In 2050, the figure of 9 billion inhabitants will be reached. Although this growth is not homogeneous, concentration is present, in more than two thirds of the total, in large and medium cities and in their peripheral areas.

This characteristic makes it more necessary than ever to have swift accessible, safe and comfortable public transport systems in favour of private vehicles The aim is to mitigate traffic congestion and pollution, in addition to contributing to the planet’s sustainability.

The figures indicate how the use of different modes of transport increases.  For metropolitan railways, for example, 168 million passengers use the metro systems per day in 182 cities in 56 countries around the world, according to UITP data. In addition, there are more than 10,000 railway stations in the world and the tendency is to integrate different modes of transport in public spaces in the neuralgic centre of cities.  Therefore, mobility in cities and their surroundings, it requires actions that advance the growth of the different public transport systems in a sustainable manner and the optimisation of intermodality, an aspect where new technologies can foster proper decision-making processes.

The impact of new technologies presents a great challenge in terms of mobility.

In this panorama of upheaval, in which inhabitants are increasingly more numerous and, in turn, more demanding, the impact of new technologies presents a great challenge in terms of mobility. In a hyper-connected world, digital transformation (Big Data, IoT, analytics, cloud, etc.) also represents a great opportunity to provide more and better services.

 

Urban digitalisation

One of the basic pillars to achieve a new sustainable and integrated city model is through mobility. The use of different means of transport (buses, metropolitan and regional rail links) in terms of passengers continues to rise, and requires a constant process of improvement on the part of operators and transport authorities to promote a network that is as unified and advanced as possible.

In this section, the intermodal centres continues to garner greater relevance, where the different systems are channelled in strategic points throughout the city. Technology and data intelligence are essential here, as they help to map the modalities and travel needs in a highly efficient manner. Likewise, they allow us to interact with citizens and improve quality standards and user experience during their journeys (connectivity, real-time information, etc.).

The digital universe provides a wide range of new solutions.

The digital universe provides a wide range of solutions that open the way to a new stage full of advantages from numerous viewpoints: design, infrastructure, management, operation, security and user services (direct information, comfort while waiting). The digital revolution reaches all areas of urban mobility and has a special relevance in intermodality where the use of new technological advances has a highly positive effect and can achieve a comfortable, safe “door-to-door” and tailor-made journey.