Secondly are smart innovations in vehicle engineering and technology such as electric mobility and connected & autonomous vehicles. Electric vehicles reduce on-street pollution which will make walking and non-motorised transport more attractive resulting in an increase in multi-modal journeys, and incentivising the use of nonprivate transport modes. Connected and autonomous vehicles improve safety and can potentially improve the capacity of existing road infrastructure during peak times, which bode well for Indian cities. The third innovation is in the area of smart infrastructure capable of traffic sensing and communication with vehicles.
Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicleto- Infrastructure (V2I) communication in both human driven and autonomous vehicles, when combined with appropriate transport operational policies and traffic management systems provided by the smart infrastructure, has the potential to bring in a new dimension of efficiency in the transport system. To sum it up, a number of emerging future mobility concepts have the potential to make our transport system more efficient and reduce congestion by making shared mobility modes more attractive and easier to use. However, the government needs to provide appropriate policy and operational guidelines to achieve the desired outcome and help evolve the future mobility ecosystem in the desired direction.
Rajesh says, “The Indian government needs to embrace the future with gusto and frame appropriate policies such that the future mobility evolves into a form that is beneficial to Indian cities”.
As we get more prosperous as a nation, the travel demand in cities is bound to increase and infrastructure building is not the only answer to address this demand. First of all, the government should make our cities more walkable and conducive to the use of NMT and para-transit for the last mile connectivity as we hope our environment gets cleaner thanks to the proliferation of electric vehicles. Secondly, the government policy should incentivise business models that encourage shared mobility. Lastly, the government should build upon the smart infrastructure implemented as a part of smart cities programm and extend it to support future mobility technologies and business models. Specifically, the government should consider how the smart city traffic control centres can be integrated with shared mobility services and V2I technologies to improve the efficiency of the overall transport eco system.
ITS Planners and Engineers is building upon Area Traffic Control System to extend it into a multi-modal mobility management solution on our Traffic Intelligence Server (TIS) platform. “As future mobility models and technologies mature, we plan to integrate them into our TIS platform and be ready for the future. Thanks to our academic collaborations, we are contributing to the development of future traffic control in the presence of connected and autonomous vehicles”, states Rajesh.
Connected, Sharable and Sustainable Mobility
As all new technologies go, what we gain from it depends on how we put it to use. In the absence of clear policy and implementation guidelines, the industry may develop business models and technologies that maximise revenues of industry players who dominate the future mobility landscape. However, such scenarios may be sub-optimal from at an overall city level. Both the industry and the government should develop expertise to understand the evolution of future mobility, so that we can guide its development path in a direction that is beneficial to the citizens, the industry and the government.
For Intellicar, future of mobility implies having a connected, shared, and sustainable transport system in the country. Karan Makhija, Co-Founder and CEO at Intellicar says, “Keeping India in mind, we are a long way off from having autonomous vehicles running on our roads. This is primarily due to the infrastructure that is required to support autonomous vehicles. Apart from that, India has a huge workforce that can be employed/made into entrepreneurs for providing mobility and transportation services to the masses. The automotive industry is moving towards the concept of Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS).” Intellicar’s team works on the technology for making vehicles connected, sharable and sustainable thus ensuring they are performing at its best from a reliability, and cost perspective. The company provides the backbone of the technology to help OEMs, shared mobility companies and logistics companies move towards the future of mobility and MaaS. The team is constantly working towards making vehicles more safe, reliable and ensuring they have a significantly lower carbon footprint on our environment.
“With regard to sustainability, I will not put more emphasis on electric as I believe that there are still many challenges that need to be addressed when we consider a complete shift towards electric mobility, for example grid handling of fast charging. Hence, I will emphasise more on: how do we ensure that emissions are lowered, fuel consumption is reduced, breakdowns are less frequent and overall cost (operational & maintenance) are kept low. This to me is moving towards a more sustainable mobility and eventually moving towards full electric mobility.”
What would be critical is how we utilise the data generated from connected vehicles to improve safety, infrastructure, fuel consumption and emissions. Focusing on providing a conducive environment to move towards shared mobility which would not only help to lower emissions but also in decongesting our roads. Enabling shared mobility also activates a gig economy which would provide employment and earnings for a lot of people in the ecosystem. Moving towards making vehicles more sustainable is extremely critical as this would impact the environment, earnings to the companies/drivers/ ecosystem, and also lower the cost for the end consumer.
The mobility of tomorrow for India should essentially be designed to move people and not vehicles. While smart mobility systems in cities would be primarily designed to fight climate issues, aid shared economy, enable green travel and more importantly help built resilient cities, it is also equally important to see mobility of tomorrow becoming enabler to solve some of the most important societal problems such as employment, transport infrastructure costs, social equity and digital enablement.
Vivek Ogra, Partner – Smart Mobility Government and Public Sector, PwC, explains, “The transportation networks of future have to become more demand focused in real-time to meet the specific travel needs of the people, and not vehicle focused as is the case currently. The demand-responsive systems cannot be achieved by a single mode of service or service provider. Therefore, the real need for shared and demand-responsive transport networks has seen advent in our cities and are growing by leaps and bounds because of the intrinsic demand for moving efficiently and economically.
User perceptions regarding mobility choices are changing rapidly due to huge disruption brought in by the shared mobility providers in the space of motorized and non-motorised systems and hence is giving way to thinking Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). People are preferring to move away from their vehicles and taking advantage of the benefits shared mobility has to offer. Shared mobility not only offers economic benefits to users but also help in solving the first-mile-last-mile problem, which will lead to a modal shift toward the use of public transportation systems.”
Mobility of the future in India should be viewed more like a city resilience solution and less as a transportation issue. It will require diverse city stakeholders such as citizens, local governments, planners, mobility providers and developers to co-create the future to build sustainable and smart cities.