Technology’s Growing Influence on Public Transportation

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Posted by Bojana Lazarevska on 13 Sep, 2019

The rise of technology is having a profound impact on the public transportation industry.

With the industry feeling the heat from rising customer demands and a collision of transformative technology, it has started to introduce more technical solutions to improve the lives of commuters and staff.

Traditionally, the public transportation sector has been reluctant to innovate or invest in technology. They’re often held prisoner to bureaucracies that make introducing changes difficult, such as regulations, rigid structures, and unclear direction from higher ups. While other big industry players changed to reflect this, the transportation industry lagged behind. Now, however, we are seeing a rise in anything from apps to contactless payment and live tracking.

There is good reason to invest, with lessening commuter stress and meeting customer expectations being the key drivers. So, what exactly is the extent of technology’s impact on transportation?

Technology’s Reach

With the rise of smart devices and the ability for people to always be switched “on”, we now have the ability to access unparalleled amounts of information. This, and the emergence of data and analytics have allowed transportation companies to experience end-to-end digital transformation, gaining valuable data to turn insight into action.

Companies like First Group are harnessing new technologies to enhance its commuter experience and create more loyal customers.

Doing the right thing for our customers and trying to grow the sector is what we are all about.

Martin Bould, CCO – First Group

Bould is a champion of the transport sector becoming more customer-centric to improve customer relationships and provide value. “[Otherwise,] we lose the relationship to a Citymapper or a Trainline and we just become the metal box and the four wheels,” he stresses.

With the way traditional public transport has operated, there has been a lack of transparency over finding the right information around timetables, delays, ticketing, or even which stop to get off at. Technology is now helping to smooth this process by improving the planning, purchasing, and retail side of transport.

Customers are demanding a greater level of service from providers, with Travelport’s Digital Traveler Survey (DTS) stating commuters’ desires for digital solutions to their transport woes. Thankfully, the industry is starting to realise that it needs to make significant changes or become obsolete.

Mobile Connectivity

Transport technology rids of customer stress

Ready access to our smartphones allows users to be connected and attain transparency over their chosen mode of transport.

A common annoyance with public transportation is its inconvenience. Provide a sense of control to commuters, however, and this burden can become a memory that lives in the past.

For example, the CityMapper app allows commuters to experience a seamless journey from start to finish. It encompasses the entire journey planning process all on a familiar device. Moreover, they have just introduced CityMapper Pass to rival the traditional Oyster card. CityMapper are really putting the customer experience front-of-mind, providing more options to smooth their journey, despite not being a transport service provider.

Likewise, many other transportation companies are integrating Apple Pay options to create a frictionless experience for customers. Providers are also starting to track valuable data to gain insights and information about how commuters use public transport, which allows them to improve features and implement more solutions for a smoother ride.

Transport partner at PwC, Grant Klein, explained:
“There is a glut of technologies which we think will have an impact on how transport services are provided in the coming decades, as well as on how new transport infrastructure is created and maintained.”

Among the ones mentioned above, we will also start to see an emergence of digital sensors, wearable technology, and even virtual and augmented reality become a part of future transportation.

Customer-First Approach

Many in the transport industry have either seen the positive impact of technology on customer loyalty, or can recognise its opportunity. Tfl’s formed Head of Buses and Surface Transport, Leon Daniels, urged attendees at the UK Bus Awards:

I call upon our industry, especially the new young managers, lift up your eyes from the daily grind, get ready for a revolution which is coming our way at great speed

Leon Daniels

Harnessing the customer service benefits technology provides increases the potential to build one-on-one relationships, reward loyalty, upsell, and advertise other appropriate products. Although it seems like a big investment up front, it’s one that pays off long-term.

To find out how we have helped companies like First Group become a leader in its industry and increase customer satisfaction through building utility, talk to us today. At Future Platforms, we offer a free consultation to assess your unique business needs and goals – book yours today.


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