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Future transport of rail and road

frederik tillitz | altinget.dk | 26 may 2016 

PA transport experts, Simon Scott and Leif Caspersen, are quoted in an article in Altinget.dk, discussing the railway of the future and how mass personalisation will impact demands for passenger space.  Leif and Simon argue that people will no longer be choosing between rail or road but deciding how they combine different (and new) modes of travel – focusing on the overall experience.

Simon says: “The way we perceive transportation needs to be fundamentally changed. Before long, transportation will happen in entirely new ways and with new means.”

Simon refers to the automated pods at Heathrow Airport that take business passengers from the terminals to the car park. According to Simon, what people need today, and in the future, is engagement and control of their personal space when travelling. Ultimately autonomous vehicles will combine the personal space we see in motoring with the trains’ ability to transport large numbers of people. However, rail providers can re-design passengers’ spaces now to provide at first manual and then smart device management of passenger spaces. The question we need to ask is, not if people will use autonomous vehicles or pods, but when? This will depend on people’s willingness to change their habits.

“When this major shift in the transport sector will happen depends on the industry, governments and legislation, and how much it will delay the transition to autonomous vehicles. The technology continues to develop rapidly,” says Simon.

Leif adds that we need to think more widely about the investments we are making and how we future-proof them:  “Technology is enabling everything to be more tailored to the individual and the way people think about travel is changing.  Mobility is important to the economy and public transport plays a major role – we need to think about the future and ensure the investments we make now provide an infrastructure that meets the demands of people in the future.”

Leif concludes that investments are essential – much of our transport infrastructure is old – but we have to be smart about what we build.  The railway we build now will be the one that we will be using in 50 years.  That is a long time when technology is changing so quickly.

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