London Bus

Buses and Disruptive Technology – UK Bus Summit, 8th February

London Bus

It is a relatively new phrase “disruptive technology”, as if we had never experienced it before. It also seems to represent a rather negative view. Definitions of disruptive include “troublesome, rowdy, disorderly, unconventional”.

In reality technological developments have been changing transport ever since the wheel. Buses were themselves the big “disruptor” in the 1920s & 30s, changing from a minor mode in 1920 to the dominant mode in 1950. The losers in that era were the railways who struggled to compete against more flexible, responsive and cheaper buses.

The outcome of “disruptive technology” in transport terms is clearly a worsening in the competitive position of at least one mode of transport, but generally a significant improvement in accessibility for transport users overall. The important issues to think about are really:

  • How big a change is it in terms of better, faster, cheaper journeys?
  • How expensive is it to introduce/grow?
  • Are there any other externalities – environmental, equality, safety etc

Looking back to the latter part of the 19th century the invention of the bicycle changed transport not because it was particularly fast, but because it was cheap and therefore accessible for many. The introduction of air services in the early 1950s had a similar impact on total distance travelled, but that impact was restricted to a small minority of people able to afford the fares, pre low-cost airlines.

How will disruptive technology change existing bus markets? Come along and find out at the Transport Times Bus Summit!

Paul Buchanan

Image: London Bus by Max Pixel is licensed under CC by 0.0

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ELLIE EVANS

Partner

e: eevans@volterra.co.uk
t: +44 020 8878 6333

Ellie is a partner at Volterra, specialising in the economic impact of developments and proposals, and manages many of the company’s projects on economic impact, regeneration, transport and development.

With thirteen years experience at Volterra delivering high quality projects to clients across the public and private sector, Ellie has expertise in developing methods of estimating economic impact where complex issues exist with regards to deadweight, displacement and additionality.

Ellie has significant experience in estimating the economic impact across all types of property development including residential, leisure, office and mixed use schemes.

Project management of recent high profile schemes include the luxury hotel London Peninsula, Battersea Power Station and the Nova scheme at London Victoria. Ellie has also led studies across the country estimating the economic and regeneration impact of proposed transport investments, including studies on HS2 and Crossrail.

Ellie holds a degree in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Cambridge.