Urban and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) represents a highly-diversified infrastructure and technological subsectors with many facets and has many interrelationships with the main sectors of transportation infrastructure that we cover. The following provides a high-level summary of some of the present and emerging technologies relevant in the ITS sector that we cover:
Urban Bus and Road Vehicle Fleets. Every city has a "fleet" of diverse vehicles, which includes both publicly-owned and privately-owned buses, shuttles, vans, automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, scooters and bicycles. In many cases, bus fleets are owned and operated by public authorities or owned by private companies and operated under contract by private operators. The vast majority of of other types of vehicle are typically privately owned and operated. Urban taxi services are generally regulated private enterprises. Globally, with the growing popularity of "car-sharing" and short-term car leasing, such as Uber, Lyft, Bolt, ZipCar, Car2Go, Drivenow, Turo, Drivy, Cambio, Getaround and Ubeeqo, there is an increasing number of privately-owned vehicles in most urban fleets (including automobiles, vans, trucks, commercial vehicles, bicycles and scooters) available for short-term use, which generally results in more efficient utilization of the urban vehicle fleet. The challenge for most government transportation system planners and managers is to think of this vast vehicle fleet as a whole and not in "silos". Too often public transportation planners and agencies think in only in terms of their "bus system silos", their "rail system silos", etc. This is really missing the bigger picture. The role of public transportation agencies should be to provide the public with the best overall level of integrated transportation services, including rail and bus services integrated with private vehicle fleets, taxi services, vehicle sharing and short-term vehicle rental services (which thereby is aimed at increasing customer service, customer convenience and ultimately better utilization of public transport services). Emerging technologies exist which can provide seamless multi-modal routing (and single fare payment) services between all these modes of transport, which can allow for individuals to easily, comfortably and dynamically access these modes. DCS advisors are experts in assisting public transportation agencies and planners in integrating such vast systems and accessing emerging new technologies.
DCS experts assist our public and private sector bus and shuttle owner and operations clients in managing the operational and maintenance activities related to their existing bus fleets and networks and efficiently utilize "best-value" procurement principles in procuring additional and/or replacement buses, equipment and services. We also assist our clients in evaluating, planning, financing, developing, constructing, operating and managing new bus networks, "bus rapid transit" facilities, electrified bus traction systems, bus shelters, bus arrival information systems, fare collection systems, bus maintenance facilities and bus dispatching and system control facilities. We are also experienced in applying public-private partnerships to bus operations and maintenance, systems and bus infrastructure.
Urban Bicycle and Pedestrian Ways. Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is an important part of urban infrastructure. While providing extensive, safe and accessible bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is part of many urban planner's objectives on the basis of public health and environmental motivations, there is increasingly viewed to be transportation system efficiency motivation to providing greater quality and capacity of urban bicycle and pedestrian ways. One aspect is that bicycle lanes are increasingly being used for commercial activities, with the growth in bicycle courier/runner, food delivery, online commerce home deliveries, e-bicycles and e-tricycles (which are generally approved to access bicycle lanes) are beginning to be used for transport by postal, parcel/package deliveries. Another aspect, is that many cities are simply becoming more walkable and more bikeable as urban development become less automobile-oriented and has returned to pedestrian-accessible uses. In many more private residential building and public buildings there are also bicycle storage lockers and bicycle and scooter sharing and rental services emerging.
DCS experts can assist public and private sector stakeholders, in effort to plan, develop, construct, financing, operate and maintain bicycle and pedestrian paths, networks, and related infrastructure, including bicycle parking and storage facilities, e-bike charging networks and bicycle repair stations. Given the emerging technologies with respect to multi-leg/multi-modal trip planning including bicycle and/or scooter sharing/rentals, as well as commercial uses of bicycle infrastructure, we believe that this is an area very ripe for public-private partnerships.
Urban Street Lighting and Signalization. Urban street lighting and signalization systems which use technologies only a decade old can be significantly less efficient and more costly to maintain than modern state-of-the-art LED technologies. In addition, some cities are also evaluating or pursuing the installation solar PV panels on street and signal lamp poles. In many cases these infrastructure renewal, energy savings and energy renewal programs can offer short pay-back periods. These projects can be pursued and financed by municipal entities, but they are also ideally suited projects to pursue as public-private partnerships, which can involve up-front financing, installation and long-term servicing and maintenance elements (and achieve a fixed savings relative to current expenditures). DCS experts assist our public-sector clients or private sector streetlighting and signalization equipment vendor clients in evaluate the potential benefits related to these systems.
