travel transportation

Travel & transportation

Our services in travel & transportation range from consulting on asset-based strategy development and business process optimization through to implementation support in major change initiatives, management of sustainability, and safety issues. We help our clients to understand and act on key strategic and operational challenges facing the industry to deliver impactful transformation. 


    Our services in travel & transportation range from consulting on asset-based strategy development and business process optimization through to implementation support in major change initiatives, management of sustainability, and safety issues. We operate side by side in our clients' markets and provide in-depth analysis. 

    Our clients cover large segments of the industry: 

    • Leading airports, airlines and aviation authorities around the world
    • Public-transport providers in urban and other areas
    • Government institutions and agencies that regulate, shape, govern and run mobility systems
    • Industry associations that support innovation and change in the sector
    • Railways, logistics providers, including postal organizations
    • Platform providers, integrators, travel and mobility-service providers
    • Technology providers for solutions in the mobility industry

    In particular, we have developed specific proven track records in the following areas: 

    • Supporting the aviation & airport industries in improving cost management and performance
    • Advising leading railway companies in Europe and around the world on performance improvement, innovation and change
    • A leading safety and risk consultant in the industry with a global track record
    • Pioneering in conceptualization of the future of urban mobility, developing the blueprint for new mobility ecosystems and business models

    New sales systems, liberalization, the emergence of new business models, the integration of supply chains and the formation of alliances are currently the key trends to which companies must respond – these changes mean that corporate strategies must be innovative and pragmatic.

    Arthur D. Little specializes in managing the complexity of change and innovation using its deep industry knowledge to guide and support the development of successful strategies.

    Our main services are: 

    Future of Mobility

    Back in 2010 Arthur D. Little launched its Future of Urban Mobility (FUM) lab to support public and private actors in shaping the extended-mobility ecosystems of tomorrow and facilitate an open dialogue between mobility stakeholders.

    The world’s population is concentrating in ever-growing cities. Fifty-two percent of the population currently lives in urban areas, and by 2050 this number is expected to reach 67%.

    Today, more than two-thirds of all travel happens within urban environments, and the volume of kilometers traveled is expected to nearly triple by 2050.

    Meanwhile, mobility needs are evolving all over the world. People’s travel habits are changing, as is the mix of transport modes and services offered to them.

    Moving forward, transport providers will have to satisfy demand for services that are increasingly convenient, fast and predictable. 

    At the same time, consumers are becoming more concerned about the sustainability of their modes of travel and the consequences for health.

    Some are even prepared to sacrifice individual forms of transport in furtherance of that cause, which has led to successful introduction and rapid penetration of new mobility solutions. 

    Arthur D. Little’s FUM lab service offerings include:

    • Assessment of cities’ urban-mobility performances 
    • Development of urban-mobility visions, strategies and roadmaps 
    • Development of urban-mobility ecosystems 
    • A business case for innovative-mobility business models and technology

    Strategy & Business Plans

    We enable our customers to develop and implement strategies that fully address the opportunities provided by a very dynamic and growing mobility market.

    Strategy creates the playbooks needed to make full use of the opportunities evolving in a very dynamic and highly innovative mobility market.

    In times of dramatic industry change, “strategy” defines the way towards “competitive advantage” and shapes the USPs needed for success.

    At Arthur D. Little we have a highly recognized footprint in shaping “ambition-driven strategies”. Working on a sound basis of industry trends that we observe and analyze constantly, we drive formulations of top ambitions and develop courses of action to move ahead effectively.

    How do railway companies cope with the challenge of digitalization?

    How does a player with the ambition of providing integrated mobility services design a viable platform?

    Which innovative technologies should be applied and used?

    An ambition-driven “big picture” is an important starting point.

    Successful strategy builds on this and goes one level further, addressing, for example, customer experience, new commercial offerings, tendering strategies:

    • What is an appropriate view of customer journeys?
    • How do we address customer satisfaction? 
    • How can we approach a customer segment that we have identified as “attractive”?

