While there are significant differences in how transportation has been deployed over time globlaly, we are now at an inflection point in this sector commonly known as Connected Transport.
Connected transport is leveling the playing field in terms of developed and emerging economies through international cooperation, investment and implementation.
Many urban center civic leaders across the U.S., Europe and Asia primarily are experimenting with various aspects of connected transport through a ‘bottoms up’ approach. This is being accomplished through partnerships with technology giants, investors and transportation companies. Other cities are applying a ‘top down’ approach that links connected transport with broader initiaitives underway across Smart City technologies. “Transportation will play a key role within Smart/Conencted Cities” according to the U.S. DOT.
Connected transport refers to a set of technologies that include but are not limited to:
- Autonomous vehicles for individuals, fleet and public transport
- Freight and supply chain logistics technology renewal for rapid delivery of goods
- Real time information availability exchange within and between vehicles
- Safety devices and applications for drivers and autonomous vehicles
- Networked road devices for optimal communication and efficiency
- New, intelligent ‘super skyways’ with high speed vehicles for safe, rapid and environmentally sound travel
Driverless cars could lead to transport revolution – ABC News, Sept 2016 Reinventing Transportation – Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Jan 2016
Dynamics of Smart/Connected Cities – The National Tranportation Systems Center – Oct 2015
India was the fastest growing large car market in 2015. One of the challenges, from a driver’s perspective, is how to manage their parking needs in major urban centers not yet equipped to handle this growth.
At 7.64% growth over 2014, Indians purchased ~2 million passenger vehicles during 2015. the most of any nation globally. Combined with its population density levels, parking problems across our its major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai have become common.
To address thse issues Smart Parking Apps have become a demand-driven market. Broadly these apps are either Real Time or On Demand Parking & Valet Services. One of the connected transport accelertator AUTONEBULA’s start-ups, Nearpark, partners with garage owners and uses smart multi-layered data points to provide consumers with real-time updates on nearby off street parking spaces.
Other Indian start-up firms offering real time smart parking data include:
- GetmyParking which allows drivers to book parking slots around the National Capital Region of India;
- Justpark, active in Bangalore, and also allows drivers to book parking spots;
- PParke that helps drivers navigate to a parking space with automatic payment for some spaces; and
- Constapark, offering drivers ‘valet on demand’ by selecting a destination with an experienced valet driver waiting to park your car
This flourishing parking market in India is analogous to the ‘ride hailing’ market in the U.S. While Uber emerged as the leader among many compeitiors this can change over time as fast followers offer variations and improvements.
Panic button on Uber app in India & the 911 in the US?: Do you think Americans need a panic button?
Uber cabs are probably safer than regular taxis. In the US, the recent shooting rampage (in Michigan) by an Uber driver has opened up different questions about a riders’ safety during a cab ride. Should there be an easy way to raise an alarm when an Uber ride goes wrong? In the US, you have no panic button available on the Uber app like in India because Americans can dial 911.
The ‘panic button” got introduced in India last year after a lot of media uproar about alleged charges of alleged sexual assault by an Uber cab driver. Introducing additional safety measures and stringent driver checks along with an in-app emergency (panic) button is what Uber probably had to resort to, for saving business in India. Uber says it has come up with the ‘panic button’ feature for India simply because the emergency response infrastructure in India is not as strong as in America. The Uber app in India has a ‘one-click’ button for riders to trigger an alarm for the company’s in-house team. A rider can pre-feed emergency contacts and it allows monitoring by GPS in real-time.
Considering the number of violent cab ride incidents that take place globally, and in the US recently (the recent shooting rampage in Kalamazoo, Michigan by an Uber driver), I wonder if Uber management should seriously consider initiating a ‘panic button’ in the US.
For Americans, a panic button can come in handy in case 911 is not reachable or a rider is unable to think of an appropriate response due to a panicky situation. An emergency tab on the app will help riders connect with the help of an automated response system connecting them to emergency contacts and passing on information about their route and driver etc. to expedite the process.
What do you think? Share your thoughts with me.