Urban Multimodal Transportation Technologies. In this segment, there are many exciting existing and emerging technologies related to how people access and interact with regional urban transportation modes on an everyday basis. For example, it is possible to offer mobile applications that provide complete multimodal trip route planning combined with single fare integration using a variety of different transportation modes provided by a number of different participating private and/or public service providers. Implementation of these technological solutions may also include a regional partnership between rail, bus and tram system operations, on-street and off-street parking/park-n-ride providers (including navigation to available parking), car-sharing and taxi companies, bicycle and scooter rental networks, tollway operations, fuel and E-charging stations (including navigation and pricing) and pedestrian wayfinding. Generally, the more simplistic it becomes for users of these applications to conveniently navigate and pay fares over multi-modal trips and efficiently and cost-effectively reach their destinations, the more regularly travelers will use alternatives to single-mode travel such as automobile travel. In situations where these applications can be implemented, the opportunities for additional revenue generating "public-private partnerships" is tremendous. Possibilities include integration with payment providers (FinTech); precision-targeted advertising; B2B, B2C and C2C delivery partnership and entrepreneurial start-up opportunities. In many cases, these applications would be most effectively implemented through a coordinated regional "public-private partnership" approach.
There are many other opportunities with respect to ITS applications available in urban regions. For example, demand-based, "congestion pricing", time-of-day vehicle variable tolling technologies and systems are widely available. Variable tolling technologies are generally aimed at reducing congestion by reducing roadway demand (by increasing the price of automobile travel during periods where road network demand would otherwise exceed the available supply of roadway lanes and/or parking facilities) and offering an enhanced service in the form of congestion-free travel and parking availability in exchange for payment of a market-based fee. There are many other technological strategies available in areas where policymakers wish to introduce regional "congestion-pricing" strategies in order to regulate congestion and reduce air pollution. Some metropolitan regions such as London and Stockholm have extended congestion pricing regimes to charge tolls on all vehicular entry into urban zones during certain peak-demand hours of the day. Other cities, such as San Francisco have experimented with variable, time-of-day pricing for their on-street and city-owned parking facilities. Parking tax, permit fee and parking restriction (durations and vehicle types) structures in urban areas can also be adjusted to align with public policies toward regional congestion reduction, "right-sizing" parking supply and modifying human transport consumer behaviors.
Also in the urban sector, there are also ITS technologies available to private and public public-goods providers who have vehicle fleets (of cars, trucks, bicycles) operating on the roadways. This category includes solid waste disposal service providers, postal and delivery companies. For example, ITS solutions can be applied to assist solid waste companies to dynamically determine their rubbish pick-up routing to only service rubbish bins that are near-full or otherwise pick-up is requested. Application of these technologies and policies, combined with a regional volume- and/or weight-based rubbish pricing regime, can lead to benefits such as significant savings in fleet fuel consumption and labor costs, reduction of congestion, improvement of air-quality and reduction in the amounts of solid-waste generation, savings to residents in terms of taxes and rubbish removal fees and enhanced corporate profits for solid waste disposal companies. Similarly, in terms of the local "last mile" postal and parcel, goods and food delivery fleet operators, there are many opportunities for postal service providers and delivery companies to integrate their fleets and services, within the existing multi-modal transportation network through ITS technologies. Through innovative public and private partnerships and ITS technological applications, there are many opportunities for postal and delivery operators to enhance their operations by utilizing the full available infrastructure and potential human capacities of the regional multi-modal network (including rail/metro/tram/bus/road/waterway/bicycle/pedestrian networks, partnered carriers, auto/van/bicycle/scooter-sharing networks.
ITS technologies in the road sector. In the roads sector, there are many ITS technological alternatives available for "open road" or "barrier-free" tolling and vignette systems. Speed and red light sensors are also readily widely available to government agencies. There are also many technological alternatives available which provide weight/distance transponders which may be required for registered commercial truck/lorry operators. Demand-based, "congestion pricing", time-of-day toll lane technologies are also widely available, as previously discussed above. Roadway ITS systems integrated with mobile navigation systems can also notify motorists of traffic congestions, construction zones, accidents and road closures which can allow re-routing via alternative routes. Such integrated navigation technologies can also serve to notify motorists of the location, distance to and comparative pricing of fuel stations, e-charging stations, service plazas, restaurants, etc.