    With our strategy work we regularly go beyond the “big picture” and support our customers in accomplishing very tangible results.

    Our ambition to “make a difference” is to bring in industry experience, analytical skills, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, and strong leadership skills to drive towards success.

    Branded Customer Experience

    Maximizing customer experience (CEX) is all about creating superior value by turning customers into fans.

    CEX is the concern of every department and every individual within the organization, as many initiatives can impact CEX positively or negatively.

    Arthur D. Little has developed a set of improvement levers which are focused in three clusters:

    1. Core services – basic services such as punctuality and comfort, and additional services such as door-to-door mobility solutions
    2. Value-added services – innovative solutions, for example, integrated mobility or real-time provision of information, as well as commercial offerings such as retail or food & beverage
    3. Customer relations – CRM 2.0, including big-data solutions and cross-channel integration; human interactions, including contact center or external communication, such as promotions and social-media communication

    CEX initiatives should not only focus on “fixing the basics”, but also on securing consistency and creating “wow” effects to exceed expectations at selected touchpoints.

    Decisions to exaggerate or renounce specific initiatives should be driven by customer needs (of selected target segments) and in line with the brand attributes.

    Tendering Strategy and Support

    We provide tendering strategy and support to private traffic and service operators.

    • Arthur D. Little helps leading traffic operators, as well as traffic and travel-service and equipment providers, to plan and complete large tenders and bids responding to those tenders
    • Holistic strategic understanding and leading analysis and strategy development skills are key to setting the right fundamentals in place; this is equally important for the buying tendering party or for the selling party, and in bidding for large traffic tenders or service contracts
    • Arthur D. Little’s travel and transportation experts, who are strong in the above-mentioned strategic planning, are also the ones providing state-of-the-art program and project management capability to our travel and transportation clients
    • This way we help our clients in urban public rail and bus, aviation, infrastructure, etc., to plan and execute some of the largest tenders and bids for concessions crucial to millions of people traveling every day, in order to build sustainable societies and make the future of mobility become reality

    Future of Operations

    Today, leading travel and transportation operators are faced with unprecedented levels of technology-driven change.

    The disruption of long-established business models is forcing companies to fundamentally re-evaluate ways of working and use new Industry 4.0 technologies to enhance revenues, reduce costs and deliver improved customer experiences.

    Yet, to reap the full benefits of potentially game-changing Industry 4.0 technologies – from big data and analytics to the growing use of composite materials to drive fuel and maintenance savings – transport operators are not only required to act quickly.

    In addition, a holistic approach is required, which encompasses all four of the drivers of Arthur D. Little’s High-Performing Business model: strategy, process, capability and organization. 

    The most successful organizations will be those that, through clearly defined future-of-operations visions and strategies, are able to transform concept into reality and apply these technologies in practical ways, to realize tangible improvements to operational performance, unit costs and customer satisfaction.

    Based on a five-step approach, our Future of Operations offering is designed to guide our travel and transportation clients through this process.

    By actively monitoring market trends, we have developed a database of over 500 use cases to help identify relevant applications for Industry 4.0 technologies. 

    Through our collaborative, side-by-side approach, we work closely with our clients to define their future of operations strategies and accompany them on the journey from strategy development through to implementation.

      System Level Improvement

      Arthur D. Little drives and accelerates collaborative improvement programs between key stakeholders of the ecosystem (transport operator – infrastructure operator – traffic control – -third-party service providers) to optimize system-level performance and share induced benefits.

      Transportation nodes are highly sophisticated “connectors” that must seamlessly and efficiently link passengers, luggage, and goods with their vehicles (trains, planes, ships etc.): many stakeholders contribute to delivering this service, with key players being the transport operator, the infrastructure operator, the traffic control authority and critical third-party service providers (ground handlers, etc.).

