Business opportunities in better journeys

Leading transport professionals believe the technology and the data needed to make journeys run more smoothly are already available, and businesses should exploit the opportunity without waiting for the government to take the lead.

These conclusions are presented in '2013: creating a better journey,' a report published jointly by Cambridge Consultants and Arthur D Little based on the findings of a workshop they hosted recently for transport sector leaders.

"A number of key themes emerged from the event," explains Dr Liz Orme, director of transport at Cambridge Consultants. "Sustainability is important, but it is about much more than carbon. The better journey is one that minimises waste and maximises economy, but it is also planned and well co-ordinated. Key to achieving this is the development of what we've termed the 'contextual journey', and a consideration of 'the three i's' - information, interfaces, and integration."

According to the report, a 'contextual journey' uses real-time tailored information so that journeys can be planned in the context of other demands on the transport infrastructure, carried out more reliably and flexibly and are tailored to the needs of the traveller.

Achieving sustainable journeys depends on balancing three factors: people, planet and profit.

Event participants felt that neither information management nor available technology were barriers to progress in themselves. Rather, they felt that development was slow because private firms do not have enough incentives to work together, and because of the relative absence of large-scale commercial partnerships with government bodies in the transport sector.

"Solutions exist," Orme concludes, "but for the parts to come together into a meaningful whole, transport providers need to be more innovative, information providers need to develop transport specific applications, and rich transport data needs to be integrated and made more accessible. In short, between us we have the necessary tools to create better journeys for travellers. We just need to get together more effectively."

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