A report by the London Assembly Transport Committee has said that the capital must predict and prepare for changes in technology in order to offer a smart transport system in the future.
The report, ‘Future Transport: How is London responding to technological innovation?’ said that there have been recent failures in London’s preparations for innovative transport services, notably the rapid growth of private hire operator Uber and the disruptive launch of dockless cycle hire service oBike.
The report recommends the Mayor, TfL and government should consider the potential development and impact of autonomous bus technology and examine whether to introduce a London-wide licensing regime for dockless cycle hire. All stakeholders should develop a new regulatory regime for demand-responsive bus services and ensure data produced by apps powered by underlying TfL data is shared with TfL. An integrated control system for ground-based autonomous vehicles and airborne drones should also be implemented, the report said.
Keith Prince AM, Chairman of the London Assembly Transport Committee said: “Autonomous vehicles could make roads safer. Dockless bikes could spread the benefits of cycling to the whole city and demand-responsive buses could give people a public transport service tailored to their needs. The opportunity to improve mobility for millions of Londoners is here but it will require proper planning, transparency and accountability, as well as cooperation with government, boroughs and development companies.
TfL have been caught napping on the technology front and it’s time to wake up. Uber, then oBike are two examples of a poorly prepared regulator which seems to be making it up as they go along.”