Portrait of life as a rail passenger in a smart city 2045

It’s 2045 and 75% of the world’s population are living in cities. The corridor connecting London, Birmingham and Manchester effectively constitutes a mega city due to the speed and efficiency of the rail network which facilitates quick and easy movement from one end of the route to the other.

Passenger mobility has increased 250% since 2016, while freight activity is up 200%. Technology has played a huge part in increasing capacity to cope with these growth figures. Advanced traffic management, customer information, and real time business intelligence are some of the things that have facilitated clear lines of communication, seamless interfaces and dynamic actions:

Dylan works for Resonate as an account manager in the London office. He exits the office on a Tuesday evening and waits for a set of driverless PODS to pass by before crossing the road. Once he reaches the station he drops off a corporate gift for an overseas client at the international delivery box and uses his smart device to deliver both payment and a delivery address to the tourist information wall. The wall in turn sends him confirmation and a commitment to provide tracking updates.

On his way to the platform Dylan notices customers using the virtual shopping wall and remembers that his dishwasher sent him an alert to report a fault, while the fridge says it is low on sparkling water.

Upon boarding the train and departing the station, Dylan gazes through the window and notices the micro drones monitoring the route. He wonders whether they are performing predictive maintenance or spotting for delay causing incidents. If they are delay spotting they will relay information to the Resonate traffic management system which will automatically run algorithms enabling trains to be re-arranged or re-routed in order to minimise disruption. The TM system will also dispatch problem solving teams and send passengers alternative travel plans if they are to be delayed.

As Dylan’s phone beeps at the first stop, he looks down and sees that he has been alerted to an elderly lady entering his carriage. She will have used her CX app. to report her status. He stands up to offer his seat but another passenger has pipped him to the post.

Before his train has time to ease into Manchester, Dylan’s corporate gift has set off for Europe. The parcel has been dropped onto a conveyor, automatically scanned for delivery details and delivered to an underground POD. The system calculates the most appropriate train based upon final destination. The automated pipeline then transports the package to the correct freight loading area.

The rain in Manchester is heavy and persistent according to the app so Dylan decides to get the Auto-pod home. As the train pulls in, he requests a pick-up in five minutes knowing that he will be at the docking station in less than 4. The number “77” flashes onto his screen and he reaches the station to see a young couple coasting up in a pod carrying this ID. He disembarks 10 minutes later, 100 yards from his apartment and is informed by his diary that he is scheduled to meet his brother in 35 minutes. His brother is currently based in Dublin but holographic software means that they can still meet for a drink.

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