Multimodal transportation is creating a fully connected experience for passengers, and changing the way we travel.
Imagine purchasing just one ticket that would take you from the train, to the airport and right to your hotel – where, I might add, your luggage would be waiting for you. Whether you know it as ‘transportation 4.0’, or as ‘multimodal’, either way, travelers are winning. The goal of multimodal transportation is to integrate different forms of transportation into a single experience that would take a passenger door-to-door. It would make travel experiences more efficient, safer, greener, with less hassle, while optimizing the journey time, and minimizing costs.
Today, a journey that involves switching from a bus to a train, and then an airplane, would require tickets to be purchased for each stage of the trip, from each of the operators providing the service. With the huge growth in the number of people traveling throughout the world this will not be sustainable.
A multimodal transportation system offers a new way to streamline travel and simplify service provisioning for operators. And, while the technology to create seamless or connected multimodal transportation exists, the majority of services are still being delivered to travelers in a disconnected fashion.
Creating the connected experience
Multimodal transportation systems will need to be connected both physically and operationally. That means operators will need the right infrastructure with high-quality, real-time information systems to connect routes, schedules and fares.
As we look into the future, we see services where you will be able to book your whole itinerary through a single app, with one search, and one payment. In addition to simplifying passenger travel, these one-ticket systems will provide transportation operators with data that can be analyzed to improve services.
Staying connected is essential for travelers. Smartphones, laptops and tablet devices are ubiquitous, as is public Wi-Fi. Transportation operators have the same need for real-time data and communications.
In addition, operators also have applications that provide guidance and wayfinding. However, the real value comes in providing assistance in real-time to enhance the passenger experience. Collaboration services embedded in applications through Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) let transportation authorities deliver real-time communications, such as messaging, voice and video, scheduling updates, travel information, and interaction with staff and passengers, as well as provide emergency notifications. All of this can be delivered through a single app, to simplify and enhance the traveler experience.
Keeping it safe
The growth in the Internet of Things (IoT) and the vast number of connected devices are exponentially increasing the points of vulnerability in an operators’ network. Securing data, and staying vigilant against cyber-attacks and data breaches will be of vital importance for operators who don’t want to risk losing passenger trust.
As part of an overall layered security approach, an IoT containment strategy relegates connected IoT devices into separate virtualized environments on the same network, which can significantly decrease the chances of a broad network breach.
There’s no doubt that multimodal transportation will completely transform the way we travel. The technology is already here, enabled by open APIs. However, secure, reliable networks and systems that keep passengers and operators connected no matter what mode of transportation they’re using must be installed now if we are to move toward truly seamless travel.
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