Report: Public transport ridership can increase by 18 percent with digitalization

The public transport industry in the Nordics and Baltics can be transformed through digitalization and the use of IoT and data insights solutions, according to a new report by Telia and analyst firm Arthur D Little. The report concludes that a full deployment of the solutions available today could increase ridership by 18 percent across the Nordics and Baltics.

“Public transport is a key enabler of more livable and sustainable cities,” says Jenny Gustavsson, Head of Industry Urban Transport, Division X, Telia Company. “Public transport can help reduce car traffic and air pollution while increasing people’s mobility. In recent years, public transport ridership levels have remained constant, while operating costs have continued to rise. In order to attract new passengers, public transport needs to be transformed. This report helps to increase awareness of what must be done on our local markets and explains how to take the next steps.”
 
Even before the ongoing pandemic, the public transport industry faced stagnating passenger numbers and rising operating costs. The report, Digitalization of Public Transport in the Nordics & Baltics: How IoT and data insights are changing the way we move, describes the challenges and how digitalization can contribute to overcoming them. The report also looks at what new challenges may be brought on by the pandemic and what public transport operators and authorities can do to make operations more efficient and traveling more attractive to passengers.

"The most important stakeholders in public transport are the passengers who use and ultimately fund it,” Gustavsson says. "For the industry to meet business and sustainability goals, public transport needs to become a better option than taking the car. Telia has already connected more than half the buses in Sweden, and we are expanding. We provide a digital infrastructure for connectivity across the Nordics and Baltics and in combination with our digitalization tools in IoT and data insights, we enable our public transport customers to optimize operations, understand passengers’ needs and make public transport more sustainable and safer.”

Telia is one of the largest providers of digital solutions to the public transport industry in the Nordics and Baltics – delivering end-to-end solutions containing components from the hardware on buses to a comprehensive portfolio of digital services.

“As long-standing advisors to the public transport industry, our goal with this joint report has been to provide an overview of public transport in Nordics and Baltic and to outline how IoT and digitalization contribute to more accessible, reliable, safe and efficient transportation in the region,” says Agron Lasku, Partner and Head of Telecom, Media, IT and Electronics at Arthur D. Little. “With industry goals and the most imminent pain points as a foundation; our unique analysis finds that a full deployment of the digital solutions available today could contribute to an increase in the number of people who use public transport by 18 percent. The new and evolving IoT and data insights solutions give public transport authorities and operators a new set of tools to achieve higher ridership and improved efficiency.”
 
The report is based on in-depth interviews with decision makers from public transport authorities and operators as well as with experts from Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Baltics. This is combined with the findings from recent local and global reports as well as previous Arthur D. Little research including the Future of Urban Mobility study carried out together with the International association for public transport (UITP) and the Arthur D. Little Urban Mobility Index.