movmi at MOVE America 2020

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Where disruptive technology and innovation drive much needed change, MOVE America is a one of a kind event representing the entire ecosystem of urban mobility. This year, America’s most important mobility event moved online for the first time ever and movmi’s Sandra Phillips and Venkatesh Gopal were invited to take part in the virtual conference.

Some of transportation’s biggest disruptors and key decision makers came together, online, to provide unrivalled up-to-date insights, on all things mobility. With over 180 sessions and 388 speakers across 9 tracks, the conference was comprised of inspirational keynotes from across the globe, including industry experts and technology leaders.

In a world where travel is no longer possible or comfortable for the majority, MOVE promotes innovation, new thinking, new technology, new business models, cross-sector partnerships, long-term urban sustainability and regeneration. On Day one of the MOVE America event, both Sandra and Venkatesh were guest speakers on two different panels. Sandra was one of the moderators on the ‘Resilience through Diversification’ panel and shared her analysis of data collected from the Covid-19 Task Force Mobility Survey and Venkatesh talked all things OEMs and their future within shared mobility.

Sign up to watch the full MOVE America panel discussions here.

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movmi at MOVE America 2020

RESILIENCE THROUGH DIVERSIFICATION – Sandra’s panel discussion

Covid-19 has really accelerated change, especially within micro mobility. 2020 has been the year of highest of demand for these services and at the beginning of the year, many said this was the end for this type of mobility service. If you remove yourself from the challenges of Covid-19, it has been a really interesting time for change and innovation within the sector. This round table, moderated by Sandra Phillips, movmi and Alexa Tang, Arity, featured Ansgar Strother, Movatic, Jeff Perkins, ParkMobile and Independent Mobility Consultant, Sam Starr. Keep reading for a summary of the topics discussed.

Transportation Behavioural Changes

Sandra Phillips shared her analysis of the data collected from the Covid-19 Task Force’s Shared Mobility Survey Report, completed in metro Vancouver during Phase 1 and 2 of the pandemic this year. The key takeaways focused on how working from home became standard procedure with over 80% of residents able to do this, many of which are still working from home now. We appear to be moving towards more individually owned transportation, for example bikes and scooters, bike trips increased by 2% in metro Vancouver last year, but 14% of survey respondents are also interested in buying a personal car.

Hygiene and health has very rarely ever factored into transportation choices and now it is the number one reason. Operators now have to think more about cleanliness and have to continue to do it for quite some time, if not forever. Business models rules are starting to shift. Carshares that historically offered their services on an hourly rate, are now being offered for monthly rentals. Delivery and personal mobility are starting to merge. The people of Vancouver want to see more walking and biking infrastructure, which is what the city of Vancouver has started to do. They have changed streets and removed parking to allow for active transportation, social distancing across the city. They also want to see more support for micro mobility. Regulators are all of a sudden able to implement new regulations very quickly, so there seems to be a shift on how we process legislation which will hopefully continue moving forward.

Arity is really focusing on driving data with 20 millions connections in the US. Milage is down and trips are down but they wanted to understand the difference between personal trips and gig trips. Their analysis shows that at the beginning of March, gig trips only dropped by 30% compared to 50% of personal trips. Full time drivers trips dropped much less that part time drivers – essentially those who were financially relying more on this source of income. What will happen with the way people move, choose jobs and earn money in the future? Transportation is at a turning point. We are seeing change that we have never seen before. How can we collectively adapt and design for resilience?

how to design for resilience?

