Reading to present Polis MaaS paper at Intelligent Transport Conference

The Intelligent Transport Conference will be made up of 4 streams: Harnessing Passenger Data, Mobility as a Service, Smart Ticketing and Payments and Real-Time Passenger Information. Attendees will include; Local Authorities, Passenger Transport Executives, Transport Operators, RTPI Consultants, Systems Suppliers and anyone with an interest in the industry.

The Intelligent Transport Conference is offering all Polis members an exclusive discount to attend the event. Please use code POLIS20 when registering online to receive a 20% discount off your delegate ticket.

Interview with Polis by Intelligent Transport

Ivo Cré was interviewed by Intelligent Transport, published on 17 October 2017 here:

Leaders’ Series: Ivo Cré, Deputy Director of Polis

What does the concept of a ‘smart city’ mean to you?

Polis members emphasise the importance of putting the citizen at the heart of the smart city process. Having looked at a series of definitions of what a smart city is, the one closest to our members’ views is the UK government’s definition: “A smart city should enable every citizen to engage with all services on offer, public as well as private, in a way best suited to his or her needs. It brings together hard infrastructure, social capital, including local skills and community institutions, and (digital) technologies to fuel sustainable economic development and provide an attractive environment for all.” This is much closer to the reality of cities than narrow definitions only referring to ICT solutions to address urban issues.

Do you ever see a time when public transport will operate with no human interaction at all?

Public transport will continue to need human interaction, but the role people play will – of course – change. One can imagine that issues such as safety and security or personal comfort will require a new type of human interaction. Services for specific target audiences (e.g. accompanying children, people with reduced mobility and first-time travelers) can get specific attention. In time, people may actually use their travel time to ensure human interaction for occasions such as meetings, dates or hang-outs. This question is closely linked to the type of jobs and skills that will be required within the transport system of the future. Some exciting EU research is happening on this topic as we speak and I am looking forward to the results!

What are the biggest challenges the public transport industry currently faces?

It seems that we live in times where all options are open: what type of services do we plan and operate? What kind of vehicles will deliver these services, and what kind of energy will power them? What is the digital environment the customer and the vehicles will travel in? One of the challenges in this respect is to keep the interest (in policy and budget terms) of decision-makers in mass transit as the instrument to keep cities accessible for the many. The transition to clean buses is another important challenge: the EU is putting a lot of effort in this with its ‘clean bus initiative’, which has the full support of Polis and its members.

To what extent do transport operators need to change in order to ensure public transport meets the expectations of those living in smart cities?

Transport operators will increasingly have to become data-driven. Better use of the available data will help them to design a better offering, and to better relate to their clients. It also helps to inform the organising authorities about the services rendered within their territory. MaaS offers the opportunity to very specific and new mobility service providers or operators to be integrated in the mobility system. This requires a level of openness of the established mass transit providers in terms of connectivity between modes. Finally, transport operators will need to learn to share the scarce urban space: dedicated lanes, the kerb side and space within and around interchanges.