The ability to be mobile and travel has always been an essential part of a social society, that allows humans to make and retain vital connections with people and places. Over the last 30 years that cars have dominated the market, car use has grown by 250%. It is estimated that there will be more than two billion cars globally by 2030. With this dramatic rise in car ownership, society began to restructure to accommodate the private car. Roads widened, motorways were built and shopping and service centres surrounded themselves with parking lots. These changes resulted in public transportation needs taking a backseat.
Society today has become more aware of how the last decade has resulted in unequal distribution of transportation needs and services between social groups and within different geographical areas. In particular, people that do not have the means to own a car, access to a car or the ability to drive a car.
Socially Inclusive Shared Transportation Services
Requirements For Socially Inclusive Transportation
Subsequently, in order for transportation systems to be more accessible and inclusive for all members of society, these requirements must be met:
- AVAILABILITY OF TRANSPORTATION: People must have good access to public transportation in all areas, as well as carsharing, bikesharing and ridehailing services as a solution for the last mile.
- INCLUSIVE DESIGN OF SERVICES: To ensure that shared transportation options such a car/bike sharing and on demand ridehailing services are available to people who have limited access to the internet or credit cards. This also includes reducing any physical barriers that may prevent anyone with a disability using these services.
- AFFORDABLE TRANSIT: Through reduced fares and subsidized memberships, this will ensure everyone has ability to use public transportation and shared mobility services.
CURRENT INCLUSIVE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES
With rideshare giants Uber and Lyft dominating the market, both companies are expanding their user base by adding their takes on traditional carpooling, but with rideshare twist. Uber Pool and Lyft Line have announced that their new service will reduce costs of commuting dramatically. Uber Pool costs 40 percent less than a solo UberX ride; Lyft is promising “up to 60 percent” off the original cost.
Since acquiring Motivate, which runs Citi Bike in New York and Ford’s GoBike program in San Francisco, Lyft is also adding incentives and discounts to their bike and scooter-share services, with the goal to get more people to abandon cars for shared mobility options. Lowering the cost will make these services more accessible to all members of the public.
Chariot is a self-sustainable, mass-transit shuttle service that started in San Francisco and is now available in cities such as, Seattle, Chicago, London and many more. The benefits of a shared service like chariot is that they offer alternative methods of payment such as, pay as you go, a purchase up front pass and they accept all forms of commuter benefits, including WageWorks, Commuter Check and many more.
Another service available in certain cities is UberWAV. Riders who use motorized wheelchairs or scooters can request a ride in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV). The price of an uberWAV ride is comparable to uberX and all drivers have completed a certification course offered by a third party to help you enter and exit the vehicle. Services like UberWAV ensure shared transportation services are now available to members of society that have limited physical abilities.
Services For Vulnerable Members of Society
Rideshare services such as San Francisco based, Silver Ride, and Washington based DART (Dial-A-Ride-Transportation) are companies dedicated to the travel needs of the elderly or for people whose disability or health conditions prevent them from using regular fixed-route bus services. The are door-through-door assisted services, with professionally trained drivers that have wheelchair equipped vehicles.
There are also shared transportation services today available children. Kidcar, in New York, introduced an app in 2016 that allows parents to make on-demand and advance reservations for their children’s travel requirements, with vetted and trained drivers. This service is particularly beneficial for parents who have demanding jobs or perhaps families that do not own a car.
Another kid’s service is Zum, What perhaps gives this service an edge, is its self-learning algorithm that pairs drivers with families based on their compatibility. Drivers can be linked with kids depending on their interests and personalities.
Cities around the world are consistently expanding and improving their public-transportation networks. Advancements in Autonomous driving technology will hopefully reduce the cost of transportation and expand access to mobility for all incomes and all areas geographically.
With more than two-thirds of the population estimated to be living in cities by 2050, infrastructure upgrades that favour public and shared transit options, such as scooters and bikes needs to be improved. What are your thoughts on socially inclusive public transportation, and how can this be improved? Connect with us here for more information or to send us your insights.