      Often, connectors are not delivering their full value to their customers because of 2 major pitfalls: i) key stakeholders operate in the same space-time, but with limited operational linkage, and ii) each player has its own strategic and economic rationale that is not aligned with other parties.

      Launching a collaborative performance improvement program is then a bold strategic initiative that enables better design & running of connectors by optimizing performance at system level. Typical Arthur D. Little interventions include:

      • Setting a shared vision & diagnosis to identify performance improvement areas
      • Provide an objective view of implementable actions and benefits
      • Defining the right gain-/risk-sharing scheme
      • Running the PMO at early stages and setting the right governance for continuous implementation

      Value Based Risk Management

      Asset-intensive industries such as transportation are increasingly considered as integrated systems, and in view of the growing complexity, risks originate from a wide range of sources and potentially have far-reaching impact.

      Transport operators and infrastructure managers must increasingly take risks into consideration as additional factors to account for in their decision-making processes and operational management.

      To that effect, an integrated risk management system offers a framework for implementing suitable strategies and is seeing growing recognition for its added value at the strategic level. 

      Conventional enterprise risk management (ERM) is increasingly struggling to do the job and deliver value. We help clients put in place value-based risk management (VBRM), which is all about responding to change and dynamically focusing risk management efforts where they deliver the most value to the business.

      Typical Arthur D. Little interventions include:

      • Performing a risk-culture review to assess the effectiveness of current risk management arrangements and identify the most critical areas of value-added improvements
      • Delivery of strategic risk identification workshops to strengthen CxOs’ ability to anticipate the future and identify both downside risks and upside opportunities
      • Development of tailored risk-culture programs (e.g., engaging the organization through pilot projects for progressive introduction of a collaborative risk culture and empowerment of risk owners) 
      • Designing systems that enable rapid risk-based top-management decision-making

      Capital Projects & Asset Management

      We develop and enforce strategies for asset management to deliver sustained asset performance, cost-effectively:

      • Ensuring physical assets are available to deliver services in a cost-effective and timely fashion in transport results in the need to significantly improve asset performance
      • Increasing capacity due to economic growth and urbanization, replacing high-cost, aging assets, shrinking public sector budgets, and ever-higher customer demands for service quality and reliability are all factors; many organizations can no longer manage assets in the same way, and a radically different approach is needed – we work to address these challenges and establish the right approaches to sustainably manage the future asset base.
      • We help to develop optimized, holistic asset management strategies based on future demand and available finances, and devise organization models to deliver them
      • We can evaluate the needs of enhanced asset information, the definition of whole-life costing approaches, value management and value engineering, and supply chain innovation, and push towards more predictive maintenance

      Safety Management Effectiveness

      We work with our clients to develop world-class safety management and assurance in their businesses, to strengthen confidence and improve business performance.

      Our offering includes:

      • Independent and impartial review of your current safety leadership, management, assurance & governance
      • Culture change and transformation, including benchmarking cross sector against world class
      • Validation of change and new-business assurance
      • Developing priorities based on risk profiling of your business
      • Our offering helps our clients to achieve:
      • Strengthened executive and board confidence that safety risks are well controlled
      • Reduced losses from operational incidents and accidents
      • Strengthened competitiveness in new markets
      • Strengthened regulator confidence
      • Developed best-practice approaches in risk and assurance that fit their culture
      • Targeted priority improvements in operational and safety performance 

      Strategic Competence Management

      We support clients in enabling optimal resource availability and capability to cope with relevant skill requirements.

      We help companies define the appropriate answers to strategic issues related to competence management:

      • Which critical competences need to be mastered now and in the future to sustain (or create) the competitive advantage required to support the realization of the corporate strategy?
      • What are the suitable development strategies for those competences?
      • How to prevent knowledge leakage in the short/mid term in the context of massive retirement? 
      • What are the most appropriate organizational and operational initiatives, processes and tools to ensure proper capture/acquisition, codification, sharing, maintenance and development of critical knowledge?
      • How to adapt the company culture toward a learning organization?
      • Which adaptations are necessary for HR management to respond to future skills requirements?

