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2018 Global Transit Trends: Will You Be An Innovator or A Laggard?

Jan 08, 2018
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Click on the colored regions to learn more about their perspective on the 2018 transit trends.
 

New Year, new you, and new trends to read – and think through.

We all know how easy it is to set up New Year resolutions and then watch them fall through the cracks as the days go by. And this trends piece? Again, easy to read and get excited about what’s coming but difficult to see them through. But here’s the trick: an accountability partner can help you achieve your goals.

Fortunately, the public transit industry, as a whole, lives and breathes globally. You might be wondering so what? Well, that means you have a whole network of accountability partners as you decide on which trend to act upon. As a bonus, we did the heavy lifting and had more than 45 experts from five different regions of the world tell us what they think is going to be the biggest transit trend this year.

See what these experts have to say by clicking on the interactive map above. But before you run off and do some exploring, stick around and read on for the three transit trends that rang true across the globe.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Will Become More Prevalent

As a refresher, MaaS is when consumers utilize an app to travel from point A to B by leveraging various transportation modes that their specific subscription packages allow. In 2017, we had Sampo Hietanen, CEO and founder of MaaS Global, commenting on this trend and saw several agencies considering to adopt the MaaS model. This year, experts from several regions see MaaS gaining more momentum in the industry. In Northern Europe, Malene Freudendal-Pedersen commented, “we see it already at the big car manufacturers who have included MaaS and the sharing economy in their development.” From APAC, Scott Winks commented, “as the next big disruption to transportation, it puts passengers’ experience first, with its promise of greater convenience and effectiveness by enabling sharing and personalization through smartphone and IoT connectivity.” While in the UK, Kirsti Robinson commented, “we will see an increasing focus on the integration of transport modes towards what will eventually become a MaaS model.”

Autonomous Vehicles Will Take a More Dominant Seat in the Industry

From our autonomous mobility partnership with BestMile in Switzerland to the potential of autonomous vehicles watching you – news about autonomous vehicles never seemed to end last year. It looks like we’ll only be hearing more about them in 2018 as experts in North America, such as Carl Parr commented, “2018 will bring autonomous vehicles into plain view although they’ll still be primarily used on closed-circuit routes and not on true public roads.” While in the UK, David Hytch commented, “the growth in connected and autonomous vehicles, of all types and uses, continues apace. Transferring this to rail and light rail is what we will see coming to the fore, perhaps in a less public way.” From Central Europe, Guido Schoch commented, “it is quite conceivable that at some point such a self-driving bus drives through the city of Zurich.”

Communication with Riders Will Be More Critical as Their Expectations Rise

This trend came as a surprise – seeing that the ones before were heavily discussed and broadcasted online. But as a frequent user of public transit, it’s clear why the experts tout it as one of the biggest trends for 2018 since technological advancements have spoiled us with instant gratification. That means transit agencies have to step up their game when it comes to delivering real-time information to their riders and more.

From APAC, Randall Johnson commented, “public transport users are becoming much more ‘demanding’ in 2017-2018, especially people under the age of 40 who are willing to pay more for more convenient services.” While in the UK, Jonathan Taylor commented, “I think the biggest trend will be that consumers, rather than transit providers, will drive how their trips from A to B will happen.” In North America, Kevin Quinn commented, “transit riders in the digital age have come to expect near-immediate access to individualized information.”

Where to Go From Here

Getting real-time info about your trip while taking LA’s Metro. Normal.

Tapping your smart card to pay the fare for taking the TTC. Normal.

Taking the Taiwan High-Speed Rail to get to the capital city. Normal.

 

Microtransit. Trend.

Autonomous vehicles. Trend.

MaaS. Trend.

 

What’s considered normal today would have been considered as trends years ago and who’s to say the trends in 2018 won’t follow their footsteps? Yet, the elephant in the room remains – how do we make them a reality within our lifetime?

I came across an article the other day that talked about the need to focus on our networks instead of individual nodes. The sentiment is that we will only be able to advance our goals, or innovations in this article’s case, through working with our weak ties. And how does that move the elephant out of the room? Well, I genuinely believe that there’s a lot to be learned from our peers, who are living at different corners of the world and then adapt their learning to our own regions.

With this global transit trends blog series, I hoped to bridge unexpected connections, spark new global initiatives, and, above all, dismantle any barriers you may be facing. My job is done – now over to you. Are you going to be the innovator or the laggard in 2018? 


 
Michelle Hsu is the Marketing Engagement Coordinator at Trapeze Group where she focuses on content, social media, and marketing operations. She's worked for B2B and B2C startups in various sectors - FinTech, EdTech, and CSR. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from the Rotman Commerce program at the University of Toronto.
 
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