Developing real-time solutions for the logistics and the transport sectors is one of the key tasks of the PTV Group. Mr Peter Mott, Director Business Development Public Transport, gives insights into their work, their definition of sustainability and next steps.
GPSM: What does the PTV Group represent?
Peter Mott: PTV Group provides software and consulting services in the areas of traffic, transport logistics and geo-marketing. Be it transport routes, sales structures, private or public transport, we plan and optimise everything which moves people and goods worldwide. Customers in over 100 countries rely on our solutions that enable public authority and industrial users to carry out their daily tasks efficiently.We link transportation planning and infrastructure know-how with data and maps in such a way that state-of-the-art tools are available to practitioners. In addition, we develop real-time solutions both for the logistics and the transport sectors. Thanks to these solutions, schedulers can monitor their transport fleets and transport managers their transport network in real time as well as make predictions and take appropriate steps where necessary. This means that impending motorway traffic jams can be averted or reduced by releasing the emergency lane, for example. This shortens the overall travelling time of each individual and reduces unnecessary CO2 emissions.
GPSM: How do you define sustainability in the context of your work?
Peter Mott: PTV Group campaigns for existing infrastructure to be utilised as well as possible. We support this with new technologies and intelligent mobility concepts. We see this as the most promising way to organise transport and traffic in a sustainable manner. We believe that three tasks in particular are becoming increasingly important here: traffic safety, share economy and green mobility. As a Business Developer for public transport, I am closely involved in the last two. Both relate to the shift from motorised individual transport to eco-mobility. We conducted a worldwide industry survey at the end of 2012, which dealt with the public transport perspective. 81% of respondents indicated that scarcity of resources and climate change represented the strongest driving force for the future. 80% also mentioned demographic change. To the question of which green concepts would come to fruition, more than half answered that they would work towards more efficient use of vehicles. 42% indicated that optimised schedules would be an important issue. Both concepts can be planned using our PTV Visum software and always considered in a multi-modal context. The interplay of individual modes of transport has kept us busy in this regard for a very long time. Consequently, I find the change of perspective in the debate all the more interesting. If sustainable modes of transport had been seen previously as being in competition with car use, we would now be discussing how they could best complement each other. This is important since a wide variety of mobility options contributes to a change in behaviour: wherever possible, move from individual transport to public transport. This change is achievable in the short term. In the long term, however, we must try to reduce the number of trips we make. This then overlaps with the issue: how should the city of the future be built? What urban structure allows us to go about our daily activities such as working, shopping and enjoying leisure time without having to cover long distances and link trips together perfectly?
GPSM: What trends and developments have you come across in your field of business?
Peter Mott: I would certainly include the scarcity of resources, demographic change and urbanisation among the global trends. Focusing on my area of work, I am noticing a surge in public transport worldwide. In Europe, for example, trams are experiencing a renaissance, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and metro systems are springing up in urban areas across the world. High-speed trains are gaining increasing importance as links between cities. Public transport is gradually developing its offering across the world in order to become more attractive to users and offer an attractive alternative to cars. This often goes beyond the actual public transport network. And here we are again, back to the clear trend towards multi-modal trips: particularly in the ‘old world’, having your own car is no longer as important to people in certain age groups. New concepts such as car or bike sharing are popular. This has spurred the public transport operators on to link up with other modes of transport, by entering into cooperation agreements regarding incentives or by developing individual sharing programmes, for example. This trend means that specific items of information gain in importance. Current, mobile services help mobility participants find the ideal mobility mix for their journeys. Apps providing passenger information or for purchasing tickets help with this. And the use of such services reveals another trend: they can be used to obtain valuable data on mobility behaviour. Not only is more data available to us now, more sources of data are available on which we can draw. In an ideal world, these should all be incorporated into strategic and operational planning. Transport models must therefore be in a position to describe multi-modal trips.
GPSM: What challenges and hurdles do you face when working on sustainable mobility solutions?
Peter Mott: It is important to understand that there isn’t THE ONE sustainable mobility solution. It is always about the framework conditions. Whilst some regions, such as countries in Latin America and Asia, for example, have to deal with moving really large numbers of passengers and set up BRT systems, other regions are struggling to keep a suitable form of public transport going in sparsely populated areas. It is also about available data. On the one hand, the amount of information is growing exponentially, but it is not a matter of course everywhere that this information can be used by everyone. For us as a company, it means that we have to both adapt our behaviour to these different factors and also demonstrate how to get hold of valid data for planning purposes or how to make the best use of the minimal data available. We have a mandate to educate here to a certain extent, which we must accept. Consequently, for example, we not only offer software training for users, but we also train certified trainers and cooperate with universities, which act as multiplicators in their respective countries and show experts current possibilities and new improved methods, as well as train the younger generation which will soon take over responsibility for planning.
GPSM: What are your next tasks in the context of international cooperation agreements?
Peter Mott: Continuing and expanding this mandate to educate is a task that we would like to develop further. We also work with major organisations such as the OECD, GIZ, the World Bank and EMBARQ, which perform the same education mandate with the same self-concept, in order to share knowledge and experience and thereby organise mobility in a more sustainable manner.
Dr.-Ing. Peter Mott
Director Business Development Public Transport