Smart Mobility | 21 December 2021
Mobility Data: A New Model for Transport Planning
‘What is transport planning?’ Sounds like a very simple question with an equally simple answer. But in the modern world we all live in, this is no longer the case.
At a basic level, transport planning is the way in which different services and modes of transport are operated, managed and delivered. In theory, the ultimate goal is to make sure that the supply of the various modes of transport available come together to meet the demand of the population. However, a number of new priorities and demands have emerged that have redefined what transport planning is, and what urban planners and authorities need to do to deliver transport successfully.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at how things have changed, the importance of data in responding to those changes, and what a smarter and more data-driven city could look like from a transport perspective.
Making the right decisions with data
The reason data is now so essential to transport planning is because it can remove the guesswork and uncertainty from the decision-making process. This is especially important at a time where transport demands are constantly evolving, and the more flexible nature of people’s lives mean demand is less predictable than it has been before.
And the issue is not necessarily just having data available: the type and quality of data at the disposal of a transport planning team can make a big difference, too. For example, a team may have figures available that tell them congestion is particularly bad at a particular road junction.
However, the figures won’t tell them that the congestion is being caused by a damaged road surface full of potholes that drivers are slowing down to avoid. Visual evidence, collected by camera-equipped cars, can identify that issue and allow the transport planning team to plan road repairs accordingly without the need for site visits.
As transport demands evolve and new issues emerge, this visual technology can be extremely useful in not only identifying new trends, but also identifying why they’re emerging. Putting changes in their correct context ensures that the right planning decisions are made more often, and quickly enough to react to new demands, maximising the cost-effectiveness of transport spending.