      Organization Effectiveness & Efficiency

      We help our clients to optimize current set-ups, ensuring lean structures that fulfill industry requirements and customer demands.

      Changing industry ecosystems in the travel & transportation arena due to (digital) innovations, price pressure and increasing customer demands require rethinking the organizational set-ups and steering mechanisms of market players.

      Corporate structures cannot be derived anymore from defined long-term corporate strategies, but instead need to allow for short-term adaptations due to strategic/tactical business changes.

      For many companies in the travel & transportation sector, this organizational agility needs to be combined with a scale-driven business model that requires stable structures to ensure operational efficiency.

      Ensuring the soundness of the organizational setup is a clear source for competitive advantage!  

      Through its long track record of projects in this field,  Arthur D. Little has developed a framework to translate business requirements into sound corporate set-ups.

      With this framework Arthur D. Little adopts a more comprehensive understanding of a corporate set-up consisting of the six dimensions: structure, process, steering, people, culture and transformation. 

      Our experience shows that addressing the organizational root causes of inappropriate set-ups instead of symptoms requires looking into more than just one of the above-mentioned dimensions.

      Our offering ranges from a “quick assessment” over a “to-be design” to an “end-to-end organizational transformation”, allowing us to account for client specifics and respective priorities.

      With our experienced team, we ensure tangible results in every phase of the organizational transformation and ensure achievement of transformation goals following a “side-by-side” approach.


        Value IT

        We help clients to boost their IT to the next level and make it a key asset.

        In order to manage the transformation from a perceived non-differentiating inhibitor to a true business innovation partner, fundamental groundwork is indispensable for the IT department.

        This is particularly relevant for companies in transportation industries due to the high relevance of internationalization and digitalization.

        Arthur D. Little’s value IT solution comprises three elements to boost the performance of IT holistically.

        • An IT strategy in form of an IT masterplan is fundamental. It includes critical elements such as business IT interface, applications, data, and technologies, as well as the IT portfolio, IT operating model and IT resources; in addition, it serves as a platform for identifying cross-divisional synergies in the IT department
        • On this basis, governance sets the organizational structure within the IT community; this includes roles, responsibilities, steering mechanisms and other governance-related questions, such as the depth of the demand-supply relationship, i.e., make-or-buy
        • The third element is optimization of the existing application, technology and data landscape – the clear focus is on quality and speed. It is obvious that this often goes hand-in-hand with cost-cutting

        Strategic Procurement Optimization

        We help our clients to establish a sound basis for excellent performance and competitive cost.

        The provision of mobility services requires a solid and reliable asset base and a wide range of services and management functions. Procurement plays a key role in this value chain. 

        Over the last years we have helped our clients in the airline, airport, railway and logistics sectors to reinvent or overhaul their procurement practices.

        Based on years of industry and cross-industry experience we have developed a sound approach to “Sourcing and Procurement”, which covers the modules “Diagnosis”, “Strategic Sourcing and Transformation”, “High-Impact Purchasing”, “Sourcing and Capability Building” and “Supplier Management Improvement”.

        Producing quick wins and medium- and long-term, tangible results is our key ambition. 

        We work closely with top management and staff in dedicated teams. “Under the hood” of our sourcing and procurement solution is a set of 40 levers in the categories, “Competition Levers” (using purchasing power in the market), “Volume Bundling” (using in-house opportunities to concentrate and leverage), “Demand levers” and “Value Chain levers”. The appropriate mix of lever applications is hand tailored.

        We have a proven track record of immediate and impressive improvement.

        But our ambition goes further towards sustainable change. Arthur D. Little is one of the few top management-consulting firms with very experienced senior consultants who are procurement experts and excellent trainers and coaches at the same time.