Heading towards an on-demand transport service utilizing autonomous buses

Article by Jim Fleming, Director of Marketing at Fusion Processing Ltd

Padam Mobility, a provider of Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) software solutions, is investigating a future concept for on-demand transport using autonomous buses.

Currently, Padam Mobility operates the DRT service “HertsLynx”, utilizing manually driven minibuses on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council.

To explore this new concept, Padam Mobility and the County Council have partnered with mobility consultancy Sustainicity and autonomous technology provider Fusion Processing Ltd in a project supported by Innovate UK.

Fusion Processing is conducting surveys of existing “HertsLynx” routes using an autonomous vehicle equipped with radar, lidar, and camera sensors. The aim is to evaluate these routes from the perspective of an autonomous vehicle.

The project will identify sections of these routes suitable for autonomous vehicles and areas needing modifications, such as addressing overhanging trees, complex road sections, or repainting road markings.

In a separate initiative from the Herts Lynx project, Fusion has collaborated with Alexander Dennis Ltd, the UK’s largest bus manufacturer. Together, they anticipate that an autonomous version of the new Enviro100, a small 25-seat electric bus, will be the first commercially available autonomous bus in the UK.

The companies plan to demonstrate an on-demand transport system with autonomous buses using this new vehicle on a test track in early 2025. Sales are expected later that year for off-highway locations like industrial sites and airports, followed by on-road applications in 2026, coinciding with anticipated new UK legislation.


This article might interest you as well: ‘HertLynx’ On-Demand Responsive Transport Expands to new Areas in Hertfordshire

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B2B Demand Responsive Transport for Business Travel in Rural Areas?

For individuals, car-sharing, cycling and public transport are already established as solid options for combating auto-soloing, but what about business travel? What kind of solutions are available to companies to ensure a connection from a station or airport to a sparsely populated area? Here’s a closer look at a new offering: TOTOOM.

The TOTOOM Private Initiative

In the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the so-called “white zones” force business travellers to use their private car or hire a vehicle to get around. In these sparsely populated areas, demand is scattered and cannot be concentrated on fixed public transport lines.

In the absence of a reliable alternative, the TOTOOM start-up is tackling the issue in 2023. After consulting with local and regional mobility organising authorities (AOM), it identified the missing links in the public transport system throughout the region. At the same time, the new mobility project incorporates the problems of business travel.

TOTOOM provides a shared shuttle service linking stations and airports with rural areas.

How Does This Shared Transport Service Provide Connections to Stations and Airports?

The demand-responsive transport service pools work-related journeys within an area made up of a network of companies. To do this, the company uses Padam Mobility’s solutions. Our algorithms optimise these journeys to ensure that the vehicles are as full as possible. Totoom has a fleet of 5 fully electric shuttles. Each shuttle can carry up to 7 people.

For example, the service enables employees of the same company to book the TOTOOM service to travel to or from Puy-en-Velay-Loudes airport on demand. Similarly, this new type of DRT connects the areas surrounding Lyon and Saint-Étienne airports.

What Does Padam Mobility Offer?

Since 2014, Padam Mobility has been offering tools to facilitate shared transport where conventional public transport would be too costly for the public sector.

In the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the challenge was to offer a shared shuttle service for professionals. To adapt to actual demand, Totoom uses our software suite. This is based on intelligent, flexible algorithms for optimising routes and vehicle occupancy rates. This is how Totoom proposes to meet the need to reduce the cost of business travel for employees in business parks.

You might also like to read: Royal Geographical Society Symposium 2024: Geography in Practice – The Future of Rural Mobility

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Why does Transport Consulting matter? – A conversation with mobility engineer and transport consultant Xuefei Wang

Business values
Xuefei Wang, Team Lead Transport Consulting at Padam Mobility
Xuefei Wang, Team Lead Transport Consulting at Padam Mobility

There is no one-fits-all solution for DRT services. The introduction of new mobility systems in a specific area requires a great deal of expertise and precise analysis to ensure that services are successful, i.e. that they meet customer and user needs in the best possible way. Transport consulting is therefore a key area for Padam Mobility. In-house mobility consultants and engineers help customers develop the on-demand service that can best solve their existing public transport problems.

