COMMENT: Growing tech reliance

Akin Adamson, director, Middle East, Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), looks at six key trends gaining traction in transport this year.
Akin Adamson, director, Middle East, Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).
Akin Adamson, director, Middle East, Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).


One of the United Nation’s recent reports has shown that 54 per cent of the global populace live across key urban areas and have predicted that 66% or 6.3 billion, will be in these areas by 2050. With a continuously growing population, we are bound to see increased congestion of our roads, more pollution, heightened stress and an endless list of unfavourable conditions.

Industry experts are calling for the development of key solutions and initiatives to help address this forthcoming challenge. The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), a leading transport consultancy and research firm, in partnership with its subsidiary, Transport and Travel Research (TTR), has released a new report that sheds light on key developments that are expected to fuel and drive the transport industry this year.

Growing demand for shared mobility solutions
Today's industry is seeing the emergence of a new consumer trend which shies away from ownership as people now have expressed enthusiasm over trying out different types of transport for multiple purposes – whether taking a weekend away, commuting for work or moving house. It will be fascinating to see how this space evolves over the next 12 months.

Cyber security in the transport industry
Cyber security is expected to take more prevalence this year with more manufacturers installing high-tech equipment at production and insurers offering more sophisticated aftermarket technologies. While it is clear that the majority of manufacturers and suppliers have robust systems in place, there will always be vulnerabilities in cyber-physical systems where the human element gets involved.

Electronically assisted transport in urban areas
The Middle East region is currently witnessing a growing interest in electronic vehicles. Despite making inroads in the UAE, there is still a lack of federal legislation covering its use. Hybrid vehicles, electric-powered buses as well as electric cars have been plying UAE roads, particularly in Dubai, for the last few years, but standards and specifications concerning the operation and maintenance are still missing. The UAE can lead the region in low-carbon transportation, but the general ecosystem that is required for electric vehicles to compete with conventional vehicles has to be established across the country.

Adaptive restraint systems in mainstream vehicles

This year will see more manufacturers creating and introducing the market to adaptive restraint systems that are able to adjust to the occupant’s position and size. As pressure to reduce road casualties increases and the vehicle market becomes more competitive, we can expect to see to manufacturers start to move towards an adaptive and intelligent approach to vehicle safety.

The emergence of Smart Transport in the GCC region
New urban challenges facing cities in the GCC provide an almost watertight justification for investment in Smart Transport solutions. Key focus areas could be advanced public transportation, car sharing and bike sharing, tolling and congestion charging, smart parking and traveller information systems. While Smart Transport cannot possibly hope to remove all petroleum-based modes of transportation from the roads, it can play a huge role in reducing unnecessary emissions caused by idling in traffic or searching for parking spaces.

Technology will drive regulatory changes
European manufactured cars have become so technologically advanced that it is becoming apparent that current safety regulations are out of date. We believe there is a very strong case to see some driver assistance systems become compulsory in new vehicles, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems and driver distraction and fatigue monitoring technology, which reduce collisions and mitigate injuries.

About the author: Akin Adamson, director, Middle East, Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

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