What role might connected vehicles play in a mobility concept of the future?
Rikesh Shah: The level of data generated by cars goes beyond safety. So, it could be around wayfinding information. How do you take the driver from A to B as quickly and safely and reliably in the most green manner possible? What’s the level of optimisation when you are making a trip from A to B? Anyway, that would need other data than we use today and likely also further driver consent.
An exciting job: bringing magicians together
A lot of interesting projects to explore in TfL’s innovation hub.
Rikesh Shah: Absolutely. And we can’t do it alone, we are dependent on partnerships and the willingness of the drivers to share the data. The magicians are the innovators. Our job is to curate and bring some of those great ideas together and let the geniuses, the innovators, come up with good solutions. Because any innovation is about saving real-life problems. It’s also important for me to say that it’s owing to the brilliant creativity and minds of people – suppliers, academia, TfL colleagues including my team and others – working in the Innovation Hub enables us to try new concepts.
What is a real-life problem that you personally like to solve in any case?
Rikesh Shah: I'm a born and bred Londoner, and my children are growing up here. The London that I remember from 40 years ago was quite different to what it is now. Put away the nostalgic view, I want my kids to grow up where the air that they breathe in doesn't create disbenefits for them from a health point of view. I want them to move around safely and keep fit and really enjoy what London has to offer.
How does your personal mobility mix look like?
Rikesh Shah: We have just recently moved houses to somewhere that we have a park across the road. As a family, a bunch of novice cyclists, we are going through the park now, which is good. Walking and jogging is something I do regularly, particularly as I’m working from home. I don’t get enough opportunity to do exercise. And I do use my wife’s car for trips where genuinely public transport cannot be used. So, as the pandemic meant many of us, including myself, had to work from home I found that I missed my trip on the Jubilee Line. Believe it or not, I missed my local bus trips that I was doing, and that will continue as soon as we come out the next current phase of working from home. So, I am a true multi-modaler.
Are you close to the 80 percent vision of your mayor?
Rikesh Shah: I need to check my pedometer (laughs). I would say, I’m certainly close to it. I will probably use the car for half an hour a day to pick up one of my sons from school. So, yes, it is about 80 to 20 for me. And it’s easy, too. You know, for London, you are normally no more than 400 yards away from a TfL service.
Thank you for the interview.