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Mobility-as-a-Service and DRT : towards a sustainable platform

Mobility-as-as-service

Mobility-as-a-Service is perhaps the trendiest concept in the mobility sector. This concept, sometimes misused, tends to be associated with the image of an ultra-connected city, with a wide range of infrastructures and innovative transport offers, while sometimes ignoring the suburban areas.

However, MaaS should be a way to promote sustainable and inclusive mobility, by highlighting public transport and shared mobility offers.

Integrating Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT), a recognized solution for serving low-density areas, into a more comprehensive MaaS solution that includes areas such as peri-urban and rural areas would be a real paradigm shift in terms of equal access to mobility services.

Mobility-as-a-service: innovating for better decision-making

MaaS allows users to access all available modes of transport (train, bus, tramway, DRT, bike, e-scooter, ride-hailing, walking…) on the same mobile app with a focus on intermodality and multimodality, and on reducing the use of polluting modes of transport such as individual cars.

As the vehicle autonomy classification, MaaS presents several levels of integration of transport offers.  These levels increasingly assist the user’s mobility. Ideally, the aim is to offer a fully integrated multimodal experience, without any rupture, and with a single ticket (level 5/5).

The Mobility-as-a-Service initiative : a multidimensional opportunity for public authorities

  • For Public Transport Authorities (PTAs), MaaS is a powerful public policy tool. It must ensure the common interest in the use and control of territories, and propose an improved model of urban and suburban public transport. MaaS is also a valuable tool to ensure that new mobility offers are complementary to public transport, rather than in competition with it.
  • It is in the best interest of public authorities to adopt an active attitude towards MaaS. Why? To achieve goals in reducing private car use and pollution, and to ensure that public transportation infrastructure is the backbone of the service.

Beyond the cities, Mobility-as-a-Service must provide peri-urban areas with access to relevant mobility solutions.

Integration of Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) in MaaS : a step forward towards a sustainable MaaS

Integrating DRT into a more global MaaS that includes sparsely populated areas such as peri-urban and rural areas highlights the need to address the mobility disparity between large urban areas and the rest of the territory.

DRT facilitates economic and social inclusion

The DRT developed by Padam Mobility in low-density suburban areas is a great opportunity in territories in need of a new impetus. It allows operators to optimize bus journeys in these areas to meet non-uniform demand.

The objective ? Reduce the polarity of transportation networks around major cities and connect remote areas to existing infrastructures  to facilitate access to dynamic areas and employment hubs, for example.

Promoting responsible MaaS also means considering all types of user profiles (working people, students, elderly people, people with disabilities, etc.) and their specific needs. It also means offering alternatives to digital technology for users who do not have a smartphone.

DRT is able to address these needs :

  • by providing services accessible to people with reduced mobility (PRM), tailored to different types of populations (young, active or senior)
  • by allowing reservations via several channels, including those addressed to less connected users.

Increased flexibility to meet changing mobility habits

A more global Maas must address the need to make transport more flexible, whether it is public or active (cycling, walking). Travel reduction, teleworking, e-shopping, the health crisis is a catalyst of this trend. The solution delivered by DRT emphasizes the need for more flexible public transport at the dawn of a profound change in mobility habits.

More data sharing between MaaS and DRT system for a successful integration

Data sharing between different transport operators supports the inclusion of DRT in MaaS initiatives. From this perspective, the greater amount of data exchanged provides accurate information for public policy and continuous improvement of services and infrastructure.

Mobility-as-a-Service and DRT in Germany: integration is in progress

DB Regio, a Deutsche Bahn subsidiary (one of the main transport operators in Germany), is restructuring its rural transport offer around Mobility-as-a-service. In order to rethink the DRT brick and adapt it to the challenges of rurality, DB Regio selected Padam Mobility to deploy its DRT solution WDW NOW in Rhineland-Palatinate, a rural state in the southwest of Germany. A partnership with the company Hacon, has facilitated the integration of Padam Mobility’s DRT solution into the overall local mobility offer, in an inclusive MaaS approach :

“One of the most persuasive aspects of the service is its inclusiveness, as it addresses the needs of different population groups especially those who do not have easy access to mobility options, such as people with reduced mobility. In addition, the different booking options cover all age groups : young people are used to make reservations via the app, while older people prefer to talk to a “real person.”

