An inclusive digitally interconnected transport system meeting citizens' needs
Merging physical transport assets like infrastructure or vehicles with the digital layer, through the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data applications opens vast possibilities in terms of the development of new transport services, business/operating models and social innovations. This has been exemplified in the rapid development of services such as multimodal travel planners, transportation network companies, Mobility as a Service, public transport on demand, new airline ancillary products, various forms of tracking and tracing and many others.
Digitally based services and applications provide citizens with an increasing level of tailored real-time information and greater choice thus allowing for a travel process that is faster, more comfortable and which gives travellers greater control. These services and applications can also serve as basis for social innovations in mobility. In the longer time frame, digitisation of transport promises to lead towards fully personalised services and commercial offers. Despite this, important and often overlooked aspects are user impact and user's ability and readiness to take advantage of the new opportunities. Benefiting from digital technology requires specific skills, willingness and ability to assume a new role as an active participant of the digital travel ecosystem. The main challenge is therefore to ensure that all members of society can benefit from digitisation. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to better understand the needs and attitudes of various users, in particular vulnerable-to-exclusion citizens such as, for example, elderly, low-income, disabled or migrants, in relation to the requirements brought about by the digitised transport system as well as the skills and strategies necessary for all citizens in order to fully benefit from it.
Proposals should address several or all of the following:
- Identify the main characteristics of demands that digitally based mobility solutions place on the users;
- Identify the needs and attitudes of all societal strata of transport users - in particular vulnerable to exclusion citizens - in the digitised travel ecosystem, taking into account interpersonal and intrapersonal (over time for the same person) variations(age, culture, etc);
- Identify the obstacles to the appropriation of digital mobility by different user groups and possible nudges to facilitate it, including the potential for social innovations;
- Investigate user requirements when transport is interrupted, e.g.: due to extreme weather, man-made or technical hazards.
- Investigate gender related differences in the adoption of digitally based transportation products and services;
- Identify skills and strategies needed in order to fully benefit from digitalisation in transport and thus to avoid digital exclusion or digital divide in terms of social and spatial aspects;
- Provide recommendations for policy making and practical applications for designing an inclusive digital transport system and its related products and services with due regard to data protection and cybersecurity issues;
Research should be validated in a selected number of case studies through pilot demonstration, trials and testing involving service providers and end-users. Furthermore, actions should be undertaken in view of ensuring take up of research results by key stakeholders.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 3 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Research will help policy-makers design appropriate regulatory frameworks and social and educational strategies in order to create the best possible conditions for an inclusive, user friendly digital transport system, taking into account the needs and characteristics of all parts of society, with particular attention to vulnerable to exclusion citizens. Moreover, research will also help regional authorities and businesses in designing digital transport solutions that are better tailored to citizens' individual needs.
- Open Innovation
- Socio-economic science and humanities