6 Transportation Headaches for Future Developments

In running a business, two things are predictable with certainty: it always includes stumbling blocks to overcome, and, future factors are hard to predict. From there, the Share-Use Mobility Center’s workshop came to life to simulate possible present or future transportation glitches; and thus, problem-solving models. Six interesting scenarios are as follow:

1. No more roads can be built in the city.
Hitherto, the defacto solution to traffic gridlocks has always been to expand or build more roads. Exploring the edges then begs the question – what would happen if we could no longer do that? The answer, according to Ja Kim, an LA department of transportation representative, requires going back to the basics. Ja points out that, as Bangkok squeezs through the largest amount of vehicles in the nation, the gridlocks are a direct result of running out of space to build more roads. The solution is to both facilitate the flow on existing roads and reduce the amount of vehicles on them, concurrently. An example is the allocation of traffic police to problematic routes to expedite traffic flow, reinforce no-parking – no-stopping zones, motorway order, traffic law obedience, as well as plan additional traffic control systems based on hindsight expertise, and so on. On the other hand, minimizing the number of motorway operators can be done through public campaigns to promote public transportation and establish large vehicle restriction zones, for example. One of the most effective answers to congested urban areas, though, has been traffic surveillance cameras working in tandem with auto traffic ticketing system (home delivery), and, the establishment of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) standards and restrictions during peak hours. 

2. Redesigning ineffective road and rail network.

It’s steep hill to climb to design a road that caters to so many different purposes, i.e., bicycling, pedestrians and regular commuters rushing to work. When feasible, roads with different utility purposes are separated into different categories such as Interstate, State, Arterial and Local roadways. Traffic tickets are issued for doodling on interstates and speeding on local roads, and so on, where the majority of bike routes are separated from roadways altogether. However, when not feasible, as is the case for most overly congested metros, the idea is to redesign existing venues into Complete Streets where applicability expands beyond medium to long distant nonstop commutes, where vehicle operators of all purposes respect short-range doodles, foot-travelers, street venders where business doesn’t obstruct commutability, and above all, the most fashionable Green trend at the time – non-ICE bicycles, as well. Thailand has continually supported the development of Complete Streets. Roadway ‘physical conditioning’ workshops have taken place in heavy duty urban areas to maximize and expand common utilities of the invaluable Common Area. Safety and security is enhanced, and to everyone’s enjoyment – enabled Green activities and festivals, i.e., with the restriction of ICE powertrains, in the same time. Green vehicles, e.g. EVs, hybrids (Prius lead the way!) and plugins, in developed communities around the world enjoy special HOV lane privileges without having to meet ‘high occupancy’ standards as a way to support Conscious Consumers that put an effort in selecting the type of motor their vehicle operates to curb urban pollution and contribute to Climate Change in a positive way. With fresh air comes an optimized quality to urbanization through expanded common areas that become available and the connectivity that aid mode hopping expeditions in a single commute. For inbounds, many teens, young professionals, and a lot of times, seniors, bike or walk a couple kilometers from home to the BTS, MRT or bus station and either have another bike ready at the terminal destination or grab a motorcycle taxi to get to where they need to be. For outbounds, taxis provide a viable solution, also. In communities with HOV lanes, Slug lines or ride-sharing are usually the commute of choice. Bottom line, Complete Streets can turn roadways in to common areas that cater doodling, exercising, walking and enjoying the urban community life.

3.Ride-Hailing

Slug lines or Ride-Sharing, according to Wiki, is the “sharing of vehicles by passengers to reduce vehicle costs, traffic congestion and automobile emissions”, and is most effective in neighborhoods with HOV lanes. Vehicles with 3 passengers and over including the driver and Green vehicles may use the HOV lane. Ride-Hailing, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds like: a person who “hails”, or hitches, a car and is immediately picked up and driven to their destination for a time and distance-based fee. As Uber and Grab taxi has demonstrated, aside from facilitating conveniences and safety for commuters, as well as substantial sideline income for qualifying car owners, such an App is also good for shrinking the number of cars taken to the streets every day. 
A precautionary tale, though, of to how the setup can experience hiccups, is the excessive amount of car owners and consequently ride-hailers in China. With over 15 millions cars operating through one of China’s largest uber platform, taxi companies in Shanghai recently filed a motion for the government to act on drivers violating a transportation stipulation pertaining to the amount of drivers allowed to operate through such a mechanism to earn a living, in so doing illegally, taking away their market share. 

4.The new Transportation module: optimized Logistics.