Gerd Overbeck, Head of New Mobility Services at Hacon

Other integrations have been made, such as in Lille, France (Keolis-Padam Mobility).

This article might interest you : MaaS : a rapidly changing transport industry

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DRT optimisation : without the guarantee of advanced booking, no efficient route optimisation

DRT optimisation

If your DRT tool does not optimise bookings in advance, it doesn’t really optimise your service. An interface that provides relevant routes in seconds in response to a booking request: that’s the promise of the Dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport for users.

A few seconds is the maximum the user is willing to wait for a result. At Padam Mobility, we allow ourselves a delay of 3 seconds, which is already a lot. But there are two ways of optimising a journey:

  • In real time, we have 3 seconds to assign a vehicle and insert a new route within a multitude of routes already planned. The exact time of this new booking will be adjusted by a few minutes between the booking and the departure.
  • If the reservation is made in advance – at least 24 hours in advance – a new world of DRT optimisation possibilities opens up ahead of the algorithms that calculate the routes.

Demand-Responsive Transport optimisation : exponential calculation times

On a given territory, the time needed to optimise each new route increases exponentially. The 20th journey may take 10 times longer to optimise than the 10th. The 100th will take an unacceptable amount of time to find the perfect route in real time.

This is why opening reservations in advance increases the optimisation capabilities of your service tenfold. The platform will be able to insert the last journeys, those booked in real time, into a service that is already optimised.

For a classic Demand-Responsive Transport  service, it is almost mathematically impossible to achieve perfect optimisation. A service that would serve 50 daily trips would take more than a month to define the ideal itinerary with the current algorithms. We carry out our calculations in the days preceding the journeys in order to arrive at a result where the deviation from the optimal result is less than 1%. That is why everything that is booked in advance saves kilometres of travel, thus time for the drivers, for the users, and CO² for the planet. 

DRT optimisation : Improving the occupancy rate

It is even useful to encourage users to book in advance when they can, because the more the service is optimised, the more it accepts passengers who booked in real time. According to a study made by Padam Mobility, 38%  of Public Authorites and Transport Operators said the main problem with their DRT was the occupancy rate, the benefit becomes decisive. The service will run faster, travel fewer kilometres, and consume less fuel.

Below, you can see a theoretical evolution of the occupancy rate according to the proportion of advance bookings.

DRT optimisation

It is preferable to avoid reaching 100% to enable users who have no choice to find a place on the same day. A balance must be found to not saturate the service in advance.

Padam Mobility works on all use cases of Demand-Responsive Transport, which can be adapted in various ways according to the reservations. If there are few reservations for night services, as in Padua, the algorithmic optimisation in advance achieves excellent results on services designed with a zonal algorithm (which takes unconditional reservations in a predefined area), or on a feeder service around a station.

Peri-urban services such as in Orleans or Sophia Antipolis take full advantage of it because many journeys, school or home-to-work, are recurrent.

If your DRT tool only promises real-time optimisation, your margin for progress, both in terms of occupancy and operating expenses, is immense. Be careful, accepting bookings in advance and optimising them are two different things. Some tools allow them but only process them in real time.

Contact us to evaluate what you are currently losing.

Other tools only offer bookings in advance: we will come back to the gains obtained through real-time optimisation in the near future. A good DRT service should offer both by default.

 

This article might interest you : Demand-Responsive Transport: explore and leverage the data generated by your service

Find out more about Padam Mobility.

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Demand-Responsive Transport: explore and leverage the data generated by your service

Transport à la Demande

Smart Demand-Responsive Transport and Paratransit services generate very useful data. This data is essential for adapting the on-demand transport offer to the users’ mobility needs and to the challenges of the territories.  

Collecting data in order to better organise the offer and improve services on an ongoing basis

Thanks to a dedicated management interface, transport operators and public authorities of Demand-Responsive Transport and Paratransit services powered by Padam Mobility technology can monitor the operation of their services while visualising the data required for continuous service improvement.

All Padam Mobility services include a turnkey statistical reporting tool. Configured as a continuation of the service launch, it includes tables, graphs and advanced analysis to provide key information on the operation of the service and its use.

