Key Trends in Transportation Innovation

When people think of the transportation industry, they are often thinking of auto manufacturers, but it includes a wealth of other companies and products: from shipping and logistics firms, to travel transportation, non-motorized transport (like bicycles) and more.

Because of the proliferation of products and offerings, there are tons of consequential changes set to impact the industry (from upgrades to new technology to changes in public sentiment). So what are some of the trends that our customers are talking about when it comes to transportation innovation?

Autonomous Vehicles. Consider the 8 million jobs in the trucking industry in the US alone. How will those jobs shift (or evaporate) once the majority of the automobiles used in this field no longer require drivers? And all those drivers also create jobs: they need coffee in the middle of the night and mechanics to work on their trucks. Removing the humans from the equation will surely shake up the industry. But perhaps it means new jobs too: human-AI trainers, service staff, and other potential options.

Sustainability. With transportation emissions accounting for nearly 1/3 of the total emissions in the US, almost every manufacturer and transportation brand is trying to think of ways to live in a renewable future. But it’s going to be about more than just switching fuel economies, it’s going to be about looking at the entire value chain for opportunities for efficiency and beyond. This means which vendors companies work with and their impact on their environment.

3D Printing. Surprisingly, the rise of 3D printing has led to a decrease in shipping business. When goods no longer need to be manufactured or transported to their end users who can just print what they need at home – how will this change the transportation industry? And how will printing align with the new sustainability requirements that we just talked about before?

Gig Economy. The most obvious examples of the gig economy on the transportation sector are companies like Lyft and Uber, but other gig companies (like Task Rabbit) could also impact the transportation sector when anyone can become a courier or delivery person at the local level instead of having to wait for a professional to fulfill a request. Are there other transportation jobs that could be “gigged out.”

And those are just a few trends that are shaping the future of transportation. But perhaps most interesting are the financial impacts of these changes – experts predict that “Savings on transportation costs will result in a boost in annual disposable income for U.S. households totaling $1 Trillion by 2030.” To learn more about changes in the transportation sector, download our complimentary infographic on the subject.

By Rob Hoehn

About the author

Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.

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