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What makes transportation smart?

NEC is leveraging the power of ICT to solve social and economic issues such as traffic congestion in public transport. From multi-modal Integrated Ticketing and Automated Fare Collection to our public safety solutions including Passenger Information Systems and Transit Management Systems, NEC continues to lead the market in smart transportation solutions, both globally and right here in New Zealand. 

But before we go too far, what is it that makes transportation ‘smart’? 

At a 2019 New York smart-cities event, convened by the McKinsey Global Institute, Vijay Vaitheeswaran of the Economist asked mobility experts from varied backgrounds what constitutes smart transportation. 

Rachel Haot, Executive Director of the Transit Innovation Partnership; Meera Joshi, Chair and CEO of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission; and Zachary Wasserman, Head of Global Business Development at Via, shared their definitions of smart transportation and their visions for improving urban mobility. 

From their definitions, three key themes were identified and are discussed in more detail below: 

  1. Infrastructure 
  1. Sharing 
  1. Governments 

The infrastructure of Smart Transportation 

Rachel Haot identified infrastructure as the framework for Smart Transportation and that’s where we will start. 

The world needs smart transportation infrastructures that can process the vast amount of information collected in real time and provide the most effective transportation services to businesses and citizens alike. 

Changing travel habits, demand for services to increase convenience, speed, and predictability, as well as evolving customer expectations towards customisation will require more intelligent infrastructure that is able to cope with these extended mobility requirements.  

Roads are perhaps the most essential link in the transportation infrastructure, with people and goods all around the world moving further and faster. All major airports and seaports connect to road and rail networks and terminals need to be designed ‘smartly’ and equipped accordingly. 

Here at NEC, we work with Transit Agencies and Public Transport Operators to provide effective, data-driven tools for fleet and vehicle planning, helping to contribute to the overall effectiveness of smart transportation infrastructures. 

Sharing makes for Smarter Transportation 

Zachary Wasserman identified the convergence between on-demand, sharing, electrification and autonomy as the key areas that define Smart Transportation. Of these, he identifies sharing as being the most transformational. 

One of the main reasons why sharing is at the heart of Smart Transportation is accessibility. Sharing opens up the possibility for anyone, from all walks of life and across the income spectrum, to get a ride whenever they want one. 

Sharing not only delivers an on-demand service, it also makes public transport affordable and reduces the cost per ride, increasing accessibility. 

Ride sharing, in all formats, also reduces the vehicle miles travelled which will ultimately reduce congestion in our major cities and lower carbon emissions. 

As Wasserman points out, “Sharing increases the spatial efficiency of transportation, which will ultimately empower regulators in cities and departments of transportation to reclaim street space from cars and reorient it toward people”. This means more parks, more green space, and a positive impact on the quality of life for those living and working in major towns and cities. 

Government impact on Smart Transportation 

Meera Joshi goes on to talk about the power of governments. She acknowledges that there are already some innovative transport companies out there, leveraging the power of apps to provide a tremendous amount of mobility. However, the smart part doesn’t come from them. 

The smart part comes from governments, “figuring out how to make sure that the cities get the best aspects of this transportation while minimizing the externalities.” 

That’s where Smart Transportation fits in with the wider Smart Cities movement.  

Technology can serve as a transportation “multi-modal multiplier” for smart cities and improve the effectiveness of public transportation. The digitisation of public transportation with real-time information, mobile applications and other technologies, can enhance the customer experience and allow travellers to make more informed and efficient mobility decisions. 

Governments must facilitate this shift towards on-demand and app-based mobility by putting in place the infrastructure to support the model. 

How NEC is driving Smart Transportation in New Zealand 

Where NEC New Zealand fits in is our range of Smart Transportation solutions which include: 

NEC partners with world leading brands such as Papercast to deliver Smart Transportation solutions. Our partnerships allow us to deliver world-leading technology solutions right here in New Zealand, pioneering the way people travel. 

If you are interested in finding out more about Smart Transportation and the solutions available here in New Zealand, get in touch with us today or visit our dedicated Smart Transportation pages

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