Transport infrastructure is on the cusp of a radical transformation

Trucks on the Great Western Highway from Sydney to Adelaide, New South Wales, Australia. Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images.

Every day we travel alongside millions of other people on our transport systems. Some products we buy at our local shop arrive from places all over the planet.

While mobility can be a positive, it also has its challenges. For example, congestion or public transport failures can make us late for work, and deliveries don’t always arrive on time.

This is discussed in a recent report by the World Economic Forum which suggests that technology can help to make our transport infrastructure more efficient.

An in-depth “White Paper” by WEF says the answer lies in designing a seamless integrated mobility system that connects and integrates different modes of transport -– city buses, ride-sharing vehicles, delivery trucks, autonomous pods and beyond –- to improve overall efficiency and enable optimised mobility for people and goods across geographies.

The WEF White Paper notes that, today, the way people and goods move is on the cusp of a radical transformation. New technologies and innovative services, coupled with disruptive demographic and socio-economic trends, are fundamentally reshaping mobility. From ride-sharing, car-sharing and bicycle-sharing to smart infrastructure (traffic sensors and connected traffic light) and soon the emergence of autonomous vehicles. These developments have profound implications for our existing transport system. They offer the promise of mobility that is faster, cheaper, cleaner and safer than today.

The paper warns, however, that without appropriate mechanisms to integrate and coordinate across modes, and a platform for stakeholder collaboration, these powerful forces will likely exacerbate – rather than alleviate – many of the current transport system challenges. Technology offers the opportunity to ensure this co-ordination can be put in place.

Infrastructure is the mechanism that allows our economy to function and is vital for business to meet its goals. It should therefore be a key focus for business leaders and not just left to governments.

To read more about infrastructure and the impact of technology, see our BI Research Smart Infrastructure Report

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