  • Ansgar Strother talked how bike rental companies are moving into the on-demand space and altering their business models to adapt and thrive.
  • Jeff Perkins mentioned that transit and rideshare users are shifting to private vehicle transport and away from shared mobility providers. A lot of companies will be in trouble (Uber and Lyft) as people shift from shared vehicles to personal, private vehicles that they can keep clean and control at a better level.
  • Subscription services are becoming very popular, especially on the micro mobility side. Perhaps the shared space will move into longer termed shared vehicles. In the meantime we will see some success stories but also companies that will have to fold. We are seeing car and bike companies and manufacturers coming out with subscription models as well.
  • Sam Starr stated that being able to leverage shared spaces with more sustainable logistics and work collaboratively, will help ensure successful systems such as curbside delivery.
  • How can we dynamically reallocate spaces? It’s a combination of technology and a will to collaborate to leverage under utilized spaces. It’s also a great opportunity to implement charging infrastructure for electric shared micro mobility which will push these mobility options to the forefront.
  • Cities are now being crushed with a lack of revenue, so a lot of bigger initiatives have been put on pause.
  • Marketing is key to creating successful mobility systems.
  • They will be an opportunity to shift to contactless. There are still a lot of data sources not sharing data, but Covid-19 is changing that.

How will data reflect these changes?

For example, if we were to implement pick up hubs, logistic hubs etc. in under utilized spaces, what would have to change around it for this to happen?

“A data driven approach is a very important way to ensure that when we engineer these solutions we do so properly. Collaboration is critical. The collaboration between municipalities and private/public industry is critical to making these solutions work… Infrastructure and building a better network makes shifting to your mode that much more attractive.” – Sam Starr

How do you find data points to ensure mobility hubs are equitable and located based on demand? Being able to get the bigger firms, like FedEx, Amazon etc. to share their data with municipalities or other private companies is very hard unless they are part of city pilots and projects, so regulatory framework would definitely be beneficial.

A city to keep an eye on in the United States is Columbus, Ohio. Columbus got a smart city grant about two years ago and we are involved in this program, it’s called Smart Columbus. They are looking at every aspect of mobility in the city and they have a lot of money to fund initiatives to innovate it… That is an example of a laboratory that other cities will took to and ask ‘how can we do that and how can we bring it here?’ because what I’ve learned working with municipalities is that many of them don’t want to be first, especially if it’s their own tax payers dollars.” – Jeff Perkins

There are also a lot of positive developments… [cheaper smartphones] that is making is accessible to bring mapping technologies and payment options into peoples pocket… It’s not just about collaboration but also about driving the tech forward, which is what the industry is already doing.” – Ansgar Strother

HOW OEMS CAN ADAPT FOR FUTURE MOBILITY – VENKATESH’S PANEL DISCUSSION

Christopher Anderson from Invers moderates this panel featuring freelance consultant, Enrico Howe, Janelle Wang from ACTON, movmi’s Venkatesh Gopal, Nico Marchant from Invers. They chat about the changes OEMs have undertaken over the last few years and how technology and data can really help drive the future of our transportation systems. Keep reading for a full summary of the topics discussed.

THE EFFECT OF COVID-19 ON MOBILITY SYSTEMS

In the early days, Covid-19 had a dramatic effect on the industry, especially in Europe. During March and April, the rental rate dropped by 80%. After the lock down measures were loosened, there was a lot of recovery with some operators even surpassing pre-Covid levels and others got their user rates back up to 70%-80%. Business models also began to shift at this point and we could began to see a lot of innovation in the field.

Covid has changed and limited our choice of transportation options. Employers and employees have seen the benefit of working from home, so we have seen a drop in the amount of trips being taken. This lack of trips could really reduce congestion and encourage new, shared mobility, delivery business models and the ‘gig economy’ to flourish within the industry.

Other benefits we see from Covid are that people are moving around more using active transportation, such a walking, biking and scooting. People are happy on smaller vehicles rather than being in a small, steel box. Now that we know how transportation in our cities has failed us, we can start to rethink city planning and design a better version, ‘City 2.0.’

Acton works as a solution provider. During Covid a lot of their micro mobility customers/operators were and are, still providing services. Because people are shifting their behaviours, they needed to change their procedures, for example heightening sanitation procedures.

Pre-Covid, convenience was the number one reason for choosing transportation, now it is health and safety. Even though there is research focusing on sanitation methods, it’s all about perception which means there has to be real innovation in this sector.

