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Transit Smart Cities Public Sector

Flexible transit to meet the needs of rapid city growth

UITP (International Association of Public Transport) holds its World Congress and Exhibition every two years. Thought leaders and practitioners in transportation from all over the world come together to share challenges, theories, ideas, policies, best practices, and technological innovations.

This year's event in Milan, Italy featured keynote speeches from public transport planners and policy-makers on behalf of the smallest villages in western India to the bustling metro agencies and bus operators of Delhi, Taipei, and London.

Senior Product Manager at HERE, David Volpe, attended the conference, where the common thread throughout the keynotes pointed to Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) and Transit Oriented Development (TOD).

Car sharing and light rail are replacing trains

David says, “The overriding theme was that cities cannot and should not simply build a new and expensive train line to serve their metropolitan area. Rather, low-cost and flexible solutions like bike share, car share, Bus Rapid Transit, and Light Rail are the way to establish key routes for accessibility, and this is generally done before looking to establish more permanent, more expensive connections.”

On the show floor, both public and private organizations featured their product lines and components that could well become part of the infrastructure of the world's future mobility solutions.

“Many electric transit vehicles and their supporting technology solutions were featured at the show this year; notably the Alstom ground-based static charging system for both trams and buses and the RATP's plan to have 4500 electric buses in service to 'green' the streets of Paris by 2025,” says David.


Bike and car sharing schemes had a strong presence as well, with the local authority of Milan (ATM) featuring its well-integrated system BikeMi - with both pedal and electric power options.

Several community-based journey applications were also featured, including GrabTaxi which ‘aims to revamp local taxi markets by introducing simple, cost-effective mobile-based technology to both the supply (dispatch companies) and demand (passenger) sides of the distribution chain’.

Easy ways to pay for transit

Mobile payments are powered by an ever-expanding network of solution providers and many of them showed their latest entries to the marketplace, including Thales TransCity - billed as an ‘adaptable and modular range of ticketing solutions’ for both contactless and mobile payment; EOS UPTRADE's TICKeos along with HaCon's 'HAFAS for Wearables' offered mobile ticketing for the smartwatch; and the Xerox Seamless solution for NFC-based ticketing and payment management was presented to leverage existing wireless network infrastructures and smartphones.”

The role of Open Data

David says, “Transport for London led the charge boasting more than 400 passenger information applications that rely on its open data policy. We also heard from the local authority in Helsinki - HSL - demonstrating that open data is not just for smart phone apps. HSL as an administration organization has developed data services to enable third-party inspectors and independent bus operators to share information in order to reduce maintenance and management costs considerably.”

light rails

He continues, “The question was raised as to whether transport authorities that have opened their data are also enabling the many applications that they power to send usage and community data back to them to complete a virtuous cycle. While the answers were varied, the trend is recognized and we can expect to see more maturation of this level of information sharing across providers, app developers, and riders alike.”

The notion of public transport is rapidly changing

David says, “Electric transit vehicles, bike & car sharing, taxis, mobile payments, and community-powered open data implementations all signify an on-going shift towards flexible mobility solutions; allowing cities all over the world to take steps towards more sustainable growth and environmentally conscious urban development.”

HERE is a proud member of the UITP and we are already preparing for the next main event, IT-TRANS 2016, which runs from 1-3 March in Karlsruhe, Germany. Click here for more info and come meet us there!

Image credits Hairworm (light_rails.jpg), HERE (Tram-Transit1.jpg)

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