Increasing COVID-19 resilience of public transport

Michael Peter, CEO – Siemens Mobility
More insights from Michael Peter on his LinkedIn account

Visit LinkedIn

We live in unprecedented times. So far in 2020, most of us will have travelled much less than in previous years. COVID-19 has changed our routine, decreasing travel significantly. Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility, explains in his article how to increase resilience in public transport.

Intelligent and digital rail infrastructure will become part of the new normal. Public transport – but at a new level.

Moving forward to a new safe normal

Now that the lock down rules and restrictions are easing in parts of the world, the movement of passengers, goods and services is slowly picking up again. Effectively, this is because the drivers behind the growth in mobility – urbanization and climate change – are still intact and very much present. Clearly rail solutions will remain the backbone of urban mobility simply because there is no alternative due to restricted capacities of roads. We have to move forward to what will be our new normal. And to help that along, we have to ensure the public is aware that this new normal is safe.

Delivering solutions in challenging times

There are a variety of solutions operators around the world have implemented in the last few months to keep travelers safe. I am extraordinarily proud of the Siemens Mobility team; they have not only kept themselves safe but supported our customers to keep operations running. Above all, we have delivered on our promises to our customers even in these challenging times. For example, together with our customers our team achieved the certification of the Mireo EMUs for Germany’s Rhine Valley – delaying the project, despite the COVID-19 challenges, was not an option. And they have put forward a series of measures to reduce the risk of the virus being spread by commuters, from 3D printing to create parts that allow passengers to open doors with their elbow to disinfecting trains with UVC light.

Thinking and driving mobility ahead

What if these measures formed the basis for sustained future change rather than just refining the present? What if they helped improve the whole passenger experience? What if COVID-19 became an acceleration for digitalization to achieve safe and seamless journeys? In accordance with our motto “Moving beyond”, our team already thought one step further. With digital trip solutions passengers not only can plan their journey with minimum exposer to COVID-19 but they can easily change between different modes of transport from the first mile to the last, pay for their ticket using contactless methods and also have all relevant information right at their fingertips. Before they board a train, they know how busy that train is, and which carriages are less crowded. As they leave the train, they are informed which is the safest exit to avoid crowds. And when continuing their journey on a bicycle, the traffic control center paves their way with green traffic lights for fewer stops and shorter travel times. End-to-end their trip will be contactless.

 

In this way intelligent and digital rail infrastructure will become part of the new normal. All the solutions described above are already available from Siemens Mobility today. Public transport – but at a new level.