Transport entails the movement of people and goods from one location to another through various means. Transport is an essential element in the daily life and is utilized for economic purposes. The various means of transport increase the access of distant locations at relative high speeds. There are various modes of transport that are facilitated by different means. The modes include road transportation, water transportation and air transportation (Duval, 2007). Road transport is the most common mode of transport as it is cheap and convenient. Water transport facilitates the movement of people and goods over water bodies but is a slow mode of transport. Air transport is the most expensive form of movement but is very fast and convenient. Among the means of transport used are buses, cars, railway trains, ships, aeroplanes, pipeline, motorcycles and boats. Transport is very significant in a country but also is faced with various problems, this paper takes a major focus on the problems with transport and their solutions through public engagement.
Importance of transport
Transport has highly contributed to the development of the economy, cultural, social and political sectors of a country. Transport helps in mass production where there is movement of raw material and end products from the producers, to manufactures and then to the consumers. People are able to carry out their businesses and personal activities in various places through transport. Transport is a source of revenue and offers employment opportunities to drivers and those who run activities related to transport (Sim, Barry, Clift, and Cowell, 2007). Movements have facilitated the growth and development of trade which generates income and also enhanced stability in prices. Transport increases convenience and people are able to access services and goods fast. Capital and labour mobility have been enhanced by transport as people move to different places. Socially, transport has promoted diffusion of population which leads to cultural interactions. Transport enables national unity, defence, peace and integration across countries and continents.
Problems with transport
Many of the problems associated to transport are mostly experienced in urban areas as they many activities that are concentrated in the towns. The cities required modern structures that facilitate the transport systems due to their complexity. Transport is affected by the means and mode of transport together with the factors such as location and users. A major problem experienced in the transport sector is traffic congestion on roads (Ribeiro, et al 2007) which is being experienced in Berkshire Borough. Towns are highly populated with the large populations requiring many cars and buses to commute to work. The increase of cars and buses causes congestion as the road infrastructures are small and limited. Expansion of the roads in cities is hard because of the existence of other buildings in the town. Vehicles operating in towns are faced with parking issues as spaces are limited. Congestion and parking challenges have been brought about by increase in populations in town together with poor planning of urban areas.
The congestion causes transport issues such as longer commuting hours. The increase in commuting time delays passengers and travellers which consequently affects their work and schedules. Congestion leads to increase in demand for public transport that has been identified to be inadequate. The public transit systems such as trains are high crowded because they are not affected by traffic congestion. The crowding in the train causes discomfort among users and increases cases of theft and conflicts as passages struggles to secure seats. Other transport users are affected by the traffic congestion because the vehicles occupy most of the road spaces. Transport challenges have led to loss of various public spaces such as parades, path ways and markets as they are being utilized as roads. There are high maintenance costs associated with transport infrastructure. The infrastructure used for transport depreciates with time hence requires regular repair which attracts high cost. Modern technology also increases cost in the transport sector as the structures requires upgrade to conform to modern technology and requirements.
Transport prompts various environmental impacts together with extensive energy consumption. The various means of transport cause air population. Air population by vehicles is mainly through the emission of harmful gases. The gases cause the formation of the ozone layers which leads to adverse climatic conditions. The means of transport cause a lot of noise that affects the health and living of many people. The noise hinders effective communication and also fuels hearing impairments. The energy sector has been affected negatively by transport because increase in vehicles has led to high demand for petroleum. Increase in petroleum demand has consequently attracted the increase in energy prices that affects transport providers and the users as the commuting fare increases (Tseng, Yue, and Taylor, 2005). Transport is associated with accidents and safety issues that have contributed to deaths and injuries in many instances. The accidents led to traffic congestion and financial losses as vehicles used are destroyed.
Solution to problems with transport
The issues associated to transport affect a country’s economy, social, cultural and political sector negatively. The effects lead to reduced revenue and slow economic growth. Berkshire is an English country that has been affected by the transport issues hence established the Reading Borough Council to identify various solutions (Tiwary, Chatterton, and Namdeo, 2014). Among the major solutions proposed by the Reading Borough Council to ease congestion and improve air quality in Borough was the construction of the East Reading Mass Rapid Transit. The MRT entailed the construction of a road to be used by pedestrians, cyclists and buses. The road would link the Napier Road and A3290 at the Thames Valley Park. The aim of the plan was to stimulate people to leave their vehicles and take buses, bikes or walk. The road sort to increase the use of buses as an alternative to private means. The MRT was expected to reduce commuting time as there is not traffic and the buses are relatively fast. The quality of air would be improved as the number of vehicles on the road are reduced. There would be increased reliability as the buses are readily available on the road.
