Smart transport v Intelligent mobility

Right, well firstly this is not an either-or discussion!

Having moved into a new area within transport recently (hence the gap since the last post on this blog!) my sights have been shifted into a broader overview of the role of transport and the function and purpose behind it.

Given that I now have a professional interest in leading the charge for intelligent mobility at the Transport Systems Catapult, I spend most of my waking hours (because that is how exciting I am…!) pondering over the role of transport and the differentiation of mobility as a concept from that.

I am pretty confident that we can agree on the following:

transport – focused around modes of travel; led by the providers; distinct/separate elements combined by the user to make their journey; issues around integration and lack of incentive for collaboration

mobility – the focus comes from the end-user, the traveller; the whole journey approach is therefore more obviously driving the planning and integration of the component parts; collaboration and coordination is incentivised; a systems approach is fundamental.

So with mobility sorted, where is the intelligent bit –  is it smarter or is that different? well, no, this bit should be simple in that this is a clear statement of improving the situation and enhancing the customer experience. It doesn’t have to mean super-whizzy high-technology – perhaps smarter gives us that clearer emphasis on a more clever, innovative use of existing knowledge or technology.

That is really important.  The focus on the smart and/or intelligent is crucial, the cost can be vast or minimal – the power is in the idea.  The big shift is to expand our horizon from transport into mobility…

There is going to be a lot more thinking to come on this front

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