Intelligent Transport Conference Speaker’s Interview: Dr James Cooper
With the Intelligent Transport Conference fast approaching, we ask one of its speakers James Cooper – Director of Taxi and Transport Research Partners Ltd – what he will be speaking about and what he considers has been the biggest development in the industry’s recent history.
What will your presentation focus on and what can delegates expect to learn from what you have to say?
The presentation will consider the impact of changes to the Vehicle For Hire (VFH) market (taxis, private hire cars and similar), resulting from rapidly changing licensing, competition and operating practices. The VFH market has both been impacted by and impacts upon demand for the more commonly thought of forms of public transport – bus, train, tram – as well as other mobility services; perhaps reducing the need for private cars as well. The presentation assesses the changes and continuing growth of some areas of the VFH market. It is highly unlikely that such developments will cease, or slow in development, but its course and relationships are significant and will be addressed in detail.
What would you say has been the biggest step forward with regard to transport technology for your organisation in the last five years?
Without doubt the development of the smartphone app has impacted route and branch on the VFH industry, and indeed all aspects of transport provision from the taxi, to the way we use private cars. This is as much about the nature of the development as the technological abilities of the app, that will continue to develop and challenge in equal measure.
In your opinion, which public transport organisation(s) is doing the best work to keep abreast of transport developments?
All organisations are facing significant change as a result of the market developments discussed in the preceding answers.
What challenges do you think the public transport sector will face in the future concerning how transport technology is utilised?
The market has moved from being open and transparent to reporting to a far more opaque set of statistics and analysis. This is not new and follows the occurrence of changes in the market that suggest that confidentiality, or market protectionism, may be in the interests of the transport providers. This is both a challenge and a loss. The most significant challenge, in light of an incomplete review of what trips are being made, will be to establish appropriate policies.
Dr. Cooper is Director of Taxi and Transport Research Partners Ltd., a specialist consultancy in the field of For Hire Vehicles, airport ground transport, TNC and accessible transport. He has over 25 years of experience as an academic and applied researcher, and was most recently Professor of Urban Transportation Regulation at the University of Missouri St Louis. His work regularly assesses the roles of new technology companies in the vehicle for hire market, including in cities, rural communities and at airports. He has completed over 100 studies in these areas. His work is international in area, being contracted to head research for the District of Columbia and most recently to provide policy advice in Shanghai, China. He also works locally, and is nearing completion of a project for Glasgow City Council. He the most recent chairman of the Taxi Group at the Transportation Research Board, US National Academies, and has a range of professional, director and board member roles including for the Community Transport Association, the Accessible Transport Forum etc. He continues to engage actively across all areas of for hire transportation.