Webinar replay: Best practice in Digital DRT and community transport

The Robin is an on-demand bus that serves two rural areas of Gloucester. The Forest of Dean area service is operated by Lydney Dial-a-Ride,  a community transport provider that runs a number of ‘getting people to places they need to be’ services. From community