Posted by Keziah Underhill on 15th December 2020 in News
Top 5 Transport Predictions for 2021
By Basemap Head of Product, Dan Saunders
When I got asked for my top predictions for 2021, it amazed me that even with lockdown and a very different 2020, we have had a really productive year and the industry itself has not stagnated. While there might be less people on the streets, there has been an increased need for accurate data and analysis of the transportation network, and this leads me into my first prediction and thought for next year.
Increase in Transportation Apps
As BODS is due to go live first week of 2021 allowing the productions of accurate simple Fare data, I think this will soon roll out to an increase in mobile applications that both offer fare information and allow the purchase of bus tickets. Something I have been asked for the past decade with our TRACC software, is can we provide a journey cost, as well as time/distance. This has never been possible as there was never a national dataset that was easily accessible and standardised. We have already started looking into the NetEx format and you never know, you may hear more from Basemap on this in the coming months/years.
Reduction in public transportation usage
2021 is going to be tough on the operators, with many services still being cut and staff furloughed, it will be sometime before we are all back on the buses. It is also to be seen how long recovery takes, comments from central government to avoid public transport has damaged its reputation, could this be another Inbetweeners “Bus W****R” moment. Bus usage has generally been on a downward trend for years so I hope that this blip will be temporary, however with many workers not looking likely to return to offices until the mid to late part of the year, the demand will take some time to pick up. When it does start to return, effective planning of demand for services will be important, this is why we announced some changes to TRACC earlier in the year.
The push to electric
When looking at how services will be redesigned, there will be much of a push to electric, both for buses and vehicles. 2021 will be the year that this starts to take off, especially if the £5billion government funding announced earlier in the year materialises, as a large aim of this was to create an electric bus city and to switch older combustion engines to electric. An interesting chart showed that we need to act soon to reduce our carbon to zero and with a new US President seemingly willing to take their commitments seriously, I hope 2021 will be a step in the right direction.
There seems to be a real push for better signposting of data, the GeoSpatial commission have been working on making data easier to find and access, by simplifying licences and increasing access. The DfT are working on numerous projects from creating a directory of transportation data (National Access Point) to compliment the vast data.gov.uk site and also working on new standards for things like Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO’s). A lot of work is being done to existing datasets such as NaPTAN, TXC, NetEx to name but a few – there seems to be a lot going on in this sector. It is positive that there is now improved visibility and understanding of data and it will be rewarding to see this evolve in 2021.
Changing how we travel
Having spent some time in Washington DC at TRB earlier in 2020, I was amazed that within a year how many scooters were littering the streets, this whole “micro mobility” trend had really hit. There have also been plans for roll out of this in London in 2021. I was ahead of the curve, when I was at university, I purchased an electric scooter. I used it to ride to and from friends’ houses and also to university on occasion. I loved it, was great fun and much easier than cycling, though it was always awkward to know where you could ride it, eventually I got told off by the Police for riding on a pavement and told it was illegal to ride this scooter anywhere apart from private land, so there went my scooter. It seems some 17 years later, the government are looking to increase the usage of e-scooters in cities. They are also looking to promote cycling, one of the main benefits of a reduction in traffic has been the creation of new active travel measures and segregated cycling lanes, while this hasn’t always been planned in the best way it has led to a different way of thinking and I am certain some of these temporary active travel measures will be made permanent in 2021.
My final note is that while 2020 has been a tough year for many of us, there is light at the end of the tunnel and while it may take some time, I do feel optimistic for 2021. I look forward to hopefully seeing you at a conference soon!
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About Keziah Underhill
Keziah is the Digital Marketing Executive at Basemap Ltd. She has almost 2 years experience in the digital realm after graduating from the University of Plymouth with a BA in Illustration and a MA in Publishing.