In 2019 so far, it has been exciting to see multi-modal shared mobility become more integrated into cities and the day-to-day lives of urban dwellers. However as these systems become better integrated and accepted, cities now expect more data from operators and service providers. Shared mobility operations have started to expand in size and scope – we can see this through the increase in mobility partnerships happening within the industry this year. One example being the joint venture between BMW and Daimler or more recently, Ford and Volkswagen, who are creating on electric and autonomous vehicles together.
Throughout the rest of 2019 and into 2020, we will continue to see shared mobility grow at a face pace, offering new and innovative solutions to the mobility problems we face today. This article will look at some of the new trends and technologies that will be taking over the industry moving into 2020. The shared mobility industry is ever evolving and grows and develops at such an accelerated rate that it is impossible to know what new innovations we will see in the shared mobility space over the next five to ten years. We can, however, see what exciting direction the industry we will be taking, just over the horizon and into 2020.
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What Will Shared Mobility Look Like In 2020?
1. maas & DATA SHARING
As more and more new mobility services become available throughout cities across the globe, the impact and influence these platforms and services have on each town/city needs to be tracked and daily commuter behaviours needs to be measured. This data will inform the mobility companies and local city governments how to improve current services and how to structure the city for the future.
“Data sharing is, I feel one of the most important elements of mobility. If you can’t tell the traveller in real time the conditions that are happening within the trip that they’ve planned, then it’s going to significantly disrupt their trip any may actually lead to changes in travel behavior, because they are not being given all the correct information at the right time”. – Carol Schweiger, Women in Shared Mobility Series.
Internationally, cities are recognizing the need to share data and are requesting data from shared mobility services and vice versa. Policymakers need access to better data that will help to develop more informed policies and plans that will allow us, the public, to maximize the benefits of these services, while reducing the potential issues or problems. With data, cities can measure progress towards public goals such as reducing congestion, expanding equitable access to transportation, and improving safety.
“You need the cooperation of so many to make something happen. There is a city, the council, the mayor, transportation officials, investment, there are citizens to consider and policy to consider. No city is the same, no state is the same and no country is the same.” – Marcy Klevorn, Women in Shared Mobility Series.
The are, however, still many issue with data sharing, for example, how will it be managed? Who will manage it? Should it be mobility operators or perhaps a third party? How will the issue of privacy or intellectual property be addressed? In an article on 2019 shared mobility by Amanda Lam, Marketing Manager at INVERS, she claims that although many mobility operators ‘view data sharing as additional workload… it provides a win-win situation.’ We couldn’t agree more.
If there was a shared and extensive understanding of all mobility data, cities could create data driven policies that could increase the growth of shared mobility services. There is also the potential for mobility providers to identify otherwise missed opportunities by sharing data, such as offering a neighbourhood-focused carsharing systems or strategically placing scooters in dense areas that reflect customer usage etc.
In Translink’s recent Future of Mobility Speaker series in Vancouver, Translink CEO, Kevin Desmond spoke of private mobility companies working together and sharing user driven data with each other and public transit services and how it will “strengthen collaboration… to maximize the benefits of mobility as a service.”
“I think there is a contention between regulators and companies where really there shouldn’t be because we all have the shared goal of moving people; as many people as we can, as efficiently as we can and as affordably as we can.” – Haley Rubinson, Women in Shared Mobility Series.
Some examples of how mobility data is currently being shared include:
Populus – A platform that allows cities to manage the future of mobility. Populus’ advanced analytics software integrates live data feeds from multiple operators in a user-friendly platform to help cities monitor shared mobility services, including bikes, scooters, and vehicles. Using the platform cities can log into a single dashboard to access real-team traffic and mobility insights which will drive future policy and planning decisions.
SharedStreets is another platform whose main goal is to create build open source software, digital infrastructure, and governance frameworks to enable public-private collaboration and the seamless exchange of transport data. SharedStreets is project of the Open Transport Partnership, a nonprofit organization and provides seamless data exchange to improve the information we receive from maps.
The Transportation Data Collaborative (TDC) is another initiative by the University of Washington, created to protect and link the data repository of sensitive information from public and private transportation providers. The University of Washington is now the data clearing house for all of Seattle’s transportation data.
EXAMPLES OF MASS SYSTEMS
There are examples of cities that have MaaS and data sharing in currently in operation, although each system follows a different modal. At Translink’s Future of Mobility Speaker series, keynote speaker and transportation write, David Zipper addressed the pros and cons for each of these MaaS system. A “walled garden”
In Denver, users of Ubers app can purchase a ticket for public transportation. Uber is trying to expand their platform to become ‘The Amazon of Urban Mobility.’ However, with private operators such as Uber controlling the flow of movement, the likelihood is that public transit usage will decrease as more money is made from private ridehail companies who will inevitably get more placement on online platforms. David Zipper described this issue as being a “walled garden”. The company that owns the app has all the control and can decide the hierarchy of placement for every other vendor/partner in the model.
