Translink Tomorrow: A Summary of the Governance of Smart Mobility

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Having just led a panel on integrated mobility at the new Mobility Forum organized by TransLink, we’re happy to summarize a report Translink, called the Governance of Smart Mobility.

The forum itself was an event where industry, public transit, municipalities and academia of the Lower Mainland came together to collaborate on the future of transportation for the region.

Translink Tomorrow: The Governance of Smart Mobility

the transition to smart mobility

Smart mobility innovations will occur alongside and in addition to systems that are already existing in mobility, as many of the existing platforms are ripe for innovation but still offer much validity.

Understanding that the state will always have a role in trying to understand and shape the delivery of objectives for the public good, the key issues that need intervention for transition include:

1. Setting the overall direction of policy: Increasing recognition of transportation to support economic growth, social progress and the health of citizens.

2. Environmental, economic and social externalities are real: Issues like climate change, air quality, congestion, social exclusion and inequity need to be addressed.

3. Coordination of transport, land-use and economic goals: Intervening to accommodate growth in many cities while maintaining or improving accessibility.

4. Setting standards and communicating with public about the transport system operation: Defining levels of service and reporting on how these are met, justifying efficient spending of taxation, and managing disruptive events.

5. Balancing the needs of different transport systems and users: Decisions on infrastructure spend and maintenance, road space allocation and legal frameworks on rights.

6. Conditions for a free market do not exist: Managing monopoly infrastructure providers and limited service competition to prevent collusion.

7. Acting as a provider or procurer of services which are not profitable: Often to ensure basic levels of service to some communities, evening and weekend services are made available, as well as bespoke services such as school or hospital transport.

8. Problems of coordination between modes exist: Competition can exist between public transport operators within and between modes.

9. Basic standards of operation and rules of movement: Interoperability between systems, data, standardization of laws and enforcement.

10. Funding the provision and upkeep of infrastructure: Sets general taxes and mobility related taxes and charges at various levels of government to fund the upkeep of infrastructure and subsidy of some services.

11. Supporting the adoption of transport innovations: Innovations are sometimes expensive in their early stage adoption or require additional infrastructures, supported by the state.

12. The state is an aggregator of risk and has primary accountability: The state ultimately remains guarantor when private provision of public services fails.

What is Smart Mobility?

There are several components of Smart Mobility as described in the Governance of Smart Mobility Report. These components include:

  • Mobility as a Service: MaaS involves the ownership of vehicle to be replaced by membership, allowing for the purchase of access rights to a package of mobility services (such as car, taxi, bus, rail, and bike share). This is facilitated by integrated aggregation and payment platforms, with intensive processing of ‘big data’ to match provision to demand in real time.
  • User-generated and user-centred information: This is context specific and integrates mobility and non-mobility options, drawing on crowd-sourced, real-time data.
  • Intelligent infrastructure: This includes connected vehicles with operational information from users and real-time feedback to influence traveller behaviour and optimize performance.
  • Electric vehicles: EVs that use battery power, plug-in hybrid and other electrified technologies when utilized with a smart energy distribution grid, will be emission free and part of the electricity storage solution in pursuit of decarbonization.
  • Automated vehicles: Driverless vehicles that do not require ‘driving’ by humans, allowing the passengers to focus on other tasks during the duration of the trip.

What does the future of public transit look like in your city? Contact us to find out more information about the future of public transportation near you.


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