A changing world of data collection
The transport planning profession has always been
data-heavy. We rely on local data collection, quantitative evidence,
benchmarking and behavioural research.
First-hand experience of data collection is invaluable for
future transport planners. It teaches us to always check and question the data
we use and its meaning. However, the world of transport data collection is
rapidly evolving and, with it, our skill sets must also evolve to understand
these new data sources.
The five highest valued companies in the world today are
software companies. And we constantly hear of the relative value of technology
companies compared to traditional manufacturing and service businesses.
Without actually owning and operating any hotels, AirBnB and
Booking.com are both valued higher than any international hotel chain. And
without operating any transport services (and without even making a profit),
Uber’s valuation is higher than many of the world’s largest vehicle
The business model of the tech intermediary passes the risk
of actually operating services and producing goods to third parties. But that
business model is also a race, which relies on rapid expansion to gain maximum
market share as quickly as possible.
The reward for winning the race to market share is
unrivalled insight into the behaviour of consumers – i.e. data – that forms a
major part of the value of these companies.