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The changing face of transport

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The Transport Systems Catapult (TSC) story began three years ago, when it was tasked with enabling the UK to remain at the cutting edge of transport innovation.

We now find ourselves at the gateway of a revolution in transport technology, the likes of which has not been seen since the invention of the combustion engine.

Technological advances create a new way of planning and managing transport

Transport systems

In those three years, we have seen the rise of ride hailing apps, which have caused traditional transport providers to rethink their business models.

Meanwhile, the race to develop autonomous vehicles has gone global – with international technology giants, established vehicle manufacturers and audacious new players racing to be the first to put working models on the road.

In 2017, we shall see the 10th anniversary of the smartphone, a device which has literally changed the way people live their lives.

This tidal shift is now engulfing the transport arena. Some 72% of the UK travelling public now own smartphones and 54% already consider them to be an essential part of their journey.

These changes bring uncertainty and disruption into the transport industry arena.

However, the digital revolution also brings with it a massive opportunity for positive change. New technologies, along with advancements in fields such as:

  • open data
  • the Internet of Things
  • artificial intelligence

are enabling a new way of planning and managing transport.

Intelligent Mobility - an emerging £900 billion global market

We call this Intelligent Mobility (IM) – the use of technology to create an integrated, efficient and sustainable transport system.

This will see the shifting of market spend away from ownership and single journey models towards user centric Mobility-as-a-Service models, which offer seamless, end-to-end journeys.

As we build a transport system based on IM, the benefits should be obvious. Within our cities the overall transport experience is such that a change in direction is clearly needed.

IM could reduce congestion and pollution whilst enabling more reliable journeys.

However, the journey to achieve these gains will not be easy and a slow, uncoordinated approach could hinder the outcome.

A shared vision between industry, government and academia is vital if the UK aspires to be at the forefront of innovation.

This will also ensure we gain a share of an emerging £900 billion global Intelligent Mobility market.

We need to encourage an integrated, collaborative approach, both within the transport sector and with other industries, such as telecoms and gaming.

Transport Systems Catapult enables UK to remain at cutting edge of transport innovation

I am pleased to say that the TSC is well placed to drive this vision after another successful year in the industry.

We have completed over 70 projects since our formation, through which we have built excellent capabilities across the IM arena.

We are also branching out into new areas, representing the growing diversification of the sector.

2015 saw the formation of a new business unit looking at Smart Asset Management – using the Internet of Things and Open Data to better manage transport infrastructure.

In 2016, we’ll see the formation of a spin-out company, Immense Simulations, which will focus on cutting-edge transport simulations.

At the TSC, we believe that it is a truly exciting time to be part of the transport sector.

If we embrace change and collaborate on a shared vision, we can reap the rewards and establish the UK as a global leader in IM.

Follow Transport Systems Catapult on Twitter: @TSCatapult

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