The impact of digitalisation on the access to transport services: a literature review

The shift towards digital media in transport services (such as public transport and car sharing) is bringing new challenges. Not everyone can or wants to follow the pace of such digital transformations. An accessible-for-all design, more education and retaining analogue alternatives can be helpful, as concluded in a literature study conducted by the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis.

Owning a smartphone is not enough

For the traveller, simply having a smartphone is not enough. You also need to have enough battery, data, and especially enough knowledge and skills to be able to navigate the digital world of transport services.

Vulnerable groups and consequences on mobility

According to current literature, older adults, underage people, people with a lower income level, people with a lower educational level and people from minorities are the most at risk in terms of digitalisation in transport services. Nevertheless, the amount of people who cannot or do not want to keep up with digitalisation (in transport services) in the Netherlands is unknown. A growing gap between groups looms on the horizon: while tech-savvy early adopters know how to reap the benefits of digitalisation, at-risk groups have trouble with digitalisation’s new rules and the disappearance of analogue alternatives. This can pave the way to transport poverty.

This study forms a first building block of a research programme on the potential problems arising from digitalisation. In a follow-up study, KiM will research how vulnerable groups deal with digitalisation in transport services. Furthermore, KiM will explore in depth potential solutions.