30 Sep 2020
How are major cities around the world restructuring urban transport with new technologies?

The first public transport system in the world appeared in Paris in 1662. The vehicles used were carriages, with fixed itineraries, fare and regular schedules. Just like today, the objective at the time was to make life easier for citizens.

Today, urban public transport has already become an extension of the city´s body, a system far from expendable. Urban areas can no longer exist without a system for transporting people, goods and services.

What is the importance of urban transport?
According to Marcopolo´s Next Mobility Business Manager, Claus Hidenori Nakata, urban mobility is a basic requirement for a city’s economic and social activities and contributes to the ability to generate income and wealth for its inhabitants.

The manager also emphasizes that the benefits of an efficient, safe and sustainable urban transport system extend not only to its users, but to all citizens as well.

Therefore, investing in this system means investing in cities and people. As new technologies emerge, in order to progress, it is essential that it also extends and is applied to urban transport. Many cities around the world have already realized this. Has your city, too?

How are investments in public transport made around the world?
More developed cities, mainly in Europe, have adopted policies to encourage the use of public transport for decades and this is reflected in continuous investments in the infrastructure of integrated transport networks.

Investments are made in high, medium and low capacity systems, including subways, light rail transit (LRTs), bus corridors, bike paths, pedestrian lanes and universal accessibility to transport services.

In addition, there are public transport subsidy funds from extra rate revenues, such as environmental fees (e.g. urban toll) and parking fees on public roads, which cover part of the operation and help maintain service quality at a cost that is accessible to the low-income population.

What are the new technologies in urban mobility?
The technology can be adapted to all segments. It is no different for collective transport. The applications, for example, have opened a window of opportunities for new businesses and technologies in urban transport as well.

Shared services took advantage of the advent of more accurate and accessible satellite tracking platforms and the possibility of paying through apps. The examples are already known to everyone, such as taxi, carpooling, car sharing, bike rental and scooter apps.

There are still trip planners for collective transportation, with real-time information on transportation services. Collaborative apps make it possible to plan private and collective transport trips. This new technology means anyone can use collective transport and easily get around.

This type of service was unimaginable until recently. Perhaps services that no one has even thought of today may be available in the near future.

What is the future of urban transport?
The world is experiencing a moment of revolution, with electric mobility increasingly accessible. Clean technologies, such as electric buses, are already a reality on a large scale in cities like Santiago and Mexico City. New electric mobility alternatives are expected to emerge and become popular soon.

The mobility area is following the trend of the new economy, where services must replace goods. Along these lines, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions will be increasingly present.

Through unified digital platforms for travel planning, MaaS solutions seek to combine different modes in an integrated manner, both for requesting the service and making the payment.

There is also room for transport on demand, which can be a solution to solve the problem of low-demand or seasonal service, by adjusting the supply to demand more efficiently.

Soon, some devices with active performance in collective transport vehicles can also be expected, which will be incorporated to increase road safety and solve some problems in bus corridor operations.

Finally, given the impacts observed on collective transport resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, biosafety will be considered a basic requirement of the collective transport

system. Therefore, new technologies for the control and prevention of disease transmission, such as Marcopolo BioSafe solutions, should be adopted.

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