What does movement mean today? I often pose that question to explain how important it is to reframe questions. This is because questions about mobility, movement and transportation are as important to retail and banking as they are to Amtrak and Virgin Air. And depending on who your customer is, that question has a direct effect on supply chain management, advertising and recruiting tactics- especially if that person is, from a psychographic perspective, a millennial who defines mobility as 70% virtual and 30% physical!
Questions about movement, and specifically the future of transportation were probed on May 16, 2016 in Washington DC at the grand opening of Booz Allen Hamilton's new Innovation Center. It is a state of the art open work space whose mission is proactive: to invite Booz Allen Hamilton clients and a range of practitioners into the space to explore and test new ideas through augmented reality devices, drone technology and an internet of things lab. The discussion "Shaping the Future of Transportation" was fielded by a diverse group of panelists from the public and private sector to explore the implications of a more networked transportation system. The panelists were Matthew George of Bridj, Chris Gerdes of Stanford University and Chief Innovation Officer at the US Department of Transportation, Jeffrey Lush of Hewlett Packard, Erin Moseley of http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/homepage.htmlIntel, and Michael Spierto of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
Some of the facts and ideas they shared included:
· 40% of Americans who take cab rides have a household income of $20,000 per year. And Uber will not be the only game in town in the future of accessible and affordable networked transportation.
· Ridesharing and people with physical disabilities must be designed into transportation solutions in an intentional way. These should be factored in as norms, not exceptions in future transportation planning.
· The internet of things means that we will integrate community needs and city planning in a more human centered way, and there will be more opportunities for public-private partnerships.
The panelists shared best practices and experiments they have tried in order to deliver more relevant travel options in the most complex of environments. For example, Bridj has a business model based on "shared units of urban mobility", where networked partnerships between drivers, mass transit authorities and commuters will lead to "stickiness" among citizens. Chris Gerdes of the Department of Transportation emphasized how important it is to prototype "in order to discover the future, rather than predict the future". Such distinctions are critical if we are to get transportation right, and not create irrelevant redundancies.
The design and engineering of transportation is ultimately about the art of possibility- not merely about getting from point A, to point B. Smart transportation planning is an economic public policy issue that will lead to job growth, vibrant cities, and a sustainable environment. It is the ultimate model for triple-bottom line integration.