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What's been happening...

Smart Transport Forum

Choice. This was the theme of the morning at the Sustainable Business Network’s Smart Transport Forum. If you want an effective, efficient and sustainable transport system that really gets the country moving, it needs to be people-focused and offer multiple options.  


Minister for Transport Phil Twyford shared the Government Position Statement on land transport, which has four key objectives for the country: Safety, Access, Value for Money and the Environment. To enable access, mode-neutrality is key. A mode-neutral transport future makes efficiency the Government’s priority – a departure from car-centric attitudes of the past. Twyford also emphasised the importance of well-planned infrastructure connecting high-density housing with good transport options.  


Martin McMullan, tech lead at NZTA, demonstrated the importance of choice by showcasing Queenstown’s app of the same name. Choice is a mobility-as-a-service success story, allowing people in the city to travel via multiple modes, book activities and connect with social, all while gamifying the experience with in-app rewards. 


NZTA’s plan for 2018-2027 sees technology playing a huge role in ensuring that smart transport options are accessible to as many people as possible. This played out in the morning’s talks when we heard about mobility-as-a-service apps, zero-data access, car-sharing apps and eBike lease-to-own options.  


If choice was the main theme of the forum, education was a close second. For policies to be truly effective, managing the way they are communicated within businesses and to the public is critical. Jenson and Danielle from MRCagney discussed the perception of autonomous vehicles and their benefits, including increased mobility, road safety and reduced travel time.  What was clear however, was that public transport investment should be seen as complementary to autonomous vehicle development, with mass transit use cases the most likely to be viable in the short to medium term.  Public support and awareness will be needed for successful adoption.  


Also on the theme of education, the team from NextBike (public bike sharing) had a few words of advice for business wanting to bring on an bike fleet: set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely), provide training and guidance, and be prepared for barriers, so consider incentives. 


Overturning the car-first mentality will be tough, but the folk at Big Street Bikers have a clear mission: make it cool to go by eBike and make it accessible to as many as possible. They offer a lease-to-own option, plus one-off rates to help people cruise around Auckland without breaking a sweat.  


Read about MyTechies’ two-week eBike trial  here, and stay tuned to hear how we’ve been getting on since we purchased our eBike from the Electric Bike Team.

Mike Carroll