The federal government in Finland mandates all transportation companies to have an open API (application programming interface). Any company, whether that is MaaS Global, Moovel or Free2Move (all of them offer MaaS apps) can then tap into the transportation data and provide MaaS. MaaS Global has built an app Whim which is used in Helsinki. This app allows users to see all different mobility services available from public transit to car and bike share. User are also able to purchase a subscription with this app. The issues with this model include individual brands loosing their identity? Will these apps charge a fee? Will these apps be successful? For example Whim has not been very popularity in Helsinki with fewer than 1% of non-vehicular trips being booked through the app so far.
Another mode of MaaS in operation is for the transit agency to manage the data, such as BVG in Berlin. They have created an app that includes car share, bike share and multi modal public transportation options. The user pays for their entire trip using this app and then the transit agency distributes the money to the partnered companies.
However, with the exception of these three cities and a few others,
“seamless multi modal journey technology is not that widespread… just because it worked in one city doesn’t mean it’s going to work in yours.” – Catherine Kargas – Translink’s Future of Mobility Speaker Series
2. CONNECTIVITY in shared mobility
Every meter, every household and every person will be connected by 2025. The connected devices universe is expected to rise from current estimates of less than 5 billion to 80 billion by 2025. This will facilitate connected car communication as well as evolving new mobility services. Connectivity will serve as the platform that is required for all future digital services.
Connected cars, which link up with the smartphone or individual homes have already been available for several years. However, the connectivity with regard to the surrounding urban environment and other road users will be further expanded moving into 2020. For example the market potential of autonomous driving functions will rise to almost €36 billion in the next two years which is the strongest increase among connected car services.
With an increase in connected vehicles world-wide, it is expected that the current operating model for e-hailing will evolve. Currently the market is dominated by companies such as Uber and Lyft, who connect drivers and users using their online platform. These companies will continue to thrive in big cities, reducing car ownership. However, in suburban or rural areas, where ride hailing is not so prevalent, we could see a shift towards people renting/sharing their own private vehicles to generate revenue while their cars are parked. Companies such a Turo and Getaround are already very popular and with an increase in connectivity, their popularity is likely to grow.
We could also see an increase in ‘on-demand’ shuttles such as Moia – a German company set up to redefine mobility for people living in urban areas with hopes to ‘become one of the world’s leading mobility service providers by 2025.’ Its focus is on the in-house development of IT-based on-demand offerings such as ridesharing and ride pooling services.
Another company providing the same model of a shared-shuttle/ride pooling solution is ioki. This company is tightly integrated with local public transport systems to offer solutions for the first and last mile problem many people face. ioki also have the ability to take mobility-impaired or older passengers into consideration as the offer bookings by phone and barrier-free access.
“A colleague of mine at the Department of Social Services in Tompkins county has envision a Mobility as a Service solution primarily to help those individuals who do not have access to a car, who live in a rural or a small urban area, where there aren’t many last mile alternatives for transportation.” – Carol Schweiger, Women in Shared Mobility Series
A very good example of an on-demand shuttle service that is currently being piloted in a rural environment is TransLink’s On-Demand Shuttle Service on Bowen Island, British Columbia. Passengers are able to book a ride on two new buses using the TapRide mobile app (which has just been acquired by Ford), online or via a soon-to-be-established phone line. They can can set their own pick-up and drop-off times, view trip times and arrival estimates, and track the vehicles in real time
3. EQUITY & ACCESSIBILITY in shared mobility
2019 has seen an increase in mobility technologies and services that could widen the affordability, availability, and accessibility of transport and narrow existing inequalities. So far this year we have seen an increase in the number of start ups and mobility operators dedicated to providing inclusive and accessible services for all parts of the community. Up until now, mobility providers have been focusing their attention on a select user group and designing their services with this particular focus group in mind. Moving forward, companies have realised that greater equity and inclusion in their designs will not only better the lives on their users, but it will also be of financial benefit to providers.
Some companies currently offering alternative mobility solutions are Bikxie, an on-demand, motorized, two wheel taxi company based in India that offers all female drivers for its female users. Another company that is defying the norm and offering an on-demand services for people with mobility devices is the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s, PDX WAV. It is a new program which makes reliable, safe vehicle-for-hire services more easily accessible to people using mobility devices.
