We recently came across an article on Forbes that piqued our attention. Where shared mobility crosses over to, and even encourages the use of, other forms of transportation, the question becomes: is it possible that shared mobility could revive public transit? Integrated mobility is a wonderful concept that we feel deserves much more attention, and may make all of the difference in lifestyle and sustainability of the future.
Integrated mobility: technology + shared mobility + more
If you switch out your personal car for shared mobility services, like carsharing, ridesharing, or bikesharing, you have taken a ginormous step towards leading a much more sustainable life. But is that all you can do?
Up until just recently, public transit has been deemed on the lower end of the desirable transportation spectrum, given its typically low levels of flexibility and convenience, especially in North America.
However, with the emergence of all kinds of shared mobility services around the world, the woes of public transit can all but be erased: just as long as there is adequate support with technology, giving users a mapped schedule of their integrated mobility at their fingertips.
Some European countries are now finding that more people are using public transit if it’s combined with door-to-door service. And there just so happens to be an app for that.
“Switzerland is still a country where people love the trains. They are always on time. They are running every half hour and they are very proud of that,” said Michael Frankenberg, managing director of the German engineering firm HaCon Ingenieurgesellschaft.
How Tech Supports Integrated Mobility
Being led by European countries where public transit is widely relied upon, technology supports the use of integrated mobility well beyond anything else.
For example, the Swiss railway launched an app called the SBB Reiseplaner, which integrates every form of transportation available to users, as well as arrival times, costs, and ticket purchases.
“They integrated taxi, Uber, car sharing, bike sharing, and you can buy everything in one step, so you can rent your car directly without going out of the app, you can buy the train ticket, so everything is integrated within one app.”
The German railway has also created a similar option with the Qixxit app, and the Austrian government offers BusBahnBim, which offers a route in the entire country, whether by public transport, on foot, by bike or by car.
North America is budding with integrated mobility technology as well: in the United States, private mobility apps provide multi-modal trip planning for some cities, including Citymapper, Transit, and Movit among them, but they trade mostly in public data.
“People want to customize their transportation,” Hemenover said. “They want to have a say in where they can go and what they can do, and they’re looking for all these kinds of apps that can navigate the best route possible, so the move to mobility as a service or a platform that allows people to make those decisions is pretty huge, it’s a big driver. And honestly, when you go from city to city, every local transport may have their own app.”
We are optimistic about the future of integrated mobility and MaaS, as it’s clear that with the rise of technology comes the rise of multi-modal forms of transportation. Read more about the keys to great integration of services in our related blog post here.
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