One of these mobility experts is Xuefei Wang. Xuefei has been working at Padam Mobility for four years, starting as Customer Success Manager. His intensive experience in multiple areas of the company makes him one of the most experienced mobility consultants at Padam today. In the interview, he told us more about his passion for transport consulting. We also talked about which steps are necessary to be able to create the perfect service design. Among other things, we touched on the importance of data and the courage to innovate.

How did you come to Padam Mobility and what is your job like today?

I have been working at Padam for over 4 years now. I started as an intern in the Customer Success Team and then worked as a Customer Success Manager for about 2 years. 2 years ago we founded the Transport Consulting Team, I was in the founding team and for about a year now and I have been leading this team”.

What is your professional or academic background?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from one of the leading universities in China, Tsinghua University. After that, I started working in a young tech start-up in the field of logistics/mobile applications in China. I was one of the founding members and the Director of Operations from 2016 to 2018. Later in 2018, I came to France and spent a year at École des Ponts ParisTech doing a Master’s in Transport and Sustainable Development”.

What do you understand by ‘Transport Consulting’ in your current function? What services does Padam Mobility offer in this context?

At Padam Mobility, it is very important to us to answer our customers’ needs in the best possible way. That is why we established the Transport Consulting Team. At that time, we particularly noticed how much customers and potential customers need advice from experts in the field of on-demand transport in order to make the right decisions. Although they are interested in on-demand services, they lack the necessary expertise to set up such services. For example, they don’t know how many vehicles they will need, how much the service will cost, etc. So they need help and advice to set everything up. Over the years we have gathered an enormous amount of knowledge and data about on-demand transport services, this data is probably one of the most important assets of this company today. We can help our customers solve their problems and make decisions, save money, and simultaneously offer a high-quality public mobility service.

My previous role as Customer Success Manager prepared me perfectly for this position. Customer Success Managers work closely with the customer, especially in the phase between the procurement decision and the launch of the service. It is essential to understand exactly what the customer needs and how the software can meet those needs. However, through my studies, I gained further knowledge, not only in using the Padam software but also in transport engineering, which helps me support customers with very complex and complicated problems”.

What are the different steps that comprise a transport consultancy? How do you approach a new client’s project?

I compare the work of our team to the work of a doctor. We have patients and we have to find out what they are missing and how we can help them. We start by making what is called a “territorial diagnosis” which begins with general questions such as what problem does the client want to solve? Why do they want to set up an on-demand transport service? For example, do the client have fixed, costly bus routes or want to expand public transport services? We can derive what the later solution can look like based on the needs.

Then we need certain demographic data, for example where do people live, where do they work, where do they recreate, what is the age structure, etc. and geographical information, such as what does the area look like, and what are the special features? We also ask about political and economic structures. All this information can influence our recommendations. There are different ways to get information: In Europe, there are often openly accessible data that are freely provided by public institutions, for example. We also ask our clients for data, sometimes they have already conducted user surveys on mobility or they have operational data from the existing transport offer. After analysing all this data, it is possible for us to understand how people move in certain areas.

In some cases, we can already make recommendations for the future on-demand service design after the diagnosis. This is partly because we already have a lot of experience with this process and are able to say which configurations are suitable for a certain type of territory. Sometimes, however, we have to dig deeper, for example, if the client wants more info or if the territory is very large or particular. In this case, we have the possibility to create simulations. Besides territorial diagnostics, this is the second service our team offers to clients. For this, we have a specially developed tool called “Padam Simulations”, which uses the same algorithms as our on-demand solution. It allows us to see exactly how our software reacts in certain situations. We usually simulate one day, which means we create a set of vehicles that have to serve realistic customer flows at certain times. Once we have created these parameters, we start the simulation. By doing this, we can see how the service would perform under real conditions. For example, if we see in the later evaluation that trips were rejected at certain times, it is possible that not enough vehicles were deployed”.

That means you also focus on worst case scenarios?

We usually create many different scenarios and also change the service design. There can be thousands of possible scenarios, so we discuss in advance with the client which specific scenarios to run.

