Technology Innovations in Ground Transportation
Technology in all facets of life seems to move at such a rapid pace that selecting the best new app or service can be quite overwhelming! The ground transportation industry is no exception. With tons of flight and passenger tracking programs, car services, and mobile apps, consumers need to perform some serious due diligence to determine which technologies are a good match for their travel and ground transportation needs.
Most ground transportation technology involves sharing your credit card and other personal information, making security a very important feature. Before launching into a new system, do your homework. Make sure your personal details and travel information will be kept private. As the cyber-crime rates increase, PCI compliance becomes an essential role of technology firms.
Transport Network Companies
The traditional ground transportation offerings like taxis and car services have been slow to adopt new technologies to make hitching a ride easy. They lacked on-the-go mobile reservation interface that consumers are becoming more and more accustomed to. That’s why transport network companies (TNCs), also known as ride-hailing companies, such as Uber and Lyft have been so successful. They offer user-friendly technology that connects drivers to passengers while keeping the passengers in the “driver’s seat”, so to speak. With only a few minutes notice, you can order your ride on-demand based on vehicle type, cost, and driver (and ratings!).
In an age where consumers are accustomed to “unlimited” access to products and services for a flat fee, it was only a matter of time before rental car companies jumped onboard along with the Amazons and Netflixes of the world. Hertz recently announced a new vehicle-subscription service called Hertz My Car, whose motto is “the smart alternative to owning or leasing a car”. The monthly service includes insurance, no maintenance fees, and allows subscribers to exchange vehicles. While this might be a great option to replace the traditional car ownership, it can also be a huge game changer for frequent travelers who would benefit from a similar service. We’ll just sit back and wait for one of the major players to step up and accommodate the ground transportation market.
Public transportation often gets a bad rap, especially in large cities, due to the increased crime rate that seems to go hand-in-hand with it. But, there is hope for improving public transport! For instance, Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and Heathrow Airport in London are using ultra transportation pods to reduce the risk of crime in ground transportation. The intuitiveness of these pods are an excellent example of how new transportation technologies are being integrated into everyday lives.
Flight and Passenger Tracking
Need to track flights? Need to track passengers? No problem! There are tons of mobiles apps available now to help you maneuver your way around airports and to keep on schedule. The following are just a few:
- Fleet: This app relies on crowdsourcing. It is the “Waze” of the air travel world! Users are encouraged to interact via the app throughout the travel process, from pre-flight highway traffic to the baggage claim waiting period.
- FlightAware: This app tracks both commercial and private/chartered flights in the U.S. and Canada. The flight map tracks a flight’s journey, overlays, arrival/departure times, cancellations, delays, diversions, etc. Users can also opt to view all flights in the nearby vicinity.
- FlightBoard: Some people just want a simple flight board, like the one you stare at in the airport. This app is just the ticket. No bells and whistles, just information. With over 16,000 airports and 1,400 airlines, it’s pretty comprehensive; and it updates itself every minute.