In 2014 the IET and ITS (UK) produced their first Guide to Emerging Transport Technology. With technology changing at speed, we decided it was time for some updates to the Guide. The second version, launched in 2017, is bigger and better.
The Guide demonstrates how transport technology can be used to meet local authority objectives and shares knowledge through case studies of the use of transport technologies in new and innovative ways. It also contains advice on procurement, specifying technology needs, making the most of what you already have and doing more with less.
The speed of technological change is accelerating. The advances we see in everyday life in smart-phones, communication and entertainment are also happening in the world of transport and travel technology. This will, over the next few years fundamentally alter the way local authorities provide local transport and engage with the travelling public.
People have an increasing expectation of having access to live reliable information and exercising greater spontaneity. These expectations, together with the ongoing need to enhance safety and provide for ever increasing levels of travel mean the challenges local authorities face go far beyond simply replacement of existing systems and ‘business as usual’. The pressure to make sound decisions that demonstrate good value for money whilst recognising the changing face of local government and increasing public expectations is huge.
All these opportunities and challenges are happening against a backdrop of shrinking local government, and no authority is immune from the pressures to reduce costs and find new, innovative ways of providing services more cost effectively. Technology can help with this, through the use of open standards to reduce specialisation and the use of cheaper commodity systems to replace older, expensive proprietary ones. However, technology also presents challenges; in a world where most authorities are losing their own technical staff and becoming more reliant on consultants, contractors and suppliers, understanding the possibilities of technology and the ways it can assist in delivering wider outcomes is essential, as is the ability to write effective briefs and specifications.
To help, the IET and ITS (UK) have launched a guide, designed to aid understanding of emerging technologies and how they will shape service delivery and decision making in local authorities. The Guide is not intended as a detailed study of current transport technology as there are many others able to do this, but what it does do is look at how the wider world of technology may influence the development of local transport. It includes case studies that highlight real world examples of the use of new and innovative technology solutions in local transport. It also offers guidance on procurement, producing briefs and specifications, and security issues. Whilst doing this, the Guide maintains its focus on the challenges that face local government, of cost efficiency, doing more for less and ensuring best value in procurement and whole life costs.