Securing the future of the business beyond COVID-19

Prior to the COVID-19 crisis rail and transit services were already functioning under high disruption—with legacy infrastructure and assets, congested hubs and outdated technology. Now operators must also cope with falling ridership and revenue, workforce shortage and safety issues and additional operating costs.

Rail and transit business continuity is essential for the movement of health, medical and other essential personnel—but it is also a potential vector for the spread of the disease.

Act now, prepare for next.

Most crisis events for business are short, sharp shocks—over in days. But COVID-19 is a long-term challenge, and immediate actions must also lay the foundations for long-term survival.

What to do no now

Operators have three major impact areas to tackle now and next:

Business continuity—what to do now

  • Develop a taskforce to oversee all COVID-19 plans across the organization
  • Redirect resources and reduce operations
  • Work with regulatory bodies

Workforce & customer safety—what to do now

  • Prioritize worker and facility safety
  • Increase use of robotics and automation
  • Communicate new protocols and policies

Operations—what to do now

  • Leverage data analysis
  • Identify operational efficiencies
  • Offer alternative mobility solutions

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As economies emerge from the pandemic, operators must adapt practices to build customer and employee confidence while improving emergency measures to support business continuity and to build resiliency in operations.

What to do next

There will be no “return to normal” following the COVID-19 crisis. New behaviors will emerge; it’s possible many people will wish to continue working from home, creating a very different operational environment for rail and transit.

Operators must consider new partnerships and a full, organization-wide digital transformation in preparation to outmaneuver uncertainty.

Business continuity—what to do next

  • Collaborate and build partnerships
  • Push for digital transformation
  • Continuous learning and improvement

Workforce & customer safety—what to do next

  • Focus on higher automation (human+machine approach)
  • Focus on digital customer experience
  • Integrate communications strategy with technology

Operations—what to do next

  • Build a “digital backbone” for the mobility ecosystem to make journey planning easier
  • Collaborate with government
  • Invest in automation and design

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What’s on the horizon? The future of rail and transit services

When the crisis abates, rail and transit operators will have to make major investments to ensure workforce safety and customer confidence.

Operators who start to plan now will emerge best placed to build (and own) a digital backbone for the mobility ecosystem that enables all players to work together. And they will lead in providing smooth, flexible and data-based customer-centered journeys across different modes of transportation.

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