The plan was highly objected by John Mullaney who works for the Save Our Ancient Riverside due to its environmental impacts. The MRT would impact the environment negatively as it was being built over the Thames Valley Park. Mr Mullaney insisted that the planning and designing of the MRT was done by two parties without involving the local residents and environmentalist were not consulted. The Reading Council has since scrapped the project and has instead established plans of engaging the public. The new plan is termed as the “wide ranging public engagement exercise”. The exercise seeks to obtain the public opinion, ideas and perspectives in order to shape the local transport. The Reading council is incorporating modern technology in obtaining the information through utilizing a smartphone app.
The reading council has proposed the utilization of a smartphone app that will be available for all residents. The app will be utilized in reporting problems related to transport. The app aims at facilitating communication by all types’ residents in the town. There will be increased usage of the app because of the easy access which is via the phone (Cottrill, et al 2013). The app can be accessed at any given time from any location in the district (Nickerson, Austreich, and Eng, 2014). Also, there are unlimited functions in the app thus giving user a wide range of options to select from. Utilization of the app will be beneficial for the transport sectors as the operators are able to collect a wide pool of information on transport issues affecting the residents. From the information obtained through the app the government will be able to provide solutions to the transport issues. Users of the app are expected to have active internet connection which will enable them to connect to the servers and databases in order to offer real time data (Kitchin, 2014). The app will be used mostly when the residents are on roads where they encounter issues related to transport. The app will be used to obtain reports concerning the transport sector from the residents.
The users are expected to download and register through the app by providing vital information and their location. The app will provide a section of various transport problems and a user is expected to select the type of problem one has encountered. After selecting the problem the issue the user is supposed to fill in his or her comment on the problem i.e. where they encountered the problem and the specific issue. After identifying the issue the user is expected to confirm on the issue for it to be updated and processed by the app. The data is then collected and a specific code is sent. After data collection Borough will receive a notification which indicates the types of a challenge its user or resident has experienced. The information of the impending issue is then analysed by council where more research is carried out, discussions are held together with consultations to solve the problem. The problem will then be fixed by the selected team to ensure that the residents have easy effective transport experiences. The solution offered to fix the issue will also ensure that the issue does not recur again in the transport sector.
The smartphone app will improve transport services because the app will gather vital information on problems within transport sector. The information obtained will be used by the reading Borough council to identify the causes of the transport problems thus formulating strategies that can be used to solve the problems and improve transport. The council will also be able to identify the most affected area and sector hence giving the area first priority. The smartphone app will provide real time data that is essential in formulating up to date strategies that align with modern technology. The presence of many users of the app and its easy access will provide the council with a wide range of data that they can compare and contrast with (Dickinson, et al 2014). The users will provide information on road experiencing congestions and the traffic authorities will work on decongesting the roads. Issues of parking will be resolved where specific parking spaces will be designed to accommodate vehicles within the city. Availability of parking spaces will eliminate delays and congestion caused by stationary vehicles in the city.
Improvement of the transport through the app will ensure that the passengers and road users have better road experiences. Absence of traffic congestion will promote fast speeds which will reduce commuting hours. The passengers will be able to get to their destination very fast and conveniently without encountering any delays. Enhancement of transport systems will foresee the upgrade of the transport infrastructure where the roads will be repaired and modern technology incorporated (Van Oort, and van 2008). Through the maintenance and repairs the roads will be polished and smooth which will facilitate safety and eliminate the occurrence of accidents (Janušová, and Čičmancová, 2016). Costs related to maintenance of the transport systems will be reduce as the roads will be utilized appropriately. Revamping of the movement systems will minimize the inadequacy of public transport as passenger will utilize both public and private means. The operating cost of the public transport system will be reduced as the system will be able to accommodate the precise capacity. Also issues and conflicts that emerge when passengers fight over seats in the public transit will be avoided as everyone will be able to secure individual seats.
