How Important Will 5G be For Our Morning Commute?

Up until now it’s been seen as a tool which can help passengers get more work done on their phone or tablet while on the train. But the developers of a new transport app say 5G is about so much more and will even boost commuters’ chances of getting a seat on their morning commute. TUBR, which uses passengers’ data to plan crowd-free journeys, says the new technology is helping accelerate the app’s success.

“5G will be a real game changer in helping to provide more accurate data about passenger numbers,” says Dash Tabor, TUBR’s Co-Founder.  Up until now we’ve analysed event data to better predict how changes in an area, like weather and traffic can impact your public transport journey. But 5G will take the surprises out of changes in behaviour and provide a better understanding of what is happening in an area. It creates a more unified platform that collects and manages additional data points from smart devices. This then allows us to predict more accurately the changes in passenger footfall in any area.”

Ms Tabor said this spectrum “allows for higher accuracy in understanding that a change is happening in real time”.

She added: “As a result we now plan to use 5G to improve public transportation predictions so each minute of travel can be realised. Currently, we make predictions for public transportation based on 20% of data that arrives over an hour after the event occurred. 5G will provide near real time data collecting meaning we’re updating the view into the future faster than ever before.  We’ve also seen how 5G can handle greater bandwidth meaning you don’t lose your network access and we can keep feeding you those real time glances into the future.

“We live in a fast paced society and 5G will transfer life impacting data in near real time so you’re always getting the most valuable insight.”

5G is revolutionising the way we live, work and play and is predicted to dramatically improve the way we move through our environment. Previous reports have forecast that reduced congestion through 5G-enabled transport systems could cut commute times by 10 per cent, save £880 million a year in lost productivity and reduce CO2 emissions by 370,000 metric tonnes.

The average driving commuter currently spends 32 hours a year in traffic, according to the Centre for Economics & Business Research data. Train cancellations or delays resulting in employee lateness or absence cost the UK economy £10 billion per year in lost productivity, with 38% of cancellations or delays caused by asset maintenance according to Network Rail.

Studies were carried out at the end of 2019 into 5G’s impact on transport systems. But a lot of this work was paused due to Covid-19 and is expected to resume next year. Earlier this year Six innovative and pioneering projects exploring the benefits and applications of 5G technology in the transport sector were awarded a share of a £1.6 million investment fund.

West Midlands 5G (WM5G) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined authority (WMCA), have partnered to award funding for the development and deployment of 5G-enabled innovations that will enhance road, rail and bus usage across the region. Ranging from autonomous information robots at Birmingham New Street station, to solutions using smart camera systems that will help manage overcrowding on buses. Others include the use of connected technology and smart sensors to quickly identify track and power line defects on the region’s rail and tram networks.

Set to take place over the next 12 months, each project includes a minimum of three months of user or product testing within the West Midlands to verify its benefit to operators and travellers.

All projects will use 5G’s low latency, greater bandwidth and increased capacity to generate significant social benefits, with a particular focus on improving health and safety. While some projects will look at enhancing traveller experience, others will develop a more efficient and smoother movement of passengers, helping to increase confidence in the use of public transport post-Covid.