• Mark Ullah

Innovation supporting the safe return to Public Transport, post COVID-19, plus other cool apps!

In a pandemic, boarding a packed train could be deadly. Whilst Australia is dealing with COVID-19 far better than other countries, there is understandably a fear that you're boarding a train, bus or ferry with patrons who may be infected.

In NSW, the fear of train ridership prompted the release of an app to help you avoid packed services before you even get to the station. The Opal app has a new function which provides advisory on whether the train is on time plus, updates on whether there is social distancing space available.

This brilliant innovation by Waratah trains and Transport for New South Wales measures the weight of the carriages and cross references this information with the tap on and tap off customer information.*

There have been a number of innovative urban transportation apps throughout the last year including;


While the basic navigation capabilities of the app are nothing you haven’t already seen, the brilliance of Google-owned Waze – and what makes it singularly effective – is its crowd-sourced traffic data, which provides up-to-the-minute, real-time information of traffic backups due to construction or accidents, road closures not yet seen by Google Maps, dangerous potholes, dicey road conditions, and police speed traps


Most mapping software gives you accurate ETA's based on current traffic conditions if you leave right now. But what if you leave an hour from now instead? Inrix uses a cloud platform called Autointelligent to calculate travel times based on current travel conditions as well as predict future conditions. Even cooler: the app “learns” each driver’s behavior and preferences, so each user gets their own customized routes and predictions.


Though not yet popular in the U.S., Sygic‘s mapping software covers 200 countries, and while the navigation system-styled mapping is familiar, what sets this app apart is its ability to project the navigation screen onto your windshield in darkness.

What’s next in public transit?

In a word, Uber. The granddaddy of ridesharing plans to integrate data on a variety of different transportation options, including public transit, bike shares, and car shares. We are already seeing this happening in NSW.

The scary part about this is the drive by commercial operators to integrate transportation providers their way, essentially taking control. MaaS 2.0 discusses, in theory, the need for Cities to take control and regulate in an equitable way for the good of the city and the citizens. My response to a post of this topic can be found here where I essentially question whether we ever made it to MaaS 1.0. Having said that, i'm in complete agreement that cities need to take more control.

For a more detailed list on the movers and shakers across ridesharing, car sharing, bike sharing and parking apps click here and as always, please reach out if you would like to know more about this topic.

#MaaS #transportinnovation #datadriveninsights #futureofcities #safetravel #covid19 #TfNSW #Waratahtrains

*Image courtesy of channel 9 news

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