There will be restoration of public space that was being utilized by the roads. The decrease in traffic congestion will ensure that vehicles are in continuous motion on the road hence the road will not be crowded. The markers, parades and play grounds will be free once again and the residents can utilize them for the specific activities. The improvements on the transport systems will minimize environmental impacts by ensuring that vehicle do not emit harmful gases (Macmillan, et al 2013). The vehicles will be required to utilize mechanisms that incorporate carbon infusion to improve the quality of air. Also lack of traffic congestion will decrease noise pollution as the cars move swiftly and there will be no hooting for cars to give way. The use of public transport as advised by the council will reduce the number of vehicles on the road hence no traffic congestion. Decrease in the number of cars being used will reduce the demand of petroleum and also reduce energy consumption. Low demand of petroleum will contribute to reduced petroleum prices thus increasing affordability among consumers.
The smartphone app by the Reading Borough incorporate the freemium business model. The app is offered for free to the residents and users but they have to purchase it once. The purchase is made through the initial download and from the single download the users are able to utilize the app’s benefits without further payments. The unlimited access to the simple and basic features of the app makes it affordable. The app is also user friendly as the features are easy to interact with. The free nature of the app will encourage the users to utilize the app and offer required information by the transport operators. The app will have added premium features which the users can decide to pay for. The premium features offer users more benefits but at a certain fee. The decision to upgrade from freemium to premium is entirely based on client’s preference.
|FIX THE PROBLEM|
|NOTIFICATION TO BOROUGH|
|AVOID FUTURE PROBLEM|
Technical solution design
The technical design of the smartphone app is easy and convenient to use. The app is user friendly in that the users are able to access services through the different features of the app. The features are easy to understand thus promoting the interactions with the users. The app can be accessed from any location at any given time which increases accessibility (BinDhim, et al 2014). The app is very convenient in that it is accessible through a smartphone. There are minimal requirement in obtaining and accessing the app. The app is obtained through a single download and there are no additional fees required. The main thing that facilitates the utilization of the app is active internet connection. The internet connection enhances real time data as the users update on problems that they are experiencing at that particular moment.
The council is able to receive immediate notification of the information that the users have filled in the app. The app is very secure as verification information is required in order to access the services. There is minimal risk associated with the app and data concerning users is highly protected (Barrera, et al 2012). Users of the app provide transport information that is important in solving transport issues. The app adapts easily to changes which entail regular updates to assimilate modern technology (BinDhim, et al 2014). The app is enabled with cognitive features that are able to pick up locations and analyse the data feed by the users.
Professional and Ethical Issues
The smartphone app usage is faced with various issues as the users have autonomy to carry out activities of their choice. The autonomy may lead to unethical issues where users offer false information that misguides the council in tailoring solutions. The council members may use the personal information presented by the users for personal interest which is very unprofessional. The information presented by the users is supposed to be kept secure in order to maintain user privacy. The application increases privacy bleach and users’ security is threaten because through information provide a user location is made known hence exposing them (Bosler, Jud, and Herzwurm, 2017). The app is termed free but one is not able to access all the features thus limiting its efficiency. The premium features have better services but higher charges which increase the cost of the app hence being costly.
Also, the app requires an internet connection that increases cost in term of data purchase. In case there is poor connectivity one is not able to access the app thus being ineffective. The app contributes to accidents because its usage is mostly on the roads and it diverts the concentration of the user. The app requires regular updates and lack of update entails that the user is on a different version hence the app does not provide necessary support. The functions of the app are faced by technical issues that require immediate solutions that may lack from service providers. The app is exposed to many risks such as hacks that lead to financial losses and exposure of customer information. The exposure of customer information damages the reputation of the service provider and the council and users lose trust in them.
Transport forms a big sector in a country’s economy and the daily lives of the citizens. The movements generate revenue and helps people accomplish their various tasks. Transport is faced with many problems with road transport being adversely affected. Congestion and air pollution are the major problems identified in road transport. Congestion and air pollution are caused by the presence of many cars on limited roads and also cars emit harmful fumes that pollute the environment. Various measures have been put in place to mitigate the transport problems with some being effective while others have failed (Walter, and Scholz, 2007). The reading borough council has sort to solve the transport issues by engaging the public. The engagement is an effective measure because the public are the main users of transport.
The council has incorporated the use of a smartphone app through which the users offer real time data on problems they encounter. The app is easy to use and can be accessed at any location and time thus being convenient. The app can be used by any people therefore has a large user base. The user base is important in that they provide a wide range of information. From the data collected the council is able to analysis the problems and formulate solutions. Solutions presented improve transport and ensure that the problems are not encountered again. Also the app is cheap as only one download is required.