A few days ago I was talking with one of our clients about the kinds of technology used to manage transport and how much of this is accepted by citizens.
This made me think of the different buzzwords used in transport in the last 30 years.
The first buzzword appeared during mid 1980s when a new discipline, called
Telematics, emerged on the market as a synergy of two existing disciplines: Communications and Informatics. The first applications of Telematic systems to Road Transport were then identified as
Advanced Transport Telematics (ATT).
During mid 1990s the ATT systems and projects increased in number and complexity, therefore the ATT concept evolved in
Road Transport Traffic Telematics (RTTT) where not only technology, but also the effects of its application on traffic and travelling were taken into account.
By the end of 1990s the concept of Telematics evolved in a wider one classified as Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) - still in use today - whereas RTTT evolved into
Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) identifying an umbrella concept for a range of technologies including Data Processing, Control, Communications and Electronics that are applied to Transportation Systems (transport infrastructures + vehicles + users).
Although some experts tried to evolve the concept of ITS, yet used in these days, into
Intelligent Transport Systems and Services (ITSS), this buzzword didn't gain much visibility.
Finally, in the current decade, the most heard & mentioned buzzword is
Mobility as a Service (MaaS), a concept taken from the ICT world (i.e. Software as a Service - SaaS) that encompasses the possibility of travelling from A to B without having ownership of any means of transport and being billed from the entire journey without bothering who are the transport service providers in name and kind (bus, bike sharing, car sharing, train, etc.).
The European Commission mentioned MaaS in some of its calls for proposals at the beginning of Horizon 2020, its largest funding framework ever, a few years ago, showing that this had become a consolidate concept (buzzword?) of the future.
The MaaS concept is definitely interesting as probably represents the only chance of encouraging people to use Public Transport by relieving them from the hassle of buying several kinds of tickets. So far, though, it seems hard to convince the relevant transport providers that being part of a MaaS platform will bring great benefits to them too.
This, in my opinion, is the hardest effort that we as transport experts have to make in the future to promote the MaaS concept not as one of the many trendy buzzwords, but as a concrete reality.
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