Authorities across the North have clear ambitions to improve how people connect with place. These include simple ticketing, multi-modal validity, intuitive journey planning, sustainable demand responsive travel, pay as you go/capping, regional connectivity, micro-mobility and new modes of transport. Public transport patronage, however, has not yet and may not recover to pre-2020 levels. Travel habits have changed, historic assumptions around peak times are no longer accurate, reduced purchases of season tickets has lessened fare revenue and subsidised public transport may end in October. Moreover, whilst passenger expectations and technical literacy have increased significantly, we risk a sector skills gap emerging around innovation.
Setting the scene for his opening keynote at TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2022 earlier this month, TfN’s Head of Digital Strategy, Matt Smallwood, highlighted these challenges, before setting out how Transport for the North is working across regional authorities to help maximise the scale, spread and impact of existing digital innovation in the North. Noteworthy foundations for innovation and collaboration include: established multi-operator ticketing in Merseyside, West Yorkshire, the North East, South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester; DRT pilots operating in Cheshire, North Lincolnshire, the North East and West Yorkshire; eScooter trials in York; Mobility credits in the North East; Multi-modal QR codes in West Yorkshire; Pay as You Go Capping on Metrolink; and planned fare caps in Manchester and West Yorkshire.
TfN’s Connected Mobility Hub is a pilot providing local Transport Authorities with additional specialised capacity and guidance around developing and deploying digital and ticketing initiatives – a “Northern knowledge exchange”. Matt detailed the role the Connected Mobility Hub concept will play in ‘levelling-up’ and supporting non-mayoral combined authorities, and outlined how, as a sub-national transport body, TfN aims to act as a regional centre of excellence developing and delivering efficiencies of scale and the exchange of knowledge and expertise between areas.
He also explained how this work will then shape the aspirational roadmap for a holistic Connected Mobility Strategy for the North of England, bringing together authorities ambitions and objectives to realise quicker and more cost effective delivery whilst “avoiding the need to re-invent the wheel”. To fully realise the benefits of emerging ticketing technology, Matt also highlighted the case for greater adoption of smart and open data standards and the need to integrate future mobility systems with traditional ticketing and local transit networks.
If you meet our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us at Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester, for the live in-person event on September 9th, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from Matt’s keynote).
Those qualifying to receive the rich presentation content from this event include commissioning, procurement, trialling and partnering leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers and planners from local authorities (e.g. city, borough, metropolitan, district and county councils); public transport operators; regional transport partnerships, sub-regional transport bodies, combined authorities, integrated transport authorities and passenger transport executives; highways authorities and road operators; government and supporting national transport agencies; fleet operators, parking operators, prime contractors etc.