Multimodal may not be the standard mode of transportation yet—but it’s on its way. Today the integration of innovative software solutions with transportation options have empowered users to choose how they move across cities. And with a generation of millennials using anywhere from 30 to 60 percent biking or taking public transit for modes of transportation, the industry is steadfast on fine-tuning existing multimodal solutions. Over the next year, I predict three things will happen: Millennial influence will affect the future design of transportation applications. Sophisticated real-time data with the Internet of Things will create a better experience for riders. And autonomous vehicles will fully integrate into the realm of ride-share. The result? A multimodal system that will be primed and ready for the next generation.
1. Millennials have officially surpassed Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation. And with the millennial population reaching 79.2 million by 2050, the transportation industry is committed to keeping the demanding generation happy. This strategy is a smart one with 70 percent of millennials using numerous travel options a week. It’s not uncommon for a person under the age of 34 to hail a Lyft to catch the train to commute to work each day. With data-rich smartphones in their pockets, endless applications provide them with choices to effortlessly connect their modes of transportation, in real-time. Because who wants to wait for a train? With this generation, the stakes are high. They keep an eye out for the latest and greatest in applications to ensure their options are seamless and effortless. Experts will work to ensure millennials are provided with a more efficient user experience than ever before. This means airy designs with no bugs. A millennial can troubleshoot around any unwieldy app, but they would rather just move on to the next one. An intelligent, personalized design keeps younger generations engaged. If experts modify designs applications to meet the end user’s lifestyle and needs, the more likely the millennial generation will remain loyal to multimodal.
2. Of course, innovatively designed applications need the IoT. Gartner predicts that the IoT will contain 20.8 billion connected devices by 2020, increasing the information related to transportation and mobility needs. With acceleration in data, the amount of real-time predictive analytics will drive more intelligent mobility. This will only enhance users experience across modes of transportation. For instance, with this data, multimodal transportation can deploy an implementation of sensors and big data management systems. These sensors will update users and transit authorities on everything from arrival times to alternate routes to avoid congestion, gifting commuters with accurate information regarding routes and schedule changes. Transit authorities can also track fleets of vehicles with GPS systems, allowing passengers on board to be notified when they’ll arrive. It seems trivial, but it’s vital that this data be more precise than ever before. A multimodal commuter relies on accurate timing to ensure they’ll get to their destination on time, and timing is everything when commuting.
3. It also seems commuters have been anxiously waiting for autonomous cars to join ride-share programs. Well, I have good news. Over the span of 2017, you’ll be able to hail a ride with no driver. Recently, Uber announced that they’re picking up users in San Francisco, expanding their pilot program on more roads. Several companies already have the self-driving technology and want to appeal to ride-sharing services. This will not only reduce the operational cost of the driver, but it gives consumers a greater opportunity to experience autonomous technology- which currently feels out of reach for many. Users will be able to utilize self-driving vehicles with ride-share applications as they do now. Vehicles will be readily available in highly congested areas, giving commuters the opportunity to supplement using their own car to reach mass transit. Additionally, many of the fleets of vehicles will be electric. And of course, all fleets will be thoroughly tested for safety. Ideal for city driving and our future environment.
Multimodal systems are necessary—especially since this mode of transportation appeals to an influential generation. If the industry wants to see these predictions come to fruition, we’ll have to continue to create more efficiently designed applications for millennials, provide accurate arrival data with the IoT, and create experiences our multimodal commuters have never experienced before. Like hailing an autonomous taxi with no driver, perhaps. This will prime multimodal transportation for success in 2017 and beyond.
Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.