17 Mar Creating better journeys
Global Opportunity 2015 | Atkins
Technology and data will help us improve transport systems and create seamless end to end journeys, says Graham Bolton, Aviation Director, Atkins
A study by investment firm Nutmeg showed that over our lifetime we spend on average 10,634 hours (or 443 days) travelling to work. For people in large cities this figure is even higher, with London residents clocking up a staggering 13,097 hours, or 18 months, average commuting time over their lifetime.
If you add on top of this the time we spend travelling for leisure, we end up spending an awful lot of our precious time travelling from one place to the other. So how can we help get people from A to Z quicker, and without compromising safety or sustainability?
Providing a better journey for passengers is a top priority for us at Atkins. We care about improving people’s journey, whether that’s a quicker commute, safer travel on the road or a hassle free trip through the airport.
As we plan, design and enable the operation of transport infrastructure across the world, we are developing and applying new technologies and processes to deliver better solutions. There are two great examples – intelligent mobility and passenger management – of where we’re using technology and data to help improve people’s journeys by road, rail and plane.
Intelligent mobility looks at how we connect people, places and goods across transportation networks, and apply a combination of systems thinking, technology and data at every point to inform decision making and change the way people behave and enable a positive customer experience.
Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) and the related research project VENTURER are two things Atkins is currently working on to help make intelligent mobility a reality.
We recently released a report on CAVs looking at how their adoption can improve efficiency, safety and road design, and reduce congestion and emissions. The ‘Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Introducing the future of mobility’ report urges UK cities to prepare their infrastructure to better support CAVs – fundamentally changing how people move and interact with their surroundings.
Atkins is also part of the VENTURER consortium, a group of cross sector experts working together to trial autonomous vehicles in Bristol and South Gloucestershire and explore the feasibility of driverless cars in the UK. The trial is being part funded by Innovate UK to investigate the legal and insurance aspects of the new technology and explore how the public react to such vehicles.
The VENTURER trial will run for 36 months, with testing of the consortium’s autonomous vehicle, the BAE Systems Wildcat, on private and public roads starting in early 2016.
Ultimately Atkins is pushing intelligent mobility so that we can help improve our transport system and create truly seamless end to end journeys for people, goods and services. This will enable access to things like health, education and businesses, and be a driver for economic growth, reduced congestion and improved air quality.
Atkins is also developing systems that improve the passenger experience when using an airport.
We have worked with Heathrow developing the Passenger Authentication Scanning System (PASS) to reduce queues at airport departures and help airlines get their planes off the ground quicker. This starts with self-service gates at the entry to security.
Passengers are given live updates on their flight with messaging configurable by airline, detailing gate allocation and time remaining to departure. Airlines are also given up to date reports on the passenger’s location to help them better manage the boarding process.
We have also integrated biometric facial recognition into PASS to secure operations where both international and domestic travellers share the same terminal. This biometric approach is also used to enhance the self-boarding process, ensuring that the passenger who boards is the person who was issued the ticket.
We are now able to make this identity management approach available at any touch-point to further improve airport throughput and service levels.
Through projects like passenger management and intelligent mobility, we are starting to see a real difference in the way people travel. In future, maybe we’ll even see a drop in those precious 443 days people are spending on commuting.