The statistical reporting tool takes the form of a dashboard. For each graphical display, it is possible to filter the data display by day, week or month. It is also possible to customise the dashboard by pinning  favourite statistical elements. 

Demand-Responsive Transport: Which data for which analyses? 

The Padam Mobility services’ statistical reporting tool allows to visualise and quickly obtain information through around fifty indicators divided into 13 categories covering all the operations of a DRT or Paratransit service: acquisition, searches, conversion rate, user activity, flows, performance, groupings, vehicle fleet use, punctuality, quality of service, etc.

Focus on 8 categories and their indicators:

Searches: indicators that show the number of trip searches per time slot during the day as well as the number of searches per travel time. These indicators provide useful information on travel uses and needs in a given area. 

Demand-Responsive Transport
Example: number of searches, results and bookings carried out on the different booking channels as well as the conversion rates of searches (number of results / number of searches) or bookings (number of bookings / number of trips proposals).

 

Conversion rate: all indicators relating to the different conversion rates between searches, trip proposals and bookings made. These indicators give a precise idea of the volume of searches leading to a booking and the relevance of the trip proposals made to users.

Demand-Responsive Transport
Example: conversion rate between proposed trips and searches carried out (red) and conversion rate between proposed trips and trips booked by users (grey)

 

Flows: the reporting tool makes it possible to visualise on a map the flows of DRT or Paratransit trips carried out on the territory according to the filters applied (line, time slots, day of the week, departure or arrival stops). 

DRT data

 

Performance: indicators for visualising the performance of the DRT or Paratransit service with information on the trips made by the vehicles and the passengers carried. These indicators make it possible to ensure the optimisation of vehicle routes and itineraries.

DRT data
Example: number of passengers per trip per week. A trip starts when a vehicle is empty and goes to pick up a passenger. A trip ends when the vehicle is empty again.

 

Groupings: indicators providing information on the pooling rates of passengers in vehicles. These indicators help to ensure that vehicle loading is optimised, the keystone of a smart DRT and Paratransit service.

Demand-Responsive Transport
Example: number of people pooled together for a trip by vehicle, from two people up to six or more.

 

Use of the vehicle fleet: indicators for visualising the use of the fleet of vehicles of the DRT or TPMR service.

DRT data
Example: time repartition when operating vehicles. The data is presented as percentages of the total time. In bleu: percentage of time the vehicle is loaded. In light grey: percentage of time the vehicle is empty. Dark grey: Percentage of time the vehicle is parked.

 

Punctuality: indicators providing information on the punctuality of the service: rate of trips whose duration increases by 10 minutes, average number of delays in minutes in passenger pick-ups and drop-offs, delay duration in minutes, rate of delays in pick-ups and drop-offs, etc.

DRT data
Example: average delays in minutes on drop-offs and pick-ups and variations in travel times. In bleu: average delay on passenger pick-up. In light grey: average variation time on trips. In dark grey: average delay on passenger drop-off.

 

Quality of service: indicators that make it possible to assess the perception of the service by users through the ratings given to the service and the driver.

Demand-Responsive Transport
Example: number and average of ratings given to the service.

 

This article might interest you: Ride booking by phone: facilitating the care of specific populations.

Find out more about Padam Mobility.

 

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Ride booking by phone: facilitating the care of specific populations

Ride booking by phone

Ride booking by phone: betting on accessible and inclusive mobility solutions means that users who do not have a smartphone or are unfamiliar with digital tools can book their Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) and Paratransit services directly by phone.

The call centre interface proposed by Padam Mobility in its software suite is simple, intuitive and ergonomic. It guarantees quick and appropriate support for specific groups such as People with Reduced Mobility Needs (PRMs) and senior citizens, while allowing them to benefit from the full potential of Padam Mobility’s dynamic DRT optimisation algorithms.

Presentation of a solution with which 70% of Padam Mobility’s DRT services are equipped.

