A Rail Journey From Dinosaur to Digital
In Aurecon’s latest Just Imagine blog post, Global Service Leader for Rail & Mass Transit Becky Wood and Transport Planning Leader Ian McCarthy argue that while rail has successfully positioned itself as the backbone of society, there is still a lot of room for the industry to innovate and change its mindset about its evolution to cope with people’s needs.
The history of rail goes back more than 2600 years when the first vehicles ran in limestone grooves in ancient Greece. After tremendous advances in George Stephenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s time, Japan’s introduction of the Shinkansen bullet train for the 1964 Olympics became the next evolution of railways, a 210 km/h driving force that took Japan from post-WW II ruin to the world’s second biggest economy at the time. The railways have proven their ‘metal’ as the backbone of economies from ancient times through to the modern era.
But as technology changes our way of life at an exponential rate, the rail industry, considered by some the last form of dinosaur, will have to evolve and adapt as fast (or even faster) than a bullet train to survive and keep up with people’s needs.
And what is it that people truly look for in transport? The industry has been abuzz with the promise of automation and driverless travel, but there’s no single silver bullet. Studies show that Uber and ride-sharing have been increasing road congestion, and the number of trips, as well as empty car trips. Making these vehicles autonomous is not the answer and will only result in a traffic jam on autopilot.
This article was first published Aurecon’s Just Imagine blog. Just Imagine provides a glimpse into the future for curious readers, exploring ideas that are probable, possible and for the imagination. Subscribe here to get access to the latest blog posts as soon as they are published.