ITS technologies in the rail sector. Technological solutions such as Positive Train Control (PTC) systems are widely used in the rail sector, which has significantly improved safety and operational efficiencies (possible safe train headways and movements) for modern railway networks and for train operators. Integrated regional route-planning and single-fare strategies (as discussed above) are also a possibility for passenger and commuter rail operators and regional metro (subway), bus and tram system providers. In some cases, such as near ports, it may make sense for public and/or private freight rail operators to develop and finance required railway infrastructure through "public-private partnerships". Public-private partnerships can be formulated to develop additional, improved and/or enhanced railway lines and facilities, tunnels, bridges, grade separations and signalization systems. In such situations, ITS solutions can also be used to charge tolls to the freight rail operators of the "tolled" segments of the rail network. In this case, systems of railway sensors and transponders can be used to charge tolls based on each twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU), weight/distance, train length or other pricing regime. Revenue from the railway tolls then be applied to the repayment the capital costs of the railway improvements, which may be financed through debt and equity investments. In many cases, these "public-private partnerships" can demonstrate significant positive public externalities and benefits, including reduced regional road, rail and port congestion, reduced air pollution and noise emissions, and economic development opportunities. Such public-sector benefits may warrant significant public sector investment in these projects as well. As an example, in the United States, the Alameda Corridor in Southern Los Angeles, which serves the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, and the "Chicago Regional Environmental and Transportation Expansion" ("CREATE") project are each examples of rail-sector regional public private partnerships. In both case significant applications of railway ITS technologies are key components of these projects. There are also significant opportunities for the integration of rail, port and road ITS integration in urban regions around port and intermodal facilities.
ITS technologies in the ports sector. Ports (and in particular, large international seaports) inherently function as multi-modal transportation hubs, where the transshipment and forwarding of arriving and departing containerized, bulk or liquid maritime, inland waterway, rail, truck, pipeline and sometime air cargos are handled and processed. The port's tenants are generally profit-driven shipping, transport and logistics companies operating in a highly-competitive global market. Therefore, time- and cost-efficient handling of cargos in ports has direct implications for port's tenants. Many ports are already facing fierce competition from other regional port operators, who are vying for the business of competing shipping and logistics companies. In this environment, it is critical for ports to adapt innovative new technological solutions to help optimize the efficiency of port operations and drive down costs that are paid by the port's tenants. Investments in technologies such as new generation container scanning technologies, drones, artificial intelligence (AI), 5G networks, block-chain logistics systems, Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Internet-of-Vehicles (IoV), and combined with integration of the on-vessel, in-vehicle and in-container global positioning system (GPS) transponders and sensors, even despite environments of heightened port security requirements, port operators have unprecedented new capabilities to improve cargo through-put, reduce cargo security and customs clearance time frames and enhance port logistical operations. Applications of these new technologies can significantly reduce port labor and operational costs, improve the competitiveness of the port and improve the "bottom-line" profits of the port and the port tenants alike.
ITS technologies and related technologies in the airports sector. While an obvious application of ITS solution in the airport sector is with respect to the airside and air-traffic control (ATC) systems. This is an area of ITS technology that continues to make strides in allowing some of the worlds busiest airports to safely increase landing and departing frequencies and volumes. Technological developments in ATC technological innovations improve the airport's return on its airside infrastructure assets an investments. ARC technology and innovation is a highly-specialized category of ITS technology that our airport sector experts cover. However, since these technologies deserve a very technical and situation-specific discussion, we will not attempt to provide an in-depth overview of all the potential opportunities in the realm of ATC technological opportunities. Please contact our experts for a more thorough discussion in this area.
Aside from the airside ATC opportunities at airports, there is a tremendous array of potential innovative ITS solutions available to airport managers with respect to their landside operations. Like marine ports, modern airports have become or are becoming "multi-modal" transportation hubs for both the movement of people and goods. Many airports are served by roadway, parking, railway (in some cases a dedicated airport rail/metro/light rail line providing direct access to the regions commercial, tourism and residential centers), taxi, car sharing and other transportation modes. Airports that have significant cargo operations may be served by dedicated truck, rail, port, logistics/warehousing infrastructure). Moreover, many airports also serve as significant hubs for retail shopping, dining, entertainment, hotels and resorts, and business meeting locations. The concept of building and/or expanding airports as a regional "aerotropolis", whereby significant mixed-use commercial, office, industrial and residential uses which can take advantage of airport proximity has become an increasingly popular concept. All of this underscores the challenges and opportunities of airport managers in their effort to manage their airport facilities, when these facilities encompass an increasingly broad range of uses and functions.
