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Research shows growing interest from rail users in 5G and smart city services

A survey carried out on rail users in Hong Kong, London, New York, Sydney and Toronto revealed 95 per cent are more likely to use the rail network in their city if technology-driven solutions were implemented.

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5G and smart city tech could be critical in restoring confidence in public transport
5G and smart city tech could be critical in restoring confidence in public transport

The vast majority of current rail users (91 per cent) in five global cities say they would support government authorities investing in new and reliable wireless and fibre networks, a new study finds.

 

A new report from communications infrastructure specialist, BAI Communications, reveals widespread support and “growing demand” among rail users for transport authorities and operators to invest in 5G networks to enable smart city services that help them stay safe and connected.

 

Furthermore, more than four-fifths of respondents (83 per cent) say they support their city investing in 5G.

 

Mobile connectivity

 

The 2020 Connectivity outlook report highlights the opinions and attitudes of rail users around the world regarding mobile connectivity, smart city infrastructure and data-driven services in public transport.

 

It is informed by a recent global study, commissioned by BAI, which surveyed more than 2,400 rail users across five cities: Hong Kong, London, New York, Sydney and Toronto. BAI’s report is intended to help cities and governments understand the changing needs of rail users and the services that are valuable to them.

 

Attitudes towards the use of public transport are also influenced by technology investment. According to the report findings, 95 per cent of rail users are more likely to use the rail network in their city if technology-driven solutions were implemented.

 

In addition, nine out of 10 (89 per cent) rail users think the government should consider how networks and digital connectivity can be used to redesign public spaces to make them safer and more accessible.

“Advanced communications networks and their applications can help authorities and public transport operators to respond to rail users’ new ways of travelling, working and living in a more efficient way”

This study was conducted in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, and while the full impact on public transport remains to be seen, BAI anticipates these findings will offer “valuable insight and direction” for transport operators and authorities grappling with the shifting priorities created by the evolving pandemic.

 

Specifically, the need to invest in smart solutions that support connectivity and personalisation while alleviating concerns around public health and safety.

 

According to BAI, the findings show that citizens are increasingly understanding the benefits data can offer to enhance transport services in terms of reliability, safety and security.

 

Four in five rail users are at least somewhat comfortable with their anonymised data being used to improve transport systems, while three quarters of commuters believe an evolved rail network would provide them with benefits to their wellbeing.

 

“Our findings highlight the incentives for transport authorities and operators to invest in advanced communications infrastructure and smart city applications to improve rail users’ safety and their commuting experience,” said Justin Berger, chief strategy officer, BAI Communications.

 

“Citizens certainly expect public services such as transport to adjust to their new usage patterns and changing circumstances in real time, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

 

He continued: “Advanced communications networks and their applications can help authorities and public transport operators to respond to rail users’ new ways of travelling, working and living in a more efficient way.”

 

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