Illustrations of person using mobile device and terminal

Creating the Future of Public Transportation

How can we learn from and be inspired by innovators in the field of mobility? This is what the core members of the program ‘The Future of Public Transport’ of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment asked themselves. Their team is working on a vision and a strategic agenda for public transport in the Netherlands in 2040. Recently, they finished an extensive scan of technological innovation and opportunities for policymaking. As a next step, they are involving both the established public transport organisations and innovators to jointly explore future directions. Challenges include: How to shorten the (perceived) ‘door-to-door’ travel time’? How to maintain mobility in cities?

In a recent creative session they asked participants to propose solutions and discuss the consequences if these became reality. STBY was invited to join these conversations, and to explore the solutions through a design thinking lens. The participants brought a wide variety of solutions to the table, from modular pods that swarm over the Dutch railways, to better use of open data and shared electric vehicles.

We were happy to see that in addition to a shared enthusiasm about the potential of new technologies, everyone was aware of the importance of deeply understanding the perspective of the most important stakeholder: the traveller. An important piece of advice that came up in the final discussion was to not only include the current established players, but to look for grassroots initiatives that are already taking place and involve these in shaping the vision for 2040. The government can play an important role in connecting initiatives and making room for explorations.

Image: ‘Innovaties in het openbaar vervoer’  [http://www.kimnet.nl/publicaties/rapporten/2016/09/14/innovaties-in-het-openbaar-vervoer] by Kennisinstituut Infrastructuur en Milieu [kimnet.nl]

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