New forms of mobility
New technologies are transforming passengers’ expectations. People’s relationship with time, the way in which they interact with others, and a host of other aspects of their personal and professional lives are changing, and transport is no exception. Nowadays, people want to play an active role in shaping their own travel arrangements. RATP is experimenting and innovating to satisfy this desire and involve itself in all aspects of urban mobility.
From transport to mobility
Urban transport is, like other fields of activity, undergoing profound changes under the influence of two powerful factors:
- Digitalisation, with the rapid development of Information and Communication Technologies and the accompanying wave of innovation;
- Increased environmental awareness, with all the consequences and opportunities that sustainable development brings.
These changes are having a direct impact on usage habits and the way in which people think about mobility. Time spent on public transport is no longer seen or accepted as wasted time. Thanks to the real-time information on offer, even waiting time is now time that can be put to good use. The way in which certain places are thought of has also changed: stations are no longer seen simply as stopping points on a journey, but as places with an important role in city life. Attitudes to health and the body are changing too, as people have become aware that physical activity can prevent disease and that mobility is a route to longevity. The new ways of interacting with others offered by information technologies present new opportunities and challenges for public transport, traditionally something of a social melting pot.
As cities and lifestyles have become more mobile, the emphasis has shifted from transport to the wider question of mobility. The multi-modal, mobile individual now plays a central role in approaches to transport, with each individual devising and implementing his or her own personal brand of mobility.
New kinds of innovation
1) Interfaces: the “immobile” part of the transport system. From the simplest bus stops or cycle stations to major multi-modal, multi-service hubs, these places have become pivotal features of our transport systems. They go a long way towards shaping customers’ perceptions of quality of service and value for money.
2) Information in all its forms has become an essential ingredient in transport systems. It is no longer restricted to its traditional function of situating customers in time and space or telling them how to use the network. It has now become the software in a system where the vehicles and infrastructures constitute the hardware, and a form of distributed intelligence for smartphone users.
3) Service is now a crucial part of being a transport provider. These days, operators have to provide a service to mobile individuals, while also seeking to make transport users more responsible. Transport users are becoming more autonomous and more proficient in the use of the multi-modal resources at their disposal. Education, community and networking services can enhance the value of time spent travelling and of places in the transport network.
The emergence of transmodality
Ongoing changes have led to the emergence of transmodality, as new, hybrid forms of transport have come into being. This phenomenon has affected public transport as well as private and individual transport. Car sharing, public bicycle schemes, walking school buses, bus-metros and tram-trains are just some of the many new modes of transport that have come into existence.
Considerable innovation is afoot in the mixing of traditional modes (metro, bus, RER and tram).