Gatwick: The Future of Surface Access
Earlier in the year Gatwick Airport Ltd, in collaboration with Arup’s Foresight group, hosted a half day’s conference bringing together key stakeholders across the transport sector to focus on the future of surface access to the year 2030. The event focussed on a user-centric approach to surface access provision with the customer at its core. The objective of the event was to make a start at identifying future best practice for four principal transport modes: car (including car rental), bus, coach and rail.
The morning started with a series of presentations followed by a Q&A. The three presentations raised a number of fascinating ideas around the long-term drivers of change and user-centric design. Of the drivers presented by Duncan Wilson, who leads Arup Foresight in the UK, the most pertinent in the context of surface access include location awareness and self-surveillance. The availability of location-aware information is certain to lead to a raft of new, highly personalised and contextualised customer services. This has increased the complexity of what is available to users and opens the door for new service offerings. Consider a future where mobile technology can communicate a motorist’s delay and receive from Gatwick a notification giving the driver instructions as to where to locate a valet attendant for a fast-track emergency drop-off, with directions to least congested check-in counter. The trend towards collaborative consumption may also be highly impactful for surface transport, particularly car ownership. Car clubs may just be the start of a move away from personal ownership and more demand responsive services.
Ben Reason, Director at Live|Work, then introduced the concept of a user-centric approach to the design of services, requiring that providers look at the whole lifecycle of a user’s behaviour or experience in order to look for opportunities for improvement or innovation.
Anand Vengurlekar from the Danish consultancy Stoic then presented some thought-provoking views on the consumer journey. He reminded delegates that in the age of Twitter and the micro blog, it just takes one person to have a bad experience for it to be broadcast to an online audience of many thousands. He then challenged the audience to find new, creative ways to genuinely differentiate a branded service.
A workshop exercise was then undertaken by four break-out groups, looking at the future of surface access over the next two decades. We used fictional future characters or personas to help delegates imagine a possible journey in 2030, and to identify what needs and desires a typical passenger may have.
The ideas generated by the event will help to shape a transformational Gatwick Airport surface access strategy, to be launched later this year.