Se mettre à la place de l’usager pour mieux le servir

Les téléopérateurs des centrales d’appels équipées par Padam Mobility ont accès à un site web de réservation très similaire à celui de l’usager. La différence réside dans la fonctionnalité “agir en tant que” qui leur permet de prendre facilement la main sur les réservations et la gestion des comptes usagers. Que le téléopérateur ait accès à la même interface que l’usager répond à un double objectif :

Putting oneself in the user’s shoes to serve them better

The teleoperators of the call centres equipped by Padam Mobility have access to a DRT booking website very similar to the user’s one. The difference lies in the “act as” feature that allows them to easily take control of user bookings and account management. The fact that the teleoperator has access to the same interface as the user serves a dual purpose:

  • Ergonomics, speed and ease of use: because there is no reason why the teleoperator should book less easily than the user. Just like the user, the operator has access to favourite addresses and the history of rides made, so that new bookings for regular rides can be made in just two clicks.
  • Support towards digital transition: because he/she has access to the same screens, the operator can also easily accompany the user on the phone when he/she tries to make his/her own bookings on his/her own browser.

The interest of our call centre solution lies in the specific support it provides for DRT or Paratransit booking over the phone. It is also an excellent tool to support the digital transition and empowerment in the booking process of populations who want to take the plunge but do not necessarily dare to take the plunge”.

Inès Chaibi, Head of the Customer Success Department at Padam Mobility.

With our call centre solutions, we enable users who are not used the latest digital tools to benefit from all the technological innovation made possible by the ride and itinerary optimisation algorithms we develop. In this way, we make all the advantages of an exceptional innovation accessible to the greatest number of people”.

Thibault Lécuyer Weber, Chief Marketing Officer at Padam Mobility.

Book quickly and easily for a user: instructions of use

Thanks to the Padam Mobility call centre solution, teleoperators can make bookings on behalf of the user:

  • By entering an address manually, with the help of the user to fill in the fields when entering the address.
  • By choosing one of the user’s favourite addresses, if they have been previously informed,
  • By duplicating a past ride from the booking history

Teleoperators then provide the pick-up or drop-off time desired by the user, as well as the desired date(s), recurrence (if any) and number of passengers. Once the results are displayed, they describe over the telephone the characteristics of each of the proposed itineraries (departure and arrival times, walking time, etc.). If one of the proposed itinerary corresponds to the user’s needs, they confirm the ride booking.

Booking by phone
Make a booking easily through the Padam Mobility call centre interface

The user then receives the same information he/she would have received when making his/her own booking: a confirmation email, a reminder SMS and a SMS notifying him/her that the vehicle is approaching.

When the integration of the central call centre solution is set up with a telephony tool, teleoperators are automatically connected to the account of the user who contacts them.

Accompanying is also being accompanied

Teleoperators in charge of making bookings by tphone via the Padam Mobility call centre interface can receive a dedicated training. In addition to the presentation of the tool, it aims to provide detailed explanations and answer questions. A real-time demonstration allows each teleoperator to learn step by step the main tasks that will be entrusted to him/her:

  • Creating a user account and modifying his/her personal information
  • Searching for a user and making a booking on his/her behalf
  • Explanation of the key information to be given back to the user on the service operation or his/her ride booking in particular
  • Access to a user’s ride history
  • Cancellation or modification of a ride booking

Once trained, the teleoperator benefits from support from Padam Mobility’s Customer Success team through a dedicated support interface. This interface allows him/her to access at any time to:

  • A complete and regularly updated documentation
  • A FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) window
  • A ticketing service for specific questions or questions that are not listed in the FA

The training of the teleoperators and the support provided by our teams aim to guarantee the success of the DRT or Paratransit services. It is also an opportunity to make the teleoperators aware of the adapted support they need to provide to certain specific populations such as the elderly”.

Chloé Forestier, Customer Support manager chez Padam Mobility.

 

This article might interest you: Survey: What your paratransit users really need

Find out more about Padam Mobility

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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 (Paris region Public Transport Authority) by Padam Mobility

Step 4: technical integrations and new use cases

The principle of technical integrations: 

  • Adding new use cases to the existing DRT 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: Paratransit, 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 DRT 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 DRT 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 DRT can be combined with these other forms of transport to complete its offer when it becomes saturated. For example, the DRT platform can offer carpooling or taxi/VTC alternatives when no DRT is available in the next half hour, and vice versa.

Learn more about the integration of MaaS in Padam Mobility solutions

Our experience in DRT design, configuration and optimisation leads us to the observation of these 4 steps that we consider to be a good factor of success and efficiency of an DRT service. The success of an DRT 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 DRT 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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