Public sector mobility: enabling the next generation

Digital is helping to revolutionize public sector mobility in APAC, as cities continue experiencing rapid population growth that places greater pressure on public transportation infrastructure. Smart mobility initiatives can help APAC achieve cheaper, faster, safer and more environmentally friendly mobility for citizens of all ages.

Mobility for all generations

Changing demographics throughout APAC are creating the environment for smart mobility services in general: the number of people aged 60 and above in APAC is forecast to grow from 508 million in 2015 to 1,294 million by 2050. The UN predicts that Malaysia’s median age will increase from 28.5 in 2015 to 40.5 by 2050, while people over 60 years old in Singapore and Hong Kong will exceed 40 percent by 2050, too.

This demographic shift presents a need for APAC countries to develop smart mobility schemes designed to help older citizens. Many older people in APAC are not able to drive themselves, and further to providing freedom of movement to people, smart mobility also enables better civic engagement and access to medical and general services for them.

Furthermore, some older people are not overly technologically-savvy, so new digital services and systems can be complicated for them to use. According to Pew Research, APAC smartphone ownership varies by age, with 59 percent of 65 to 69-year olds owning smartphones, but for 70 to 74 year olds, that falls to less than 50 percent.

It is important to make services as easy to use as possible to help older citizens engage in new technology-powered mobility services. New South Wales, Australia, as part of the state’s Older Persons Transport and Mobility Plan 2018 – 2022, is looking into how artificial intelligence (AI) can assist the needs of older people, and how new smartphone applications can provide additional safety measures, such as longer traffic light phasing for pedestrian crossings.

Other driving factors

As well as enabling elderly citizens, public sector mobility schemes impact several other areas: safety, efficiency, sustainability and user experience are all improved. New digital tools can help make APAC’s roads and public transport networks safer by lowering accident numbers, and can also enable greater efficiency by reducing travel time and the number of disruptions to travelers.

The environment can benefit, since public sector mobility projects can reduce the burden on existing urban infrastructure. The user experience will also be enhanced thanks to more reliable and personalized services leading to a better commuter experience, making cities more livable, efficient and attractive.

What real world use cases are there?

AI solutions like intelligent public transport management systems, smart junction management and next-generation video monitoring and analytics are already in play. Intelligent public transport management systems incorporate automated trains and buses that maximize ridership and minimize journey times, commuters are empowered by being able to make payments via smartphone, and predictive intelligence enables personalized service based on real-time behavior and individual data.

Smart junction management makes traffic lights react to actual traffic levels, enabling them to identify and prioritize emergency vehicles. For individual citizens, they can identify pedestrians’ characteristics such as whether they are handicapped, senior citizens or children. In Australia, a fully-connected transport infrastructure investment boom has allowed instant intelligent insights and tracking disruption to the movement of people.

Next-generation video monitoring and analytics can quickly and automatically interpret huge volumes of data to generate insights, such as detecting problems in real time to highlight potential issues or emergencies and trigger alarms. This can have a big positive impact on safety. For example in Gujarat, India, Orange is developing a common platform for a holistic city view that will provide unified public safety services, coordinating security response units, city police and medical dispatch.

Personal mobility devices (PMDs) are on the increase in APAC, with new ways of getting around like e-scooters gaining popularity. Unfortunately, there has also been a commensurate increase in accidents involving PMDs on public paths, at road junctions and other locations. Last year saw a three-fold increase in accidents involving PMDs in Singapore alone, so while their impact on personal mobility is a positive development, they clearly need careful management.

Digital tools can help: roads and street lights can be kitted out with facial recognition systems, and speed-trap sensors can track speeding PMDs or shared bicycles. Analytics can help ensure a more efficient distribution of PMD.

How to take things forward

Throughout APAC, public sector leaders need to establish how to implement their public sector mobility strategy successfully. APAC’s municipalities must work to ensure adoption of mobility services and that people want to use them. The human element is clear: citizens must be able to perceive social or economic benefit in the service as well as quickly and easily understand how to use it. Public sector leaders can help ensure this by running small-scale pilot trials that help make sure citizens’ current and future needs are met. Focusing on the user experience before and during implementation can deliver an in-depth understanding of how users will accept the new technologies. And furthermore, those responsible for the implementation of the new transport initiatives must ensure citizens are fully educated as to the proper use and benefits of services.

Governments should be keen to test out new mobility initiatives, but they also need to have the right plan in place, the right partners and the right teams and personnel to maximize their chances of success. Working with an expert mobility partner who understands the technologies in question maximizes your chances. All this can be seen as part of a broader smart cities initiative that Orange has been working together to bring complementary capabilities to meet your needs. Exciting times.

Public sector-led smart mobility initiatives can drive the transformation of urban transportation. Download the PwC report, Life in the Fast Lane, to find out how.

Mark Tan

Mark Tan is Vice President Global Solutions & Marketing, Asia Pacific at Orange Business and has more than 20 years of experience in ICT across Asia Pacific supporting global organizations in their IT transformation journey.
At Orange Business, Mark is responsible for Global Solutions and Marketing in Asia Pacific, covering Universal Communications & Collaboration, Enterprise Integration Services & Service Management and the security portfolio offered by Orange Cyberdefense. Before joining Orange, Mark was APAC CIO for Publicis Groupe.