What are OEMS doing in the field?

OEMs may not be the number one player in the field at the minute. Even though they have historically been the kickstarter of the industry, responsible usage of assets is more important now, especially in the field of micro mobility, but OEMs are increasingly playing a bigger role in active transportation with acquisitions and a shift in their core business models.

“I find it impressive that OEMs are taking on micro mobility. Especially automotive OEMs, I think that is it impressive from a traditional point of view that they are opening up and getting into the new mobility game… I am a little bit doubtful if OEMs will be the ones to rule the game and be the only ones out there as a major stakeholder. I do believe there are other stakeholders out there which have better preconditions when it comes to business model innovations pay and also to the potential of the field.”

– Erico Howe

With in-house engineering teams, world class technology can be brought to smaller companies. The world is changing. Yes, you can stay in your lane, but collaboration is also very important. Speed to market is very important. Bird and Lime got a lot of funding two years ago, but this will not happen in 2020 or 2021. We need to build more sustainable businesses and ecosystems. How can Invers and Acton make small to medium sized businesses happen compared to the bigger companies that have their own software and tech companies. It wont be just one big company that covers all regions, we are now empowering smaller businesses to grow.

Between the car and IoT, there will need to be a connection. Will the software/hardware be standardized or will everything be proprietary? Take the case of a seat belt, Volvo was leading the race of what a seatbelt should be. Standardization agencies made sure these were adopted into every vehicle. There needs to be a layer where a standardizing body can police the industry to make sure all the OEMs adhere to it. OEMs however, may potentially want to differentiate themselves from others to separate themselves from their competitors.

There is a lot of investment happening particularly within connectivity and the Internet of Things. IoT converts data into insights. The information is already available, based on how the OEM gives access to the data, the differentiation happens when you analyze that data. This requires an operational know-how that companies such as Invers has, that OEMs just aren’t interested in offering. OEMs are also wary of how much data they should give away compared to how much they need to. They are working on creating on-board telematics, but don’t want to give up all the information gathered to the users.

New services and products are developed in serious times of need and we are in one of those times now. It is also an opportunity for R&D and innovation, with telematics in particular. Innovation doesn’t stop, just because we have to work from home. Now, we have more time to think about what’s next.

What new data points & technology do we need to incorporate into telematic systems?

  • Access to GPS location data within the vehicle.
  • Hygiene technology, perhaps odour/temperature detection, although this may not be necessary forever.
  • We could better utilize existing data streams. Data driven business models are being implemented more and more. We need to take a better look at fleet optimization, dynamic pricing and rebalancing of vehicles for examples.
  • Autonomous technology. Scooters can be hired a day ahead and will arrive at your door step if you pay in advance. 40% of costs are spent moving vehicles around. Autonomous vehicle would save the headache. In stead of free floating, charging stations need to be part of the infrastructure. Autonomous technology is happening now.
  • Safety and Security within technology should be a requirement, especially within micro mobility a relatively new industry:

“Safety is our top priority when delivering a micro mobility vehicle, all types of vehicles… not just from the structure or design from the ground up… but also from the electronic side. It’s not just about safety but also security. The current industry standard on vehicles is not so high. It’s easy to hack in to, very hackable. When we discovered that it was very scary, especially if its autonomous from A to B. That’s just not acceptable in the industry.” – Janelle Wang

“There is a mixed feeling about sharing anything right now. Never mind sharing helmets, people don’t want to share bikes or scooters. That is a business model innovation. Let’s see how people are able grow it or innovates there. The OEMs, the big guns, have a disadvantage, because the small startup and mobility operators are able to move faster, all said and done. That is one of the key advantages of having smaller operators and being localized, where they the can quickly change and quickly give that solution for the country/couple of cities…” – Venkatesh Gopal


Note: This article has not been endorsed or sponsored by any of the providers mentioned and there is no affiliation between movmi and them.

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