There are sets of common objectives, where airport managers can apply ITS technological solutions. A continual challenge of airport managers (which can positively or negatively impact all the above uses) is to ensure large numbers of people can safely, efficiently, conveniently and comfortably access the airport facilities. First, in terms of airport access, to the extent that the airport can integrate its accessibility into the regional multi-modal transportation network (road, parking rail, bus. metro, taxi, car-sharing networks) and the related ITS solutions solutions are applied (as described above), a greater number of potential travelers will have a greater number of convenient and affordable options to access air travel. Secondly, in terms of ticketing, baggage checking, passport and security clearance, these are all areas where ITS technological solutions (in many cases, in partnership with airline tenants) can be applied in order to decrease waiting lines and wait times. increases throughput, handling efficiencies at airports. In 2020, with respect to the global COVID-19 pandemic (and perhaps lasting implications) airports and air travel is extremely susceptible to passenger health concerns in addition to government imposed international travel restrictions. There are emerging technological solutions that can allow travelers convenient, safe and efficient access to mandatory and voluntary COVID testing at airport, optimizing operations that conform to social distancing standards in queues, provision of facilities cleaning and sanitization data, airport meal catering, shopping concierge services, etc. Application of ITS and related technological enhancements can have a drastic impact on the potential traveler's access to airport and the quality of experience (and health and safety) while using airport facilities. Particularly in the current COVID environment, access and quality of experience at airports can determine whether a traveler chooses to use air travel of not. In many ways, for business people, 2020 has been an "experiment" on the efficacy of conducting business through virtual meetings. It is impossible to judge at this point whether there will be a longer-term impact on business air travel due to this "experiment" (e.g. whether more companies and business travels will opt for less in-person meetings in situations where virtual meetings may suffice). In an their already struggling industries, this open question also puts additional pressure on airport managers and airlines alike, to find innovative new ways to lure business and leisure travelers back to air travel and airports.
DCS experts in the various transportation segments are all keenly aware of the existing and emerging ITS opportunities in each of the above categories. We recognize that these technologies must be considered by all stakeholders involved in the development and operation of transportation infrastructure projects and assets. These ITS technologies are becoming far too important and mainstream to consider as an afterthought, in terms of how system users interact with transportation networks. Under our advisory approach, we aim to assist our clients in understanding the bewildering array of ITS solutions and possibilities, that can be applied to enhance the operations, efficiencies, competitiveness and viability transportation infrastructure assets and systems that they own, develop and manage.
Supplementing our own extensive skill sets, DCS experts also maintain relationships with related urban transportation and ITS sector project external consultants and participants including: both international and local legal advisors; technical, engineering and environmental/social advisors, economic/market consultants; contractors, vendors and technology providers; strategic and financial equity sponsors; lenders (including commercial lenders, international/development financial institutions (IFIs/DFIs), Export Credit Agencies and Export-Import Banks (ECA/Ex-IMs), institutional investors, bond funds and investment banks) and credit rating agencies (if applicable). We are always prepared and highly experienced in taking on a lead transaction advisory or project/program management role where we coordinate and manage (in many cases, procure and retain via subcontract) various technical, legal, commercial, tax and other consultants required for the project. On behalf of our clients we are also prepared and accustomed to leading and concluding negotiations with diverse stakeholders including property owners, real estate developers, governmental/public sector entities or equity sponsors/concessionaires, developers, investors, contractors and venders, lenders, rating agencies, as may be relevant for a given project.
In most client cases, there may also be a significant nexus between urban transportation/ITS infrastructure facilities and other relevant sectors that we specialize in, such as technology (streetlighting and signalization technologies, congestion pricing systems, commercial vehicle tolling systems, payments systems, e-charging networks), transportation (interconnected multimodal networks: parking facilities, roads, rail, buses, airports; pedestrian & bikeways); telecommunications (communications towers, fiber optic networks), real estate (commercial, retail, residential and mixed-use); energy & utilities (solar, wind and kinetic energy renewable energy installations); oil & gas (fleet fuel supply); E&C (contractors) and heavy industries (heavy equipment, automotive industries and commodities suppliers); and others, as relevant. We are prepared to bring our complementary expertise in these other sectors to our urban transportation and ITS sector clients, as their specific project or transaction may benefit. There may be many collaborative partnership opportunities between diverse companies and public and private service providers, who may also have synergistic objectives and opportunities related to urban transport and ITS infrastructure assets and systems. We can help our clients expand the horizons of their project and analyze and understand synergistic economic and commercial impacts related to parking infrastructure assets and services. This will also help forge potential new innovative partnerships with both private and public sector parties, where significant added-value can be realized.
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DCS focuses on providing the above services in the urban transport and ITS infrastructure segment to the following categories of clients:
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