Megacities to pose challenges to transport of goods, services

By Cai U. Ordinario, BusinessMirror

Posted at May 22 2014 07:25 AM | Updated as of May 22 2014 03:25 PM

MANILA - The increase in the number of people living in megacities, like Metro Manila, will pose a challenge to the ease of travel and transportation to and from, as well as within, these locations, according to a study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

In the study, titled “Connected World— Transforming Travel, Transportation and Supply Chains,” the WEF and BCG said that by 2025, existing megacities would increase in size, and new megacities are expected to emerge.

By this time, the WEF and BCG estimate that 16.3 million Filipinos would be living in Metro Manila, making it the 13th-largest megacity in the world. By 2025 Metro Manila, or the National Capital Region, will be larger than megacities like Los Angeles in the United States, Shenzhen in China and Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Perhaps the most important development on the horizon is the population growth of New Delhi, India, the study said. “By 2025 an additional 1 billion people will inhabit the Earth, with 87 percent of this growth originating in Asia and Africa,” the study stated.

Apart from the increase in population in existing megacities like Metro Manila, around 14 new megacities will emerge, and nine of them would come from Asia. By 2025 new megacities, like Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, will have a population of 14.5 million; Chongqing in China, 13.6 million; and Bangalore in India, 13.2 million.

Other new megacities that will emerge include Jakarta, Indonesia, which is projected to have a population of 12.8 million; Chennai in India, 12.8 million; Wuhan in China, 12.7 million; Tianjin in China, 11.9 million; Hyderabad in India, 11.6 million; Lima in Peru, 11.5 million; Chicago in the US, 11.4 million; Bogotá in Colombia, 11.4 million; Bangkok in Thailand, 11.2 million; Lahore in Pakistan, 11.2 million; and London in the United Kingdom, 10.3 million.

The increase in the populations of these cities is fueled by two megatrends—the Great Economic Shift and the Great Urban Shift. The first megatrend refers to the rise of the middle class as seen in the increase in their income-generating capacity and spending power, while the second megatrend refers to the increase in the population of urban centers.

These are expected to create new challenges for travel and transportation of goods and services, such as in car ownership, as well as supply and logistics in a particular location, among other things. These problems would also be compounded by global aging that calls for not only efficient transport facilities but age-appropriate solutions, as well.

“Another development to consider is Global Aging. Individuals aged 55 or older will account for 20 percent of world population [or 1.6 billion out of 8 billion] in 2025. This ‘silver segment’ is even expected to reach 35 percent in G7 [Group of Seven] countries by 2025, a situation that will call for age-appropriate mobility solutions,” the study stated.

To address these concerns, the WEF and BCG came up with four game-changing solutions that will revolutionize travel and transportation by 2025.

These are the Integrated proactive intermodal travel assistant (Ipita); Condition-based megacity traffic management (Comet); Fully automated check-in, security and border control (Acis); and the Tracking- and transparency-based logistics optimizer (Tatlo).

The study explained that the Ipita aims to optimize intermodal travel planning, booking and navigation, using real-time maps and geo-specific information. It interfaces traffic-management systems for road, rail and air to ensure the latest traffic information and predictions.

The Comet would use real-time information collected from vehicles, infrastructure and people for active traffic management through routing and dynamic tolling. This will help ensure traffic flow, air quality, access rights, safety and security.

Meanwhile, the Acis aims to promote efficient, seamless and secure travel, without queuing at consular services, security checkpoints or borders. Travelers will benefit from e-passports, smart visas and automated kiosks for biometric identification that uses face, fingerprint, iris or voice ID to enable faster processing than traditional travel documents.

The study explained that Tatlo is a real-time monitoring and tracking system that uses widespread low-cost printed electronic chips (e.g., RFID chips) to “tag” all items with real-time accessible product information.

The WEF said these solutions would be introduced in various parts of the globe this year. The Acis will be introduced in the Philippines this week at a workshop at the sidelines of the WEF in Manila.

Workshops on the Ipita will also be held in San Francisco in the United States from June 19 to 21, while workshops on self-driving vehicles will be held in Detroit on July 9. Further, workshops on all the solutions will be help in Tianjin in China from September 10 to 12.