There are indeed numerous emerging issues concerning tomorrow’s public transport: minimizing the ecological footprint, improving flexibility, adapting to demand intensification… all of which must be solved while also reducing costs!
Improving Service Quality by Adapting to New Uses
The automation of public transport is undergoing widespread expansion. In the railway sector, SNCF has recently announced its objective to make some of its TGVs autonomous by 2022. The objective for this French group is to improve the reliability of its network and increase the frequency of its trains to meet growing demand, and to respond to new competitors on the scene. As for Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, it promises unrivalled speeds, three times faster than the TGV, with capsules propelled at more than 700mph. Another challenge for the transport of tomorrow is usage flexibility. Anexperiment currently being carried out in Europe is establishing a typology of bus users in order to adapt vehicles (interior layout, traffic speed, routes) according to actual behaviors. All this is made possible by data analysis and 3D technology.
Reducing the Bill and the Ecological Footprint
The issue of cost, financial and ecological, is undoubtedly the most pressing of all. Low-carbon initiatives are therefore multiplying. The French startup SeaBubbles has recently launched its “flying taxis” on the Seine, with a clear objective : “zero noise, zero waves and zero CO2 emissions”. The SkyTran project,developed in collaboration with NASA, is expected to deploy its first magnetically-elevated pods in Tel Aviv, with a construction cost of less than €60 million, which is three to four times less than the cost of a tramway. On which subject, the cost of trams and related infrastructure is currently a major focus in China. The rolling stock company CRRC has just unveiled the world’s first rail-less train! The secret: the train is guided by lines painted on the ground, allowing it to move along fully autonomously, which significantly reduces the economic and ecological costs, all at a price of less than €2 million.