The Dubai-based British ITS expert Paul Glover has blogged an often-debated question – is the industry too inward-looking?
Glover, who is founder of the ITSC (Middle East) Consultancy wrote on LinkedIn, “have we (the technology in transport community) managed to shoot ourselves in the foot a second time? In a world of acronyms, a world in which we cannot extradite ourselves from, the first time we invented “ITS” Intelligent Transport/Transportation Systems. For the past 3 decades it has echoed round the world, in council chambers, technical press, trade shows and conferences and a special world congress named in its honour. It has even been citied and regurgitated by politicians across the globe with aplomb. Yet the very people we are serving, the end user and those who need to buy in most to the principles remain dumbfounded by what it means, stands for and still do not use it as a normal part of vocabulary, yet Google, FaceBook, uber, airbnb, fetchr are?”
He then looks at the new “buzz-acronym” MaaS. “Now, have done it again? I think so. MaaS (Mobility as a Service) is now becoming an almost defacto term for what technology offers Joe public for exploiting technology – connected cars, smart phone, communication systems, apps/software updates etc. to assist them in their never ending quest to move in a timely, safely and, dare I say, Intelligent way. My poll across the coffee shops, parks, metro systems, malls and ad-hoc venues I tread here in Dubai, show that this is probably even more meaningless than ITS. Have we enraptured ourselves into our own glorious glow and world of acronyms for the sake of acronyms and forgotten about what the end goal is – providing better, more informed, intelligent and integrated travel information for society as a whole? Or do we think the public will get it this time and get on page? I am not convinced yet and, as I did 15 or so years ago, believe we need to get this element of our “branding” more direct and relevant to our users to improve our end Vision?”
Dynniq’s Helen Blood agreed, writing, “I strongly believe in the industry we work in and often comment that we are only recognised by the ‘user’ when it goes wrong… I also spend a lot of time traveling about using various modes of transport, the issue is not whether technology can improve our journeys, we know it can and does, the issue is human behaviour. That suggests to me that we need to be better understood – we need to educate & we need to be clear on what ITS, MaaS, Smart Mobility/Cities etc.”
You can have your say here.