“The more diverse your member base, the likelier they’re going to need to use those vehicles at different times, for different purposes, in different ways. And so there’s actually not just the social benefit of greater inclusivity, there’s also a financial benefit. You can use those vehicles more efficiently. You can build a better community.” – Karen New, Women in Shared Mobility Series
Automation within vehicles and an increase in electrified vehicles has lowered running costs of both public and private shared vehicles. Moving into 2020 we believe to see an uptake in automation and electric vehicles that could perhaps allow more affordable travel for the user. As demand for transportation continues to grow it is likely that we will see better integrated services in currently poorly connected areas. Self-driving vehicles and the increased use of shared data and mobile applications to assist the planning and execution of journeys should also make it easier for disabled and older people to get around. Innovative technology platforms will also be used to match the supply and demand for transport in rural areas, as well as minimise the risk of exclusive among older people or those with limited digital connectivity.
“Making sure that service in designed in a manner that is use-able for all cultural and gender groups or other diverse minority groups, other than just the, as you said correctly, the bachelor who is young and male. Designing products that are able to connect everyone together and offering it to everyone.” – Divya Kalia, Women in Shared Mobility Series
4. AUTONOMOUS & ELECTRIC vehicles in shared mobility
As improvements are made on battery life and hydrogen fuel cells, we have seen an increase in electric vehicle manufacturing and ownership over the last few years. We have also seen an uptake in the amount of carsharing companies offering either hybrid or fully electric fleets. For example carshare companies such as London’s Blue City and Volkswagen’s WeShare only offer fully electric vehicles to their users for a more sustainable method of mobility.
Carsharing software is also being fitted as standard to the next Renault Zoe in a further step towards a future of pooled electric car ownership. The car sharing software is supplied by French company Vulog, whose Artificial Intelligence Mobility Applied platform is used by 25 car sharing schemes on a fleet of 11,000 cars on five continents. It integrates multiple functions involved in car sharing – such as finding an available car online or through an app and unlocking it with a mobile device.
“I think as cities slowly evolve and come to grips with the fact that they have to ease congestion and improve air quality, this will be one tools in the toolbox to do that”. – Marcy Klevorn, Women in Shared Mobility Series.
Automated vehicles (AVs, also known as self-driving or driverless vehicles) together with on-demand mobility could be the future of shared mobility, if widely accepted. AVs are dependent on cutting-edge technology, since they essentially replace human decision making with computer algorithms and while it is “early days” for AVs, several analysts have projected possibly transformative changes to personal transport, with potentially nearly all vehicles becoming autonomous by mid-century!
Shared mobility with autonomous cars could substitute many cars and the impact on mobility on a macro level is large and should not be underestimated.
I feel that automated vehicles are is still a ways off, but we do need to plan for them and I think in this case the ownership model probably will not work because of the price of the automated vehicles. Here I think will be adopting a different kind of model where you will be paying for your trip but you won’t actually own the vehicle itself. – Carol Schweiger, Women in Shared Mobility Series.
There have already been autonomous vehicle pilot schemes that have been launched in multiple cities across the world. One of the earlier self-driving shuttles was Navya’s downtown Las Vegas service that debuted at CES in 2017. EasyMile is another company that has launched its EZ10 driverless shuttles in many cities across North America and the world. In fact, we will likely see fully autonomous shuttles operating in our cities long before private or carshare vehicles, as they can be controlled within contained environments and therefore have more of a chance of staying on course and getting to the destination without any issues.
It is safe to say that we will see more, at least partially autonomous vehicles, moving into 2020. Almost all car manufacturers have already published plans for self-driving vehicles. Some autonomous cars are already being tested by companies like Waymo. It is estimated that by 2030, 25% of all new vehicles will be at automation level 4 or 5 — meaning a significant increase in market share.
AV IN MICROMOBILITY
There is no disputing the popularity of micromobility over the past few years, however, we still face some major issues with this mode of transport. For example, with ‘dockless’ e-scooter sharing, scooters are being left at inappropriate places on city streets and curbs. Keeping these scooters charged is also a challenge that each company faces – many of which have a maintenance team that collect and charge the scooters over night in each city, which is time consuming, costly and not entirely regulated, or offer benefits or bonus’ to costumers who take theirs home to charge.
Enter Segway-Ninebot Group, a Beijing-based electric scooter maker, who very recently unveiled a scooter that can return itself to charging stations without a driver, a potential autonomous solution for the current e-scooters problems.
Ninebot said Uber and Lyft, the ride-hailing giants that are expanding into scooter-sharing, would be among the customers for the new semi-autonomous vehicles that are expected to hit roads early next year. Gao Lufeng, Ninebot chairman and chief executive, told Reuters in an interview that AI-driven scooters, controlled remotely from the cloud, could radically improve the economics of scooter-sharing.
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Note: This article has not been endorsed or sponsored by any of the providers mentioned and there is no affiliation between movmi and them.