Three Tier Mobility Systems

three tier mobility systems

As we welcome 2017 and anticipate the changes that coming years will bring to the mobility structure we know so well today, we start to ponder radical ideas such as those presented by Dan Sturges, a seminal car designer focused on creating the most amazing cities with new mobility. In particular, we wanted to take a look at his three tier mobility system

What is a Three-Tier Mobility System?


According to Dan Sturges, “the majority of all people move about with just 2 tiers of mobility. The use of bicycles and other local forms of mobility are a third.”

Dan’s proposal for a three tiered mobility system looks like this: 

Mobility Tier 1 (M1): Innercity – mobility with bicycles, pedestrian zones, and new local cars, as well as shared mobility programs such as ReachNow, Evo, car2go, Ekar, Uber, Lyft, and Mobi.

Mobility Tier 2 (M2): City’s outer edges/suburbs – This is where 98%+ travel each day in their cars or using public transit to reach Tier 1. Much improvement is needed in this tier.

Mobility Tier 3 (M3): Inner region/country-wide travel – This is mainly airline travel.

The Current M2 Tier

Because the majority of people are mostly moving within the M2 tier every day, either with their own personal vehicles or by public transit, Sturges argues that this is where the focus must be placed – as opposed to proposed tube travel between LA to New York City.

Assisting the effectiveness and efficiency of the M2 tier, an area of mobility where much room for improvement exists, the new M1 tier dares to solve these daily issues. Currently, Mobility Hubs are in the works in certain cities like Los Angeles where the M2 tier suffers greatly due to congestion and long distances across the city. To help public transit become more effective, however, Sturges says that a complete network of M1 mobility hubs would be necessary.

Example of a Three-Tier Mobility System

A great example for a connecting Tier2 with Tier 1 is the VIA transport service that recently launched in Orange County, California, which makes use of a fleet of Mercedes-Benz vans. 

The process is simple: passengers order a shuttle using the App and select their destination. The app automatically calculates which vehicle combines effectively with the destinations of other customers. The van collects the passengers after an average waiting time of just five minutes, delivering them quickly and reliably to their destination.

This shuttle bus, therefore, is the first tier of the mobility system, driving passengers to a mobility hub where they can take a skytrain and then use a bikeshare program while they are in town.

Another example is Optymo in Belfort, France. Here, the public transit agency offers a convenient mobility itinerary service with bus on demand for remote areas bringing citizens into the city. Once in the city, passengers can gain access to bikesharing and carsharing. This fully integrated mobility solution means that citizens don’t need a car, even if they are living outside Belfort.  

For more inspiring ideas from Dan, visit his blog or connect with him here.  Follow what Optymo is up to here

Want to learn more about three tier mobility systems? We’d love to hear from you! Contact us with your questions and comments.

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