Consumer demand for flexible, personalised services is driving innovation in the transport industry, according to executives speaking at a future mobility event in London last week.
Mobility as a Service: What is the Future of Intelligent Transport? was organised by UK innovation charity Nesta. Delegates noted that transport is increasingly being seen not as a physical asset to purchase, such as a car, but as an on-demand service powered by smart technology.
The global market for integrated transport systems will be £900bn ($1.34tn) by 2030, predicted Andrew Everett, chief strategy officer of the Transport Systems Catapult – the UK's centre for transport innovation. He believes growth will be fuelled by a host of new market entrants, including tech companies such as Google.
British transport consultant George Hazel urged existing transport brands to be prepared for these new market entrants. "These people don't see the world like transport people," he said. "The IT people [such as Google] see cars as basically very smart computers on wheels."
Transport brands also need to consider how this new technology will fit into the lifestyles of all consumers – not just young urban workers, said Ben Pritchard, technical manager at French electronic systems firm Thales.
Perhaps in the future, transport will be sold in lifestyle packages, he suggested. For instance, a "critical business" package would promise to get you to your destination on time via whatever means necessary, while a "family travel" package might be tailored to provide a comfortable journey for young children.
For more on how mobility is being flexed to fit the needs of future consumer lifestyles, read Urban Transport Revs Up.