• Smart cities using digital intelligence stand to improve quality of life, making happier and more productive citizens

  • Connected transport networks create city-wide networks that enable greater efficiency, safer commuter experiences and broader smart city applications

BAI Communications, a global leader in communications infrastructure, today published the results of its global survey, ‘The Continuous Connectivity Research Report’ to understand how a digitally connected public transport system can impact citizens lives and expectations around a city.

The research study, which surveyed over 2,500 rail commuters in five global cities, revealed that transport systems already play a vital role in creating smart, world-class cities, with 83% of respondents stating that innovative transport systems are a feature of a smart city and almost half (45%) believe a city can’t be considered world-class unless it has good digital connectivity.

“Everyday tens of millions of people worldwide use public transport; this critical infrastructure is the backbone of cities and more than ever citizens are expecting digital innovations that improve their commute. Digital connectivity is changing our ideas of what makes a city ‘world-class’ and regardless of where they are in the world, people want to live in a city that allows them to work and live better, and technology is emerging as a key enabler to help citizens reach this aspiration,” said James Woodhams, Chief Strategy Officer, BAI Communications.

“The modern commuter isn’t just looking to get from A to B, they are expecting more from transport networks and want technology to enrich their journeys. A smart-city commuter will use digital connectivity to work smarter, live better and reduce stress to create more mindful trips.”

Continuous connectivity on the public transport system can deliver significant gains in productivity and liveability, as city dwellers are able to work more effectively on their commute journeys. Respondents stated that they could use their travel time to complete work so they spent less hours in an office (56%), offer the potential for career improvement (46%) and they would be open to location and housing changes (45%).

“Imagine the commute experience of a citizen choosing to live in the outer suburbs but still working in the city. On any given day, they can stream a video tutorial on the morning commute while downloading a presentation. Then, they can leave the office early to take a conference call on the train so they’re home for dinner, arriving relaxed and happy; this is all made possible with a connected public transport network,” said Mr Woodhams.

“As we look to improve services and create modern, data-driven cities that enrich the lives of citizens, seamless digital connectivity is the foundation needed to achieve this goal.”

Connected transport systems create city-wide networks that enable greater efficiency, safer commuter experiences and broader smart city applications. Commuter expectations of their rail network are increasing, and many of these expectations require continuous connectivity to enable innovative technology solutions. These applications include sensors, Machine2Machine learning, Big Data, cloud computing or other emerging technologies and we are already seeing how this approach can deliver connected, data-driven transport systems to unlock new value for both operators and passengers.

Other notable findings from the study included:

Innovative transport systems are a defining feature of smart, world-class cities

  • 99% of rail users expect public transport to do more than just get them from A to B.
  • 81% of users believe advances in transport-related technology is already increasing their use, or changing the way they use public transport.
  • 83% of rail users think innovative transport systems are features of a smart city.

Commuters require continuous connectivity to realise the benefits of living in a smart city

  • 95% of rail users would be more likely to use rail if it deployed technology-driven solutions.
  • 94% of rail users believe all rail networks should offer digital connectivity.

Continuous connectivity transforms cities, helping citizens to be happier and more productive, and organisations to innovate and prosper

  • 96% of rail users believe transport innovation is an important part of modern cities.
  • 92% of commuters would benefit if they could better enjoy their journey if the rail network of the future evolved.
  • 73% of rail users say their ideal rail journey would encompass logistical improvements.

Mobility Futures Consultant and Transportation Researcher, Adam Cohen believes that urban transportation is on the verge of rapid transformation and the convergence of shared mobility, electrification, and automation will transform how people travel and how cities are built.

“What is clear is that public transportation, cities, and society are on the cusp of changing rapidly and dramatically as advancements in mobility technology converge in the marketplace,” said Adam.

“Travellers are leveraging mobile devices and data to make real-time choices based on factors such as convenience, connection, cost, travel time, and wait time. They are part of the ’experience economy,’ they don’t need to take public transportation and agencies need to look at technology solutions to make travellers want to. Technology can improve the effectiveness of public transportation by enabling transportation providers to know their riders’ preferences while simultaneously enhancing rider convenience.”

For more information and to download the BAI Continuous Connectivity Research whitepaper, click here.

About BAI Communications

BAI Communications designs, builds and operates communications infrastructure – cellular, Wi-Fi, broadcast, radio and IP networks – connecting communities around the world. With a heritage of over 90 years, BAI creates networks that unlock new services and revenue streams for our customers, enabling them to deliver better connected and enhanced experiences for people, communities and economies, every day.

With operations in Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong and the USA, BAI also owns Broadcast Australia and has a majority stake in Transit Wireless (New York).