Digitalisation of Public Transport: The Key to Success

Newsletter 9, December 2020

Wi-Fi, a smartphone and efficient public transport: do we need more?

Dear ,

Welcome to Modasti’s ninth newsletter. You are receiving this newsletter because you either recently subscribed to it or we met or communicated at some point over the last few years. If you prefer not to receive this newsletter in future, simply unsubscribe by clicking on the link in the footer.

COVID-19 and the digitalisation of public transport services

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted an acceleration of many existing trends and digitalisation of public transport services is one of them. The 2020 edition of the biennial IT-TRANS conference — which was organised as an exclusively digital event earlier this month — took a deep dive into the current trends in the digitalisation of the public transport sector.

We observed three key trends:

  • Contactless ticketing systems have become very popular since they reduce the risk of contamination. Some cities already have a higher degree of contactless payments (with a mobile phone, a contactless bank card or a contactless smart card) than payments with the more traditional public transport smart cards and tickets.
  • Crowdedness apps are on the rise. They allow passengers to see if their train or bus is busy or not (and thus giving the option of taking an earlier or later ride to make it easier to social distance).
  • Mobility data, especially the right management and usage, will be extremely important for Public Transport Operators to organise their operations more efficiently and to tap new revenue streams. Mobility data are sometimes even called the ‘new oil’.

Digitalisation as the key to success

At Modasti Consulting, we are convinced that by the end of next year demand for travel will have returned in many cities around the world.

We also believe that digitalisation is the key to success for public transport operators. If they do digitalise, they can come out of the pandemic stronger than ever (especially when combined with some other opportunities as described in the last scenario in this article). If they do not digitalise, they will most likely lose passengers to individual car mobility (as this article describes, sales of used cars are increasing due to the pandemic).

Modasti’s activities over the last months

December saw the closure of a project in Saudi Arabia: the Public Transport Planning Study for Sakakah and surrounding cities in Al Jouf.

Modasti’s consultant, Arjen Jaarsma, has been working on this study as a sub-consultant to Royal HaskoningDHV (RHDHV) for its client Transport General Authority (TGA). Five main reports have been delivered during this 16-months project. Arjen would like to thank Essa AlDughaiesh (TGA’s Project Manager), Hans Klaren (RHDHV’s Project Manager) and the other project team members for the productive collaboration.

Modasti changes

I have been a specialist in Risk Management for many years and in this very special year when the world is being hit by a pandemic and an unprecedented economic crisis hardly anybody in the Public Transport Sector talks about Risk Management’ says Petra van den Boorn. ‘Being part of Modasti Consulting since early 2019 has been a very interesting experience, but I recently decided to focus solely on Risk Management in the Dutch Health Sector via my own – founded in 2016 – consultancy Bewust Risicomanagement.

This means that Modasti Consulting will consist solely of its founder Arjen Jaarsma again from 2021 onwards. Thanks a lot, Petra, for the collaboration and the great insights on Governance, Finance and Risk Management!

Arjen will be in Riyadh, Doha and Dubai (for the rescheduled UITP MENA Congress & Exhibition) in February and March 2021. Hope to see you there!

Arjen Jaarsma
Arjen Jaarsma Public Transport Expert
+31 6 235 88 096
Modasti Consulting

Modasti Consulting B.V.

Hofvijver 177, 5223 MC ’s-Hertogenbosch

the Netherlands