Published on in TransportInnovation

It may sound slightly out of place to attempt to discuss Dublin’s successful and booming economy in line with its transport system.

Congestion in Dublin, for example, is at a worrying level with jams in the greater Dublin area costing the economy €350m a year and potentially rising to €2bn within 15 years. So how can issues with our transport systems reflect one of the strongest economies in Europe?

The answer is straightforward – an upturn in the economy means a larger workforce and heightened business activity. The knock-on effect being that more people commuting to places of work is leading to a genuine conversation about how we can improve our transport networks in line with our growing economy.

An economy in a city which could potentially grow to 2.6 million people by 2050.

The need for smarter transport

Current levels of investment in moving towards smarter transport options, with a focus on the benefits of digital technology, are currently insufficient considering Dublin’s economic and population growth.

The key is concentrating on a more passenger-centric approach, looking for digital solutions to improve access to the transport network, intelligently mapping supply and demand and joining the end to end journey.

Moving towards smarter transport options that we can witness in cities like Amsterdam, Stockholm and Singapore is not just to combat congestion and the issues which arise from it. It’s as much about facilitating an evolution for an entire city.

This means decreased emissions through greener, autonomous vehicles.  It means increased productivity for a city where travelling by car accounted for over 50% of journeys in 2016.  And it reflects changes in how we use our land – it is likely we will see commuters living further away from a place of work as our transport technology improves.

We are seeing progression towards smarter technologies in transport, even if it does need much more attention. The recently announced plans for €1bn overhaul of Dublin Bus operations should be welcomed.

This will include the introduction of e-ticketing which will allow passengers to pay using their mobile, debit or credit cards. A cashless system will significantly reduce delays across Dublin Bus’s network and represents an opportunity to integrate smart technology into our wider transport networks.

Collaborating to evolve the transport landscape

The collaboration which is required to effectively develop Dublin’s transport networks, as well as delivering a human-centric intelligent society, needs to be addressed as well. Key stakeholders must work together to build a range of core technologies for collecting, integrating and processing data.

With the data in-hand, moves can be made to develop advanced information based transport services, to the benefit of both the public and private sector. It isn’t just transport where we can see the huge benefits in data applications, but in a wider urban setting; modelling, urban spatial trends and development zones.

Going back to the above figures on the costs of congestion, this collaboration truly needs to develop now to mitigate against future problems.

Dublin’s growth should be celebrated, but it be somewhat hollow if we do not grasp the opportunities available to us now and ensure that growth is maintained to develop a functioning, human-centric intelligent society for the future.

Our transport is central to that and it is vital we can move our citizens around as efficiently as possible, in line with the positive movement in our capital’s economy.

Image credit: William Murphy Flickr 

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