Seleta Reynolds, an LA Dept. of Transportation representative, said that technological advances have made transportation more convenient for people with online payment capabilities, be it conventional credit cards or decentralized Blockchain-induced Bitcoins. La’Zooz, a startup in Israel, has a Blockchain ride-sharing app that allows drivers to connect directly with customers, without the need to go through a middleman platform like Uber or Lyft, nor preapproved credit for that matter. Either way, a smart phone is needed to drive off the lot in the sharing economy.
But, what about the realists shorn of bank accounts, how are they supposed to benefit the internet of roads? A lot of commuters get trapped in the income gap and rely solely on public transportation. The predicament presents one of the biggest obstacles to overcome at the time to optimize transportation streamlined to the Logistics grid – one of the three pillars of IoT, along with ICT and energy. First things first is a component that caters to all transportation purposes alike, with or without a bank account. After all, it is we the wealthy that drive around alone in expensive cars (plural intended) during peak hours, responsible for most of the unnecessary pollution on the road (minus the Samaritans with Priuses, BlueTEC Hybrids, and etc.), yet, enjoying disproportionate tax brackets, i.e., the source of income required for reconstruction. 
For realists to make it to work, bottom line, a viable public transit system is required. And so, we are seeing new bus-minibus systems and, most importantly, the Red, Purple, Green, Blue, Orange, Pink and other BTS lines currently under construction. Although uncertain of to how the transit system relates to logistics development, according to a (very) senior official at the Center of Excellence for Road and Railway Innovation in Thailand, “These public transit systems rarely make a profitable business. The BTS system of Thailand is one of those rare occasions. From a balance sheet perspective it’s a very risky venture. Nonetheless, the subsequent economic boons and booms to expect from it – is massive, to put it mildly.” 

5.Mode hopping expeditions vs. streamlined payment system
New feasible ways to get from point A to B have changed the way we live. The key to effective transportation is selecting the right mode of transportation in accordance to the purpose and destination we are traveling, for and to. Payment methods, on the other hand, have a lot to do with the time it takes to pay and get on the way. The express way used to be the only decision we had to make, i.e., if we used it often enough during peak hours, chances are we would save a lot of time with automated easy passes. More recently, any commuter could be using a number of transit systems on any given day; thus, daily mode hopping expeditions. Isolated payment machines at each connection means we could be spending the better part of the journey waiting in lines for a boarding pass, if not a separate key chain to hoist ten different passes. Convenient payment methods available are no good if the transit finance systems between venders, themselves, are not connected. The latest “digital” currency worth a try is the Blockchain-enabled Bitcoins that can be used either on and offline. A breakthrough technology, initially unintended for applications beyond finance, that bypasses the middle man through distributed ledgers, yet, updates and share data in real time with near 100% data integrity, transparency and cyber security, thereby holding the promise of revolutionizing the finance system as we know it, as well as Supply Chain Management, Healthcare, Defense, Government, Judiciary system, as well as Energy across the board, the latter two with enabled Smart Contracts and Smart Meters, respectively. Coined by Oracle.com itself, “blockchain seems poised to be one of the digital world’s key pillars”. In other words; business modules in all sectors across the globe – are at stake. 
As Visa discovered in a study, commuters in Thailand have a tendency to use less cash and conduct more payments through smartphones. Who knows, a cashless future could be right around the corner. Whenever the chips fall, Thai operators have never ceased to embrace viable technologies to keep up with ever changing demand, that be either cash or credit.

6. First Mile – Last Mile solution.
Typically, the Frist Mile is the transport from the source factory to the warehouse whiles the Last Mile from the warehouse to end customers, both of which face a number of challenges in the process. To coin the same terms, in a study, Jarrett Walker found that most commuters in the US that travel via public transportation prefer not to walk any longer than a ¼ mile in either the first or last mile, i.e., to and from the transit station, respectively. The problem, sure enough, has always been, e.g., the driver failing to park within ¼ mile of the station. To bridge the gap, Uber and Walker shook hands this January to extend Uber applications to identify walkers’ location- destination and have a driver swing by for a pickup, right on the spot. Yet, another IoT induced solution.

The 6 simulations are simply a trial to test prevailing transportation issues. There are many other predicaments that revolves around costs, drivers and safety and security, and so on, that all strategic parties have to monitored and plan for. Precedent real world case studies can be reviewed to prevent obvious errors from reoccurring, again, also. A data-driven IoT-induced solution is waiting to be discovered, or so the experts say.

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References and pictures by apr2945jr.blogspot.com, oknation.nation.tv, voathai.com positioningmag.com, chalaom.com, spacing,ca, dignited.com, pixabay.com (account :jonbonsilver, strikers)

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