The good thing about “Padam Simulations” is the qualitative results. We can see how many vehicles are needed at what time and with how many seats, what the service design should look like, i.e. free-floating, feeder, virtual line and so on. With this information, we can make very precise proposals.

Do you also pay attention to whether there are existing fixed bus routes or other means of public transport and how they might influence the performance of the DRT?

Exactly, these considerations are already taken into account in the territorial diagnosis, which is what the simulation is based on, so the existing public transport network is always taken into account”.

What happens if you can’t collect enough data before the simulation?

It is actually particularly difficult to predict how many people might use the service. If there is absolutely no historical data for this, we have to model the demand. This is where our experience from other projects and the skills that we bring as transport engineers help us enormously”.

Are there other services besides territorial diagnostics and simulation that you and your team offer to clients?

So far, what we have been talking about is the Feasibility Study, which includes territorial diagnostics, simulations and finally service design proposals. That is a big part of what we offer as a Transport Consulting Team. The other part of our services we call “Professional Services”. We offer these services to existing clients. They consist of the performance analysis of the service. Here we analyse the data of the service and try to further improve certain KPIs, such as pooling rate, customer satisfaction, etc. We also provide certain tools that help the client to monitor and understand their service in the best possible way”.

What is your experience with setting up virtual stops?

Virtual stops can be set up, for example, if the customer wants to offer users of on-demand services a narrow network of stops in order to keep the walking distance as short as possible. These stops can be made visible with a dot in the app, for example. I see virtual stops critically, as it can be difficult for users to orient themselves if they do not find a physical stop. Some of our clients solve this dilemma with a compromise and, for example, place small signs or stickers at the respective locations”.

Do you have any tips for transport authorities or other public mobility service providers on how to successfully introduce a DRT service?

On-demand transport works differently from traditional public passenger transport, but we see time and again that customers equate DRT with virtual lines, i.e. a service that follows a fixed line configuration. There is some fear of moving away from this and onto a different model, such as zonal on-demand transport. Although we have already seen that dividing the service area into smaller zones can achieve good results, clients are often sceptical at first. Therefore, I think mobility designers should think more innovatively in this regard.

Marketing also plays an important role. Users often do not know at the beginning what DRT is and how they can use it. So user communication plays an important role. We can see very well at the beginning of a new service the effect of marketing measures. If users feel well-informed, trip numbers usually increase rapidly. By the way, if clients need support on this point, they also have the opportunity to be advised by our marketing team at Padam Mobility. We can give tips on how to communicate the function of on-demand services and how best to reach customers.

Another important topic is introducing customers to digitalisation. We have a client who already had an on-demand service, however, all bookings were done through a call centre, which was costly and not very practical. So the client was looking to encourage users to make more bookings through the app. Consequently, the client instructed the call centre staff to ask users if they knew about the app booking option every time they received a call. As a result, the number of call centre bookings dropped from 100% to about 60% in only a few weeks”.

What other tips can you give clients to reduce costs?

There are several examples of customers who have managed to reduce the cost of their on-demand service. For example, by combining different services that were used for different user groups, such as transport for schoolchildren, transport for people with reduced mobility and users without special needs. This way, vehicles are better utilised and resources are saved.

It is also possible to start off services as pilot projects in order to minimise the risk of failure. We also advise starting with small zones and fewer vehicles and then gradually increasing the service area and fleet. Adding new areas on a platform is much easier than fundamentally rebuilding the service”.

What future projects are in the pipeline? Can we advise customers on on-demand AV services, for example?

Certainly. We have a dedicated AV team at Padam and also some live services. So we are already in a position to advise clients on the implementation of on-demand AV services”.

Thank you for your time, Xuefei!


This article might also interest you: AV in public road transport – A cutting-edge technology

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Subsidies per passenger – the £3 challenge

A recent audience question at a webinar outlined the extent of the challenge local transport faces in the UK:

Councils often use metrics as subsidy per passenger journey as a means of deciding value for money. In Kent, the figure is £3 and a number of routes are potentially to be withdrawn for exceeding this figure. Is DRT viable within such a limit?

Obviously, there’s no straightforward reply. The routes that fall to councils to fund are, by their nature, the ones that bus operators cannot make commercially viable. The question is, are they ‘a little unviable’ (meet the up to £3 / passenger journey threshold) or ‘very unviable’ (require more – and in some instances – much more subsidy).

In most cases the problem is dealing with the network in route by route way. A gradual process of removal of unprofitable bits (entire routes or service hours) erodes the remaining services and creates a constant downward spiral.

The move to look at networks as a whole in the context of Bus Service Improvement Plans and Enhanced Partnerships could potentially move the focus and put these routes in context. This would help evaluate whether a point to point route or an area based DRT service (potentially wrapping more than one lower utilisation route into a single operation) is a better approach.

Increase passengers

Wherever possible, we look – as broadly as possible – at passenger groups, vehicle numbers and  operators to determine the optimal service.

The questions we ask are ‘where can DRT drive up patronage, so that the per passenger subsidy goes down?’, ‘How can we reduce vehicle numbers to ensure that the fleet is efficient?’ and ‘How can we combine operators and services available to ensure that all capacity is utilised?’.

The first approach, driving up patronage, is most likely to work in densely populated areas. The ball-park estimate for DRT to be fully commercial is an average of 7-8 people per vehicle throughout the day. However, because it uses smaller vehicles, DRT doesn’t have the same capacity for higher loads and peak fares to cover off-peak times, so the vehicles have to be matched more closely to demand. In services at larger scales, we can use data to plan vehicle deployment and keep the utilisation rates as high as possible.

In addition, encouraging advance booking really helps with both increasing passenger numbers and operational planning. Pre-booking means people can plan their days in advance and depend on the service. The information from pre-bookings ensure that the operator has good information ahead of the start of each day. We see around 75% of passengers booking in advance, which validates our expectation that people use this as reliable public transport rather than a taxi equivalent.

Segmented, not fragmented

The second is to drive down costs per person by ensuring that the services provide transport to people from different groups and with different travel needs. This is considering passengers as segments of the travelling public, rather than as fragmented groups.

In most cases this requires an honest look at services and identifying where they are siloed. For instance we’ve seen several cases of Ring & Ride access services being operated in parallel with DDRT services because different funding streams procure different resources, and the services don’t speak to each other.

Back during Total Transport pilots, over capacity was identified by authorities and there was a huge desire to maximise utilisation of vehicles. Whilst there was some success in reducing requirements it proved difficult to execute sophisticated ideas about fleet optimisation or combining use cases and we still saw costs per passenger trip of over £20 in some cases.

However, the capability of the technology has come a long way in the last 3 years. The Padam Mobility platform is able to combine multiple operators into a single service. Our sophisticated software means we can also merge different use cases with one service.  It also offers a paratransit software element in order to handle social service and health care transport, providing the right vehicle for the trips needed and optimising the overall fleet management. This can radically cut the subsidy required. We now have use cases in which we blend dial-a-ride, DRT and other forms of transport to reduce the overall spend for Local Authorities.

In one area we combine DRT with home to school transport using the same vehicles. This reduces the the cost of the home-to-school from around £10 per head down to £5. Adding in further deployments which increases the utilisation could lower this further. In Strasbourg, we blend door to door ‘paratransit’ with bus stop to bus stop DRT, using the same fleet. We are now in advanced discussions with one UK authority to launch a similar service this year.

There has also been a reluctance to register some commuter shuttle style DRT – often serving previously unserved business parks and out of town distribution centres – as part of the wider public transport network. Whilst this imposes additional constraints on the service provider, Enhanced Partnerships are an opportunity to work out how to make the broadening of registration worthwhile in order to increase the numbers of people served. Bringing these services into wider use through integration onto a publicly managed DRT platform could improve services relatively cheaply.

Optimise multi-operator services

It’s increasingly worthwhile to look at how DDRT platform technologies – such as Padam Mobility – can host efficient cross contract services. A sophisticated DRT platform can manage a service supplied by community transport or even taxis at some times of day whilst moving to a bus operator on a fixed time table at others. Padam Mobility has combined multiple operators in this way for the Île-de-France Mobilités service that connects people who live on the outer edges of suburbs beyond the Paris metropolitan area. We observe instances where the work of 20 minibuses can now be done by 12, which obviously implies significant savings.

So whilst it’s difficult to bring costs per passenger journey right down in isolation, we’ve found that a holistic approach will bear dividends.

In the current climate, as local authorities and operators work on networks together, there is the possibility to drive down per passenger subsidies to within the £3 limit – whilst still improving services and increasing the number of people who have the option to take the bus.


This article might also interest you: Integrating DDRT into BSIPS – Six Practical Tips 

Learn more about Padam Mobility 

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How does Demand Responsive Transport help to reduce one’s mental load?

Mental load

Connecting people and making it easier for everyone to commute are the objectives of Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) proposed by Padam Mobility. To this extent, this mobility solution can alleviate the daily tasks that make up the mental workload. According to Nicole Brais, a researcher at the University of Laval, Quebec, the mental load corresponds to “management, organisation and planning work that is at once intangible, unavoidable and constant in order to manage domestic tasks. Thus, a real impact on daily life lies in the constancy of this burden.

The mental load falls mainly on women 

Women spend an average of almost 4 hours a day managing domestic tasks, and handle 71% of parental tasks in the household. These tasks can be directly linked to transportation: doing groceries, dropping off and picking up children at/from school, and all the small tasks of daily life.

DRT represents a simple and effective solution to reduce the weight of these daily tasks. On the occasion of an experimentation of the La Saire TAD service in the Cotentin, a parent told us:

I think I can speak for all the mothers in the room who no longer need to drop off  their children at school, you have changed our lives in La Saire!”

People with Reduced Mobility also face an increased mental load in their daily lives

In a world that sometimes seems to be designed by and for able-bodied people, finding suitable modes of transport can be particularly difficult for people with reduced mobility.

It is therefore important to take into account the specific needs of PRMs with, for instance, a door-to-door transport service that takes into account the time it requires to settle into adapted vehicles and the presence of specific equipment, if necessary. In addition, the accessibility of the transport offer involves the right to movement, and therefore to spontaneous movement. Getting to the city without having to plan one’s journey weeks in advance is undeniably a factor in alleviating the mental load for the PRM public.

The Paratransit solutions developed by Padam Mobility can be booked in real time or in advance, in order to satisfy the desire and need for spontaneity in everyday life. They are configured to take care of each user according to the specificities of their mobility and allow for flexible travel from address to address.

Solutions that respond to the problems of the 11 million caregivers in France, and in the world. 

Caregivers provide day-to-day support to a dependent relative. These situations often require constant travelling between health centres, the homes of the carers and the homes of their dependent relatives, for instance (as presented in this article). This context can lead to reliance on private means of travel, particularly in peri-urban and rural areas where fixed lignes are more limited.

Padam Mobility’s solutions allow a caregiver to make a booking and the caregiver can even receive specific notifications regarding the pick-up of their relative.  These configurations facilitate the daily organisation of caregivers by involving them intuitively in the movement of their dependent relatives.

In rural and peri-urban areas, a mental charge is hidden in the day-to-day travel needs of all

Inequality of access to city centres, particularly in rural and peri-urban areas, creates mental burdens for all types of population: young people without a car, parents who have to drop off their relatives and children, and elderly people who fear driving alone private vehicles. All these constraints create anxiety and an insidious mental workload. A mental pressure that DRT sometimes helps to reduce, as a high school student using the Résa’Tao DRT service in Orléans explained to us:

At least (my parents) are not worried because they know that if I have a problem, I always have Résa’Tao”. 

What about the driver’s mental load?

Commuting, including home-to-work mobility, is a mobility in which the mental load is hardly ever mentioned. However, mental workload and driving are directly linked, as the latter impacts on drivers’ concentration and increases risky driving behaviour. Driving and its constraints add to the already existing mental load. Academic studies have been conducted to scientifically measure the mental load of driving and how to limit it.

Artificial intelligence, which enables the optimisation of rides, plays a crucial role in easing the mental burden on professional drivers of DRT vehicles. Indeed, through an ergonomic interface, drivers are guided step by step and no longer have to worry about the route to follow or the passengers to pick up or drop off. For passengers, formerly car drivers, DRT also makes their daily lives easier by freeing them from the hassles frequently encountered on the road: congestion, accidents, parking, refuelling, etc. 


About Padam Mobility 

Check out this article: Loi LOM : ce qui change pour les personnes à mobilité réduite 

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Which key measures for Demand-Responsive Transport in the new French Mobility Act?

Mobility Act key mesures Demand-Responsive Transport

What are the main key measures for Demand-Responsive Transport in the new French Mobility Act (LOM)? The text was published in the Official Journal of December 24, 2019. It brings many advances on shared mobility solutions including Demand-Responsive Transport. In particular, it marks the transition from a transport policy oriented towards major projects to an “everyday mobility” policy . 8 key points are to bear in mind:

1. Public Transport Authorities (PTA) mobility can more easily offer Demand-Responsive Transport services.

It is now possible for a PTA to intervene in the following 6 main areas, to develop an adapted offer to the territories: conventional regular transport, Demand-Responsive Transport, school transport, active and shared mobility, as well as solidarity mobility.

2. The mobility plans replace the current urban travel plans (PDU) and take into account Demand-Responsive Transport.

Active and shared mobility, solidarity mobility and the logistic challenges are better apprehended in these new plans. They are part of the objectives to fight urban sprawl, air pollution and for the preservation of biodiversity.

3. The transportation subsidy becomes the mobility subsidy and includes Demand-Responsive Transport.

This subsidy is subject to the setting up of conventional regular public transport services. In addition, it is possible to adjust its rate within the same work union according to the density of the territories.

4. Demand-Responsive Transport for People with Reduced Mobility (paratransit) is facilitated.

The mobility of people with reduced mobility will be facilitated, through concrete measures which include paratransit.

5. The development of Demand-Responsive Transport is facilitated.

The challenge is to make innovation a lever to meet the many unmet mobility needs.

6. The legal framework for carrying out experiments (POCs) on Demand-Responsive Transport in rural areas is adapted.

The act empowers the Government to legislate by ordinance to introduce legislative-level exemptions. This provision is part of the France Expérimentation approach.

7. Employers can implement Demand-Responsive Transport to facilitate their employees’ commuting as part of the compulsory negotiations to be carried out within companies with more than 50 employees.

These agreements must specify the manner in which employers undertake to facilitate the home-to-work trips of their employees. It could take the form of a mobility voucher.

8. A sustainable mobility package is created: up to € 400 / year to go to work by Demand-Responsive Transport.

Tous les employeurs privés et publics pourront contribuer aux frais de déplacement domicile-travail en solutions de mobilité partagée de leurs salariés. Ce forfait pourra s’élever jusqu’à 400 €/an en franchise d’impôt et de cotisations sociales. Aussi, il remplacera l’indemnité kilométrique vélo mise en place jusqu’à ce jour, mais dont la mise en œuvre est restée limitée car trop complexe. Ce forfait sera cumulable avec la participation de l’employeur à l’abonnement de transport en commun, dans une limite de 400€/an (la prise en charge de l’abonnement de transport en commun reste déplafonnée).

All private and public employers will be able to contribute to home-to-work trips’ costs through shared mobility solutions for their employees. This package can be up to € 400 / year free of tax and healthcare contributions. Also, it will replace the bicycle mileage allowance set up to date, but whose implementation has been limited because of it’s complexity. This package can be combined with the employer’s participation to the public transport subscription, up to a limit of € 400 / year (support for the public transport subscription remains uncapped).


Learn more about the LOM, the French Mobility Act (in Frenc)

Learn more about Home-to-Work trips

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Home-to-work trip : a social issue and a challenge for companies

Home to work trips

Home-to-work trip time, budget… employees are increasingly careful about their transport issues. Although the transport organization remain the responsibility of the public authorities, companies involvement in workers mobility is fundamental.

Home-to-work trips woes are not fresh. Jean Boyer made fun of it in times of war (“To get to my office,” 1945). Today, social medias are seeing the outpouring of discontent with users stranded on public transport; outside the cities, the Yellow Vest crisis has revealed the unease of workers forced to use an increasingly expensive car which is moreover, denigrated socially due to global warming.

Home-to-work mobility is almost as old as industrial society, most often considered as problematic.

Work is not everything: employees are also concerned about their quality of life.  The daily home-to-work trip time and the budget dedicated become determining criteria when seeking for a job, turning central in negotiations.
Recent studies show that the longer the journey time are (especially more than an hour), the higher the frustration is. However, this dissatisfaction is not limited to the route exclusively, but reflects how employment is regarded as a whole (less interest, less productivity, less interactions with colleagues, less loyalty to the company …) [1].
In some territories or within some social categories, mobility is even an absolute barrier to employment: one in four French people has already refused a job offer or training because they cannot get there [2].

The ‘mobility plan’, the company’s armed arm

With no intention to reduce the responsibility of political and societal choices, companies can play a big role in home-to-work mobility. Above all, it’s in her best interest. Expanding its recruitment pool, having an additional argument to attract the best profiles, improve worker”s quality of life and reduce the risk of road accidents, display social and environmental responsibility, are all incentives to look at the matter. That’s where “company mobility plan” comes into action.

Home-to-work trip: improving the quality of life for employees

Mandatory for all companies with more than 100 employees on the same work site, the mobility plan seeks to make it easier and “cleaner” for company travels, including commuting.

In addition to improving the quality of life, it has an essential environmental dimension, aiming to reduce the individual car use in favour of soft or collective transport. It can be developed within a single structure or between different companies in the same area.

In all cases, the plan is carried out in consultation with all stakeholders, in the first place the transport authority in the area concerned.

It includes a diagnostic phase to determine precisely the journeys undertaken by employees (location, length, duration, modes used, cost, satisfaction, needs and expectations…), before establishing the improvement axes and implement the concrete measures.

Home-to-work travel

Concert, facilitate, network

Various levers are available to improve workers’ mobility. In addition to “physical” accommodations, how work itself is organized plays a big role: establishing homework days, shifting schedules to avoid rush hour, encouraging video conferencing meetings, are all ways that can reduce travel.
In addition, simple equipment can easily lift the brakes on the use of soft modes: secure bike garages, changing rooms equipped with showers, service bikes…
Other actions can be taken, such as increasing the support for public transport subscriptions or a financial help to purchase electric bicycles.
Finally, with the help of new technologies, companies can play an active role in connecting its employees for carpooling or even, from a certain number of users, setting up a shuttle or creating a car-sharing service.

Home-to-work travel: making physical adjustments, but also rethinking the organisation of work

Companies therefore have an interest in promoting mobility : it is a factor of attractiveness as well as an element of its social and environmental responsibility. The legal requirements in this regard are also expected to be stronger, starting with the mobility orientation law just adopted: it now makes home-to-work mobility a mandatory part of social dialogue. Proof that in this great challenge of mobility, companies promise to be a central player.

[1] Paris Workplace 2018 Ifop-SFL Barometer

[2] Mobility and Employment Study 2017, Elabe for the Inclusive Mobility Laboratory

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Why will commuting be the focus of 2016?


If we look at the transport market, we notice a boom of urban public transport services, which, unlike the business model of taxis or chauffeur driven cars, aims to pool journeys of several passengers over short distances. New services are flourishing all over the world, to match the demand for commuting. Here an overview of this market that will be for us THE subject of transport this year.

Commuting : The USA are still one step ahead

Many players are interested in the subject around the world, starting in the United States, where several startups have positioned themselves on the niche. Among them is Bridj, active in Boston, Washington and Kansas City, and Chariot and Ridepal, based in San Francisco. All three offer to book a seat on buses on regular commutes via a smartphone app. They promote a better experience for users’ daily journeys, and therefore seek to replace public transport.

Commuting also features the colossus Uber, which has been leaing UberHOP experiments in Seattle [1] and Toronto [2], and UberCOMMUTE in Chicago since December 2015. These two experiments are based on the same premise : on daily and regular commuting trips, there are so many requests that coincide geographically and temporally that it is possible to pool the journeys. UberHOP allows to pool the journeys of several people by giving them appointments at support points indicated in the app (sort of bus stops 2.0), while UberCOMMUTE is aimed at particular drivers making their regular journeys, encouraging them to pick up passengers on their way, getting closer to an instant carpooling system. Similarly, its rival Lyft has set up an experimental carpooling service [4], called the Lyft Line, encouraging the sharing of regular commutes. Available in about fifteen American cities, these routes represent according to Lyft 40% of the journeys made via their application and illustrate the high expectations on the topic in the major metropolises.


The common feature of all these services is that they have established themselves in large American metropolises with low quality public transport compared to our European standards, as the United States remains the country of the “all-car”.

The premise of these startups is therefore simple: on one hand the public transport system offers a relatively poor quality service, and on the other hand users wish to use more shared transport systems (for economic, ecological or practical reasons). Why not then provide a service that competes with public transport, almost at the same price with a much better quality? This approach is eased due to the much more blurred border between public and private in Anglo-Saxon countries, where many services deemed “public” in Europe have been liberalised and are therefore no longer subsidised. Users, accustomed to paying the “high price” are therefore not surprised to see new offers competing with local transport.

Commuting : In Asia, we’re taking it to the next level

Unsurprisingly, in Asia, similar transport services are booming, mainly to cope with the growing demand, which face a near-non-existent transport supply. In Singapore, for example, Beeline is supported by the government and has already set up 12 transport lines, adjusting its offer as it goes according to user requests. In India, ZipGo is also experiencing rapid growth, and has opened lines in major Indian metropolises (Bombay, Bangalore, Jaipur or New Dehli). Anyone who has ever taken transport in India will understand why this startup is so successful with educated and urbanized Indian youth. The startup even offers a service reserved for women [5] which is very popular to face the insecurity in the public space.. In addition, ZipGo is also giving a speech in favour of de-cluttering roads and environmental awareness, which will be a major challenge for this growing country. While ZipGo was banned in Bangalore by the local government [6], it received strong support from its users and was able to continue the expansion of its service.


The Chinese transport market is also a battleground for many companies because of its astronomical potential. One of the biggest players in this market is Didi Bus, a private bus service that can be booked via the Internet, launched by Didi Chuxing, the chauffeur driven cars leader in China. Didi Bus already claimed an impressive 500,000 users shortly after its launch in October 2015 [7], and a very strong growth potential. As in the case of ZipGo, Didi Bus takes advantage of a very poor and inefficient public transport offer to settle in this market.

What about France?

For the moment, initiatives on commuting remain timid in France and Europe. In Paris and in the major French cities, there are various local instant carpooling services (Wayzup, OuiHop or CityGoo in the Ile-de-France for example), which are likened to a 2.0 hitchhiking model. These services aim to establish regular use by drivers and passengers, but require a very large number of drivers and passengers in order to successfully balance supply and demand.

In addition to these collaborative services, there are “classic” chauffeur driven car offerings, competing with taxis and aiming for more irregular use. Few people can afford to take an Uber every morning to go to work. With the Padam Mobility service, we are halfway between these players, offering a regular-use transport offer based on professional drivers.


The ZipGo experience stands in stark contrast to the usual image of transport in India

Why make the choice to offer public transport when in France, and especially in Ile-de-France, where the transport offer is much more developed than in the United States or in emerging countries? We started from a rather simple observation: there is a regular and cheap public transport offer in Ile-de-France (because subsidized, let’s not forget), with extensive geographical coverage, and one (relatively) good quality of service.

The only alternative so far is the personal car (and by extension short-distance carpooling). Why not offer a second level of service in public transport, aimed at more demanding users? To provide them a private offer that would co-exist and complement the existing public offer?

If we draw a parallel with long-distance journeys, the diversification of transport offers is much more obvious: there are both “premium” offers, comfortable, fast but expensive (airplane, TGV), and more “low cost” offers (long bus Ouigo trains) or offers based on the principle of collaborative consumption (of the BlablaCar type). These offers are aimed at different types of users with different needs and expectations. Why not do the same for short distance saves?









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