If you live in Sydney, Australia, you might have noticed that there is a lot of work to do in regards to public transport. The NSW government has made the same observation and has invited thought leaders, futurists and other experts in transport innovation, including SkedGo, to its Future Transport Summit last month. The best ideas from the summit will be incorporated into the direction of future transport in NSW (read more about the summit in our previous post).
So, what ARE the best ideas? Here’s what we are most excited about:
Paying for your bus, train or ferry trip using contactless EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) cards will make things a lot easier for you. Where you now have to carry your Opal card with you, in future just your usual debit or credit card will be sufficient (click here for more information on why and how this is a good idea). This is the same ‘tap to pay’ system many shops already use. The system will be trialled in NSW as early as next year. Only a few other major cities (like London) have introduced EMV payments for public transport so far, but it is seen as the future of payments. Like with the Opal card, the system will automatically choose the cheapest fare option for you.
It’s common practice with flights: prices react flexibly to supply and demand. The price varies depending on the day of the week, season, the number of seats available, departure time, average cancellation rate, or a number of other factors. Using a similar system for public transportation services makes sense for several reasons. It minimises costs and increases profits for the transport provider. But it also means that for example lines with low demand might be cheaper to travel on than they are now.
Rapid induction charging for buses
Induction charging uses an electromagnetic field to wirelessly transfer energy from the charging station to the bus. This makes charging quicker and the trip more efficient as the batteries don’t need to be as big and there are no additional fuel/charging stops required. The charging will probably take place at the end of certain routes (e.g. Palm Beach) while the driver is on break. In Gumi South Korea, this technology is already in use with tracks underneath the road charging the buses (read more here). Trials are also running in Geneva, Switzerland (charging at selected bus stops) and Milton Keynes, England (charging through the road). More info on rapid induction charging for buses here.
Automated last-mile shuttles
The shuttles will get transport users from railway stations, bus depots and ferry terminals to their final destination. Many cities already have them in use around the world (e.g. Nice, France; Lausanne, Switzerland; London, England; Trikala, Greece), and more are planned.
Booking a space at public car parks
This will be a welcome relief for drivers. No more wasting time on looking for a parking spot. You will be able to book online, and you’ve got your spot. JustPark is an app that already beautifully uses this concept in England, but you can also book spaces in Sydney as well as many other cities (Paris, Milano). Especially at the beaches and bus/train stations, dynamic pricing (see above) might be applied here too.
Other ideas we are looking forward to seeing implemented are:
- More data sets (e.g. aggregated complaint data; tap on & off data)
- Beacons for indoor location accuracy (did you ever got lost in Central Station? This should help)
- Smoother bus rides through assisted driving or feedback to drivers
Over to you
Which are your favourite ideas from the Summit? Let us know in the comments below!
Title picture: SkedGo’s Jayen Ashar at the Summit with NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance, Transport for NSW Secretary Tim Reardon and NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay