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How Padam Mobility is revolutionising the way people move in all territories

territories

In peri-urban and rural areas, travel opportunities are often very limited. Demand is too low or too scattered, territories are too large or too convoluted, needs and use cases are too different: proposing a unified mobility offer while responding to the multiple specificities of one or more territories is complicated. To overcome this difficulty, Padam Mobility allows to flexibly manage, within the same platform, different Demand-Responsive mobility services operated by one or more transit operators in one or more territories.

Bypassing obstacles to the development of shared mobility in peri-urban and rural areas

If the so-called “alternative” mobility offers, which aim to encourage modal shift and to break away from the still very dominant private car model, try to find their place in the peripheries […], the low density of the urban fabric makes the task logically more difficult than in the urban centres – where the threshold effect necessary for the operation of some modes (car sharing, car pooling) is obviously easier to achieve […]. While there are many signs of the emergence of alternative forms of mobility in peri-urban areas, this does not yet seem to be sufficient to switch to non-automobile lifestyles.

Marc Dumont, professor of urban planning at the University of Lille in “Alternative mobilities remain a complementary mobility, not a substitution mobility”.

Aware of these obstacles to the development of shared mobility, Padam Mobility teams have developed their Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) solutions around a “multi-territories” architecture. Unique on the market, it allows the flexible management of different DRT services that do not share or only partially share certain characteristics within the same platform.

Managing several territories, shared mobility services or transit operators under a unified brand name

Multi-territories” particularly responds to the constraints of Public Transport Authorities operating in several zones or in a multi-operated territory by making it possible to adapt the parameters of the services  their challenges.

Thus, in front of the multitude of use cases in the Paris region, explained in part by its 12,000 km2 surface area, “multi-territories” has emerged as a relevant response for coordinating the DRT supply on a regional scale. A unique platform has been designed for Île-de-France Mobilités (Paris region Public Transport Authority). It is gradually being expanded to include DRT services specific to one or more areas. In 2022, thanks to the “multi-territories”, the regional platform will be able to manage nearly 60,000 bookings per month (compared to 12,000 at present), spread over 40 territories (compared to 23 at present) and operated by more than 8 different transit operators.

Multi-Multi-territories architecture: several territories, several services, a single solution
Multi-territories architecture: several territories, several services, a single solution
Multi-territories architecture: users can select their territory in a single click in their mobile app
Multi-territories architecture: users can select their territory in a single click in their mobile app

Among its assets, the “multi-territories” architecture offers :

  • A single brand name and a single interface for all users, guaranteeing a unified and consistent user experience. By deploying a single application, under a single brand, across several territories, the transport authority simplifies its communication and reduces its user acquisition costs.
  • Single points of contact
  • The guarantee of true independence from local transit operators
  • Total control of the data collected for better transparency and neutrality
  • Optimised control of operating and service extension costs
Multi-territories architecture: several territories, a single service, a single solution
Multi-territories architecture: several territories, a single service, a single solution

The “multi-territories” allows all types of configurations. This is possible at any time of the day or year.

It is totally conceivable that on one or more territories, a Demand-Responsive service is offered to the active population by proposing a minibus service that feeds transport nodes or activity areas during rush hour. During the day, off-peak times, the service can be mutualised with a paratransit offer and improves travel for junior and senior citizens. In the evenings and at night, fleets of vehicles with a lower capacity replace those of minibuses and strengthen the night-time mobility offer, targeting students in particular.

During the school and summer holidays, the service is readjusted to serve leisure facilities or to reinforce the service to local tourist sites. In a context of health crisis, the service facilitates the travels of health workers to and from hospitals on specific time slots or itineraries to avoid any risk of contagion.

Anything becomes possible.

Multi-territories architecture: a single territory, several services, a single solution
Multi-territories architecture: a single territory, several services, a single solution
Deploy new services or territories gradually and easily

While the configuration and management of multiple services on a single platform is one of the main advantages of the “multi-territories”, the ability to configure and deploy new services or territories gradually with ease and without redeployment is undoubtedly its main strength. Thus, a Public Transport Authority may very well decide to create an offer in a first area and then extend it to other territories without its users having to update their application to benefit from these new services. The user benefits at all times from a single access point to several service offers.

Another advantage is that it is particularly easy to parameterise one territory differently from another (e.g. booking deadlines or booking modification deadlines, re-routing rates, type of vehicles, service hours, etc.). Extensions of existing services or newly created services make it possible to easily adapt to changes in territories and to respond almost immediately to the needs of the users.

 

Find out more about Padam Mobility

This article might interest you: Making your municipal project a reality with Demand-Responsive Transport

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One step closer to MaaS in Lille

Un pas de plus vers le MaaS à Lille

Keolis Lille, the transit operator of the Illévia public transport network in the Lille metropolitan area, has just integrated Padam Mobility‘s Demand-Responsive Transport solution into its Illévia mobile app. This integration has been done in the application through the Navitia multimodal trip planner, developed by Kisio Digital. It is one more step towards Mobility As A Service (MaaS) in Lille.

The integration now allows any user to complete its trip on all modes (including Demand-Responsive Transport) at once for a seamless travel to its destination.

The MaaS at the service of the user experience

The integration meets the desire of Kisio and Padam Mobility’s mutual clients to integrate all modes of transportation following a MaaS logic. The Ilévia mother app offers a complete mobility package enabling trips booking from other shared mobility apps such as carpooling or Demand-Responsive Transport like Ilévia Réservation.

The user experience is considerably more flexible. The user can access the entire available transportation offer in a matter of seconds and can compare itineraries to choose his best travel option. Traveling is seamless to the final destination.

This first integration of the Padam Mobility DRT solution in Lille in the Illevia app facilitates access to this new modes of transportation for its inhabitants. The excellent collaboration between the Padam Mobility and Kisio Digital teams enabled us to move quickly. Following a logic of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), the integration of the solutions of the new mobility major stakeholders in our Navitia trip planner is an important area of development to give users more choice by combining more and more means of travel”.

Malik Chebragui, Products and Operations Director at Kisio Digital

Another perk for the users: they no longer need to know precisely the mode of operation or the service area of the DRT service on which to carry out part of their travels, since only the relevant itineraries are suggested. They also no longer need to know the exact name of the closest stops to their destination address.

Boost ridership

For the Lille metropolitan area, the new integration enables it to make its entire mobility offer, including DRT, more visible, which should boost ridership rates.

It is essential for a company like us to design accessible interfaces. For our clients, this is a fundamental advantage that allows them to make their transportation offer more legible and visible”.

Ziad Khoury, Co-founder and COO Padam Mobility

From a technical point of view, the integration is made possible thanks to deeplinking, which allows the Ilévia mother app to query the Ilévia TAD réservation app, to generate Origin-Destination (OD) searches and to automatically make bookings on the sections served by the DRT and whose use is relevant to the requested trip.

Ensuring a better access to transport in rural areas

Access to a seamless mobility that unites, without opposing them, all the possible modes of transportation makes it possible to facilitate travel for all, providing a solution to spatial and social inequalities and to the climate emergency.

A step closer to the MaaS in Lille

 

The MAAS in Helsinki, the pioneer of a new urban mobility?

Find out more about Padam Mobility solutions

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[Forum] Why should public transport become stronger (than ever) despite social distancing?

Transports publics should become stronger despite social distancing

Covid-19 has disrupted the mobility sector more than any startup ever has. I am offering a brief and personal analysis of what happened, choices that lay ahead of us and why public transport should become stronger despite social distancing. At a time where we are slowly digesting health guidelines, we have historical decisions to make to ensure that the future of mobility, our future, is sustainable.

The initial blow

The entire mobility sector has taken a serious blow in the past two months. Under lockdown, people’s movements have decreased by 50% to 80% (depending on countries’ guidelines), our usually congested cities were emptied of cars and pedestrians alike. Both well established companies and unicorns yesterday considered as the future of mobility – especially Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) – were brought to their knees. Uber’s e-scooter sharing business Jump was quickly merged with the Lime, for a fraction of their pre-coronavirus valuation, incidentally sending tens of thousands of e-bikes to ‘recycling’. 100-year old car rental company Hertz filed for bankruptcy (Chapter 11) in the US, and the European leader of car-sharing Drivy, just months after being acquired by US-based Getaround, turned to the Paris Commercial Court to obtain its support, as a “preventive measure”. Car-sharing, scooter-sharing were supposed to lead the way to a world free of private cars to reduce our carbon footprint.

Some services were actually helpful to cope with the virus situation”.

Public transit too was strongly affected but so far managed to resist the first wave. Thanks to balanced public-private business models, relying on long-term contracts, public transit stakeholders are more resilient than other businesses. Even under the sternest lockdown measures, PT services were still considered as essential. There is to my knowledge no major public transit operator which declared bankrupt, nor have public authorities stated that public transit would be significantly downsized in the future. Some services, such as Demand-Responsive Transit, were actually helpful to cope with the virus situation: the “Night Bus” service in Padua, Italy (powered by Padam Mobility) was turned into a day service and increased ridership. Berlkönig in Berlin, also focused on night mobility, was extended for the benefit of health workers.

Post-lockdown prolonged effects on modal shares

Having labelled all these events as “Impacts of the Covid-19 crisis”, it is tempting to think that things will just go back to normal. In many ways, the crisis may have just accelerated trends which were already there. However, I think we should not underestimate how the coronavirus has single-handedly disrupted our vision of mobility, and maybe not for the better.

While European cities are witnessing the same behaviour, authorities also get that coronavirus may wipe out a decade of efforts to detox their citizens from private cars”.

During the first weeks of lifting social distancing measures, we have contemplated that a major shift was happening in modal share of mobility. Public transit is the place where you meet a lot of strangers. A full quarter of media and public obsession about health precautions (which, to a certain extent, was unavoidable) has convinced us that ‘stranger’ rhymes with ‘danger’. Bloomberg quotes Jason Rogers (Nashville, US): “I have no interest in getting on the bus or a ridesharing system unless I’m in a hazmat suit”. The result speaks for itself: in China – first to lift lockdown measures, the ridership of public transit is 35% below normal and congestion is already above 2019 average. The US are reporting a similar trend already.

While European cities are witnessing the same behaviour, authorities also get that coronavirus may wipe out a decade of efforts to detox their citizens from private cars. They had just a bit more time than China to anticipate and devised a few strategies. Betting on bikes is one of them: French Government claims 1,000 km of temporary bicycle lanes have been created and is working to permanently maintain them. The UK are investing up to £2B on “once-in-a-generation” plan to boost walking and cycling. Another interesting move is Athens banning cars from a large part of its city center for 3 months (and maybe more).

Will this be sufficient? These investments are much welcome, but the modal share of cycling has remained flat under 2% in the UK in the past decade and is estimated at about 3% in France. A 10% long-term reduction of ridership in public transit would be sufficient to level the impact of more people cycling. We can still fear a major shift from public transit to cars. In France, which hosts 3 of the handful of worldwide public transport operators (Transdev, Keolis, RATP), representatives of the sector have fought hard – but not very successfully – to avoid strict social distancing measures onboard metros and buses and to rely on masks as the main sanitary measure.

In the end, Transport for London (TfL) did not solve the dilemma of prioritizing congestion or health issues, they raised both the congestion tax on cars and the fares of public transit. At least TfL will not go bankrupt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Rystadenery

Psychological impact

Even now that the French Ministry is considering softening these measures, it is impossible to predict the magnitude of the psychological impact on how people choose their mode of transport. There are precedents: terrorist attacks in Madrid (2004) and London (2005), which targeted public transit, or Paris (2015) which targeted the “night life”. In each case, public transportation actually recovered in a matter of months. The issue is not the same, though: with the virus, it is more public transit itself and its riders which are the objects of people’s fear. We have also been exposed to the social distancing message for much longer and it may last until we have a vaccine.

Sure, people have talked a lot about the crisis as an opportunity to shift to a new trajectory for our civilization, towards decarbonation and resilience. But I hear the same people say: “No way I’m using the train at the moment, I’ll just drive.” As I don’t know much about sociology, I’ll quote an expert in very long adventures, Sylvain Tesson, telling about his travel by foot from Siberia to India: “If I say that I plan to walk all  the way to Mongolia, nobody minds a such abstract goal, but if I claim that I will reach the other side of the mountain, everyone on this side will rebel. […] Because it is what we know best, we fear more what is close to us than what is still far away.” We fear the virus more than climate change.

Sorting our priorities

Climate change and resource depletion are still the two biggest problems that we face worldwide. When the virus hit, we were able to go under lockdown as a last resort to mitigate the effects of the virus. There will be no immediate actions similar to a lockdown that we will be able to take when we face record droughts killing entire crops, when coastal areas inhabited by tens of millions of people are flooded by a combination of sea level rise and extreme weather events.

We will not see flying cars, we will see more low-energy mobility and we should prepare for it”.

 A key fact that I’ve realized few people know is the inertia and latency of GHE-induced climate change. When we added more than 100ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, we committed to hundreds of years of rising temperatures, that is, even if our emissions drop to zero tomorrow. The trajectory of our CO2 emissions will change the magnitude of the climate change, but with a 20-year latency. Managing our emissions now starts to make a difference in 2040. In other words, we will not be able to prevent these issues in 2040, by then we will be late by 20 years (this is 4 French presidential terms, 5 US ones).


Global temperature change predictions based on GHG-scenarios of the IPCC.
Source: Climate model IPSL-CM61-LR

Another key fact going under the radar of public media is the depletion of oil, which powers ~98% of transportation. Oil production has grown strongly after the 2008 economic crisis (completely mindless of the above), but the growth came almost exclusively from the US ‘shale’ plays, while Russia and Saudi Arabia were able to offset the decline of older oil fields (starting with the North Sea in Europe). Before the coronavirus, some experts were already shifting their predictions for US production, stable in 2020 and growing again for at least a few years after. Russia had declared they would peak before 2025 and maybe sooner. Now, with the considerable blow to this industry, investments in new production have been widely cancelled and US oil fields declined rapidly. Some experts point that both US shale and Russia may have reached their peak, and at least will never see significant growth again (compared to 2019 levels). To better understand what this means for our economy, I recommend listening to independent experts of energy transition, The Shift Project. To cut it short: we will not see flying cars, nor mass production of 2.3 ton electric private cars, we will see more low-energy mobility and we should prepare for it.


According to Rystad, oil production and demand will still be under 2019 levels at the end of 2021.
Source: Rystadenergy

What to do?

The mission behind Padam Mobility, the company I co-founded, is “Taking care of shared mobility.” It means we expect less resources in the future, less public acceptance to emit greenhouse gases, but also that we do not give up on mobility. This will not be achieved through more efficient cars. The only way to solve this equation – apart from cycling probably – is to share vehicles more. There are many versions of that, good old public transport, Demand-Responsive Transit (as proposed by Padam Mobility), carpooling, vehicle-sharing economy (provided that it does not cannibalize public transport)… We can still do much more: make energy-efficient modes more convenient and cheaper than the car in cities and suburbs, force all taxis and ride-hailing vehicles in cities to be shared, re-think our streets primarily for public transport, transform our economy to rely less on the jobs of the car-making industry.

Let us follow the health guidelines, wear masks, skip unnecessary travel and take other necessary measures to avoid a new significant wave of coronavirus infections. But let us also trust people around us, learn to share more what can be shared, solve issues in a collaborative way. Our freedom and ability to move in the future depend on that. Just like wearing masks saves lives today, using and promoting public transport today preserves our society in 2040 and beyond.

It is a time to be ambitious about public transportation.

 

Grégoire Bonnat – Co-founder & CEO, Padam Mobility

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4 essential steps for a demand responsive transport 2/2: Extending the service and integrating new use cases

essential steps for a demand responsive transport

The efficiency and success of a demand responsive transport (DRT) service is based on several steps. In this article, we will discuss the two other essential steps to the implementation of an efficient dynamic demand responsive transport service: the extension of the service and the technical and new use case integrations. essential steps for a demand responsive transport

What is a dynamic DRT?

The aim of a dynamic DRT is to rationalise public transport by adapting supply more closely to demand with more interesting economic and ecological benefits. Vehicles, reserved via a mobile application, a website or a call centre, replace underused or non-existent fixed lines. Their route is optimised thanks to algorithms.

Step 3: Service extension

The service extension stage is a move to scale aimed at perpetuating DRT to make it a structuring element of the mobility offer in the area in which it operates, to overcome the weaknesses of the existing transport network or to rethink the area’s public transport service plan by opening up poorly connected areas.

This step is used to identify the areas and use cases that best lend themselves to DRT in order to replicate the DRT model. It enables a “tools” strategy to be defined and implemented, following integration logics aimed mainly at replacing deficient fixed lines and/or converting under-utilised services.

The main challenges in extending the service are based on the method of acquiring the DRT software (calls for tender, over-the-counter, etc.), the balance with the rest of the network, integration with the existing network and its tools, performance monitoring and consolidation of service quality criteria.

What indicators should be taken into account at this stage?

  • The same as those of the pilot (step 2)
  • Acquisition, retention, use, mileage and knowledge of users.

 What questions should be asked before moving on to the next step?

  • Are there other needs or cases of unaddressed uses?
  • What is the capacity to replicate the service operationally in other areas, possibly with different operations or use cases?

Find out more about the service extension set up for Ile-de-France Mobilités by Padam Mobility

Step 4: technical integrations and new use cases

The principle of technical integrations: 

  • Adding new use cases to the existing ADP platform at marginal cost and benefiting from their advantages. In particular, this makes it possible to pool operating and management costs (vehicles, drivers, etc.).
  • To meet specific needs (e.g. transport of healthcare personnel in the event of a health crisis, substitution services in the event of works, occasional / event transport).

Cases of use that can be integrated:

  • Other shared public transport: TPMR, school transport, evening service in stations without reservation, airport shuttles, etc.
  • Occasional transport: transport of healthcare staff in the event of a health crisis, substitute services in the event of works, occasional / event transport (e.g. a concert or football match).

Technical integrations are used to make TAD a brick perfectly integrated in your MaaS (Mobility as a Service) vision. As an aggregator of mobility solutions, it aims to offer individuals the opportunity to visualize their journeys from end to end regardless of the type of transport used (public/private, shared, soft, mass, etc.).

In practice:

  • DRT platform integrates with the local MaaS and allows users to complete their public transit trips with DRT.
  • The TAD itself integrates with the network, synchronizing with train schedules for example.
  • Finally, other transport solutions exist, such as carpooling, bike sharing, car sharing, taxis/VTC etc. The TAD can be combined with these other forms of transport to complete its offer when it becomes saturated. For example, the TAD platform can offer carpooling or taxi/VTC alternatives when no TAD is available in the next half hour, and vice versa.

Learn more about the integration of MaaS in Padam Mobility solutions

Our experience in ADP design, configuration and optimization leads us to the observation of these 4 steps that we consider to be a good factor of success and efficiency of an ADP service. The success of an ADP service mainly includes user satisfaction with the service. In all cases, the best approach to adopt always consists in getting in touch with a dynamic ADP professional who will be best able to advise you in the implementation of your service.

Learn more about the two other essential step 1/2

 

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4 essential steps for an effective demand-responsive transport: the feasibility study and the pilot

étapes essentielles pour transport à la demande

The efficiency and success of a Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) service is based on several steps. In this article, we will discuss the first two essential steps for an effective DRT: the feasibility study and its simulations, and then the pilot.

What is a dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport?

The aim of a dynamic DRT is to rationalise public transport by fine-tuning supply to demand with more interesting economic and ecological benefits. Vehicles, reserved via a mobile application, a website or a call centre, replace under-used or non-existent fixed lines. Their route is optimised thanks to algorithms.

Step 1: the feasibility study and the simulations

The goal of the feasibility study is to understand the operation and use of DRT on a territory and to question its rationality from an economic point of view. It is used to define supply and demand scenarios, obtain reliable performance indicators, and understand how these evolve according to the different scenarios defined.

The simulations, preferably taken from the DRT platform, make it possible to put figures on the different scenarios based on reservation data, demographic data, transport surveys or telephone data, making it possible to anonymously track journeys within a territory. The simulations operate in-vivo and also make it possible to validate the economic relevance of the service, to ensure the correct configuration of the offer and to identify the risks.

What indicators should be taken into account at this stage?

  • Quality of service: waiting time, percentage of requests served and average detour rate: how do users feel about the quality of service? Are they satisfied enough to re-use the service on a regular basis?  
  • Cost of service: number of people per hour per vehicle per trip, mileage, number of vehicles used and maximum vehicle occupancy rate.

What questions should be asked before moving on to the next step?

  • Is the service financially sustainable and acceptable to the community?
  • Is the project politically tenable?
  • Will users and operational teams agree to host an innovative project such as DRT?

Read more about the feasibility study and simulations carried out for Aviapolis (Helsinki, Finland) by Padam Mobility

Step 2: the pilot

The pilot, whose watchword is agility, is used to test, measure and iterate over short cycles. The pilot is used to validate the relevance of the new DRT service for the need for mobility, the digital transition to a SaaS tool and the strategies and means of communication with the population. It also makes it possible to test the uses of DRT and to understand the issues involved (traction, quality of service, operational handling, etc.).

What indicators should be taken into account at this stage?

  • Quantitative data: number of visitors, distribution of the reservation application & website VS call centre, number of passengers per vehicle and per commercial trip, quality of service.
  • Qualitative data: human transition and change management, satisfaction surveys.
  • Network balance: frequentation of non DRT lines that pass nearby.

What questions should be asked before moving on to the next stage?

  • What is the trend? Is it stable?
  • How is the economic balance of the service?
  • What is the capacity to replicate the service operationally in other areas, possibly with different operations or uses? 

Learn more about the pilot carried out for Keolis in Orleans by Padam Mobility

Find out how to build an efficient DRT

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Padam Mobility joins Drive Sweden

Drive Sweden
Padam Mobility joins Drive Sweden and is now partner of the Swedish program

Launched by the Swedish government, Drive Sweden is a strategic innovation program funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Innovation Agency. Its objective: to feed and animate a cross-functional and inter-professional collaboration platform to push the development of sustainable mobility solutions for goods and people.

A solid network of partners to co-construct the mobility of tomorrow

By joining Drive Sweden, Padam Mobility affirms its commitment to the research, development and perpetuation of shared, smart, efficient and connected mobility solutions that are sustainable, inclusive and accessible.

The company joins a network of partners including the biggest actors in the transport and innovation industry (Keolis, Volvo, Bombardier, Easymile, etc.). The program brings together more than 50 actors of different activities: public authorities, cities, academics and a wide variety of companies and start-ups. It creates favorable conditions for collaboration between partners and facilitates the identification of needs and challenges to be resolved in terms of the mobility of goods and people through five themes: Society Planning, Digital Infrastructure, Policy Development, Business Model and Public Engagement.

Padam Mobility will keep consolidating its know-how and will contribute to bring an innovative approach to mobility issues during regular public events. In addition to these events, its teams will be involved in workshops and think tanks on smart mobility, electric mobility, autonomous mobility (in particular the Autonomous Demand-Responsive Transport), MaaS and mobility in peri-urban and rural areas.

Read more about Drive Sweden

Find out more about Padam Mobility

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How to build an efficient Demand-Responsive Transport? The service design 2/3

Designing demand-responsive transport

The success of a DRT service rely on several pillars. In this second article, we will discuss the importance of service design when designing Demand-Responsive Transport. Even if dynamic DRT works with algorithms that make route decisions autonomously, the logic of building the offer (different from the scheduling / dressing used for fixed lines) requires a few choices to be made.

Designing Demand-Responsive Transport: the right questions

What is to be served?

We recommand to rely on demand and to define the areas (origin-destinations) that you would like to serve with DRT. Answering this question is not always easy, however, there is some data you can use:

  • Data from an existing service
  • Historical data on fixed lines
  • Travel surveys
  • Data from your national statistics bureau
  • Data from telephone operators, etc.

Which service for which purpose?

The aim here is to define the quality of service you want to achieve. These goals vary according to the context. For example, in a dense area, it may be interesting to offer a reservation at the latest 5 or 10 minutes before departure, or even in real time. In a less densely populated area, the focus may be more on the frequency of daily trips or the guarantee of interconnection with other modes of transport. For a company, one might even think about a guaranteed arrival time at the company’s location.

Which service model should be implemented?

Once the DRT’s goals are identified, the service model must be set. Several models exist, here are some of them:

  • The zonal model: this is the simplest and most applied model. It is also called “freefloating”. It involves defining a specific area in which vehicles will operate. Pick-up and drop-off within this zone is directly managed by the algorithm according to demand, with or without additional constraints. In Melun, the service model allows to take the DRT from and to any point of the area.

In Clamart, DRT vehicles ride without restrictions throughout the entire perimeter of the service, with a few stops at mandatory times.

  • The feeder model: it is based on the zonal model, with additional constraint. This model allows users to be picked up in a delimited zone and impose the vehicle to go to a given point at a specific time, even if the vehicle’s route is flexible. For example, a stop at the train station may be mandatory at 8.00 a.m. because a train stops there at 8.10 a.m. This model is used in the context of intermodality (interfacing with other ways of transport). It’s one of the biggest challenges of DRT, which is not intended to replace the existing network, but to complete the mobility offer. In Strasbourg, zonal DRT for journeys within the metropolitan area is added to DRT for journeys to reach tramways and bus stations.

  • The virtual line: the historical model which respects the classical lines, but which stops only when there is a request.

How to optimize the grouping rate ?

There is no exact answer to this question because it depends on the context of implementation and use cases. Supply and demand will greatly contribute to providing a solution. For a given demand, the consequences will not be the same according to the number of vehicles available. Moreover, technical optimisation will impact the rate of groupage: frequency of journeys, authorised detours, etc…

Almost all of today’s dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport solutions offer simulations that allow the comparison of different scenarios by playing with various parameters to find a solution with the optimal estimated grouping rate.

Is the DRT service understandable to the user?

It’s always tempting to embark on a highly technical approach to achieve a highly optimized and intelligent service configuration. However, this configuration may in fact be too complex to be understood by users who will not want to use it. In order to design an efficient Demand-responsive Transport, it is better to design a service that is slightly less optimised from a technical point of view, but which is widely used because understood by the public.

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Between reality and science fiction: Will Demand-Responsive Transport be autonomous?

Autonomous Demand-Responsive Transport

Will Demand-Responsive Transport be autonomous? The Demand-Responsive autonomous vehicle has a unique disruption potential. Given the very many ongoing projects with equipment manufacturers and GAFAs, its implementation is almost palpable. However, if the technology on which Demand-Responsive Transport is based is now perfectly mastered, autonomy adds an additional operating complexity, especially in sparsely populated areas. Explanations.

Autonomous Demand-Responsive: current projects

Autonomous Demand-Responsive Transport is a transformational innovation that mobilizes many companies, startups and large groups.

Freight transportation: it will still take time before it democratizes but its potential is gigantic thanks to the growth of the e-commerce (remember that Amazon has its own freight airline which is constantly developing). If tomorrow we can do without a driver or pilot for all or part of the journey, carriers will then be able to gain in costs and flexibility. To achieve this, Boeing is launching with its subsidiary Boeing HorizonX, Tesla is making the buzz with its cybertruck and Thales is developing autonomous trains.

Intra-campus mobility: this is a subject which is operational and which is already working in a real situation, as the Belgian example shows with the site of the Solvay company. The objective is to complete the existing offer to set up shuttles in a university campus, a hospital site, a research center or a park. The route is standardized and involves few risks and interactions with other vehicles. We can also mention autonomous delivery vehicles, as it is the case in Virginia on the George Mason University campus which authorized 25 delivery robots capable of delivering meals to students. At any time, they drive on the sidewalks, avoid obstacles and pedestrians, and only the person who placed the order can access their meal inside the robot.

People transportation: Most GAFAs invest in it. On the Alphabet side, the parent company of Google, it is its subsidiary Waymo which works on it. However, this still only affects a few areas of the city of Phoenix in the United States. Many other startups are working on the subject, including the French Navya, Prophesee and AV Simulation, in particular on software management, artificial intelligence, cameras, detectors and other radars that will make these vehicles live.

Can we really do it without drivers?

Spoiler alert: no. At least not in the short or medium term. But before going into details, you have to understand what is meant by autonomous vehicle with levels which can be variable:

  • Level 1 is the minimum degree of autonomy which is characterized by the simple presence of a cruise control in a conventional vehicle.
  • Level 2 adds intelligent sensors which slow the vehicle down according to the behavior of other vehicles and which force it to stay within the limits of the traffic lanes. The driver must always have his hands on the steering wheel.
  • Level 3 allows the vehicle to control acceleration, deceleration and direction, but the driver must be ready to take over when needed.
  • Level 4 authorizes driving autonomously in certain situations known by the vehicle, such as a long journey on the highway for example, or in certain cities that are particularly well mapped and connected. But as soon as the vehicle leaves this zone, the driver must take over.
  • Level 5 does not need a human driver. The vehicle does everything, all on its own, and does not need a steering wheel. The latest example to date is the Cruise developed by a GM subsidiary in the United States, but which remains in prototype form.

Today, all the experiments require an operator on board, which kills the promise of an autonomous public transport, both from a technological point of view and from a financial point of view. On the other hand, in the current context, nobody is yet ready to accept a driverless journey, even less when it comes to collective public transport. In the United States, half of Americans think that autonomous cars are more dangerous than traditional cars. A situation which may change in the future, but which means accepting to get in a driverless plane or to leave your children on a driverless school bus.

Autonomous and driverless Demand-Responsive Transport is a great promise on paper, because its model is very flexible. If the drivers disappearance is not yet up to date, this remains a goal for a lot of companies.. 

Autonomous vehicle on demand: the question of the “where” more than the “when”

The question of the availability of autonomous Demand-Responsive Transport is not temporal, but geographic. To say that the autonomous car will be available in 2025 or 2030 does not make sense, because it will not be able to drive itself everywhere or all the time. In some places, an autonomous car may only be so 20-30% of the time. Think in particular of urban hypercenters whose multiplicity of modes of transport could make the circulation of an autonomous vehicle incompatible in the short term. In low-density areas, frequent traffic on small, sometimes winding country roads and the many white areas (areas without internet connection) make it necessary to have a human on board. In addition to driving the Demand-Responsive Transport vehicle, it is often asked to the latter to know and master the territory in which the service is offered. Padam Mobility’s smart and dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport solutions mainly improve the mobility needs of the populations located just outside urban hypercenters. For these populations, and in particular the elderly with a precarious mobility, the contact with the driver of the vehicle still represents a highly valued human tie.

As specialists in artificial intelligence, the Padam Mobility teams of course remain in close connection with the autonomous vehicle environment and explore possible applications to the most relevant use cases.

 

See how to switch from Smart Mobility to Fair Mobility thanks to the Demand-Responsive Transport

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How to build an efficient Demand Responsive Transport? The user experience 1/3

user experience

The success of a Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) service rely on several pillars. In this article, we will dive deeper regarding the user experience after a brief reminder of what  a dynamic Demand Responsive Transport is.

What are the contexts in which dynamic Demand Responsive Transport is being implemented?

Dynamic DRT complements the traditional public transports when the latter cannot meet the demand, such as paratransit, or in low density areas, or during off-peak hours (night transport for example) or the transport of employees. In addition, DRT can enhance transport in more or less densely populated areas with its first and last mile logic, by reducing the number of stops on existing networks. In this case, it supports public transport services without competing with existing fixed lines.

The user experience: a key condition for the success of Demand Responsive Transport

Target your users

“Who will use your DRT?” That’s the key question. User profiles are various and each has its own specificities. The success of a DRT network will depend on your target and its needs. For example, for a senior population, it would be wiser to provide a call centre to make reservations rather than a mobile application only, which is less suited to the use of elderly people.

User experience: take care of passenger informations

The second key point to consider is passenger information to ensure an optimal user experience.

Unlike conventional transportation, if there is no real-time passenger information, a dynamic DRT service cannot work. Punctuality and the ability to provide accurate departure and arrival times are important for users. Many channels are available to share passenger informations: SMS, emails or push notifications on smartphones.

In addition, since the rise of ridesharing apps, users can now rate their journeys. This allows operators to get a real-time indication about the quality of their DRT service and to quickly consider improvements.

If you offer a mobile app, it is important to think about the interface in terms of quality rather than quantity. An application with few but useful features is better than an app whose multitude of features will only confuse users.

User experience: Which payment methods?

The implementation of fast payment methods improves the user experience. For many transport operators, on-demand transport is integrated into the existing network. It is therefore relevant to propose a ticketing solution similar to the one used on the rest of the network.

A prepayment solution makes it possible to improve user loyalty. It allows an amount to be credited into the user’s account, which will be debited each time the service is used. Pre-payment solutions usually go along with promotional campaigns to stimulate the use of the service (e.g. pay for 10 journeys, be credited with 11).

Other payment methods exist but remain marginal due to the complexity of their logistics. This is the case of post-payment, which involves setting up a collection service, or instant payment, which is still very expensive since transaction costs are expensive compared to the small amounts paid.

 

Learn more: How to build an efficient Demand Responsive Transport? The service design 2/3

Access Padam Mobility’s Webinar replay: How to build an efficient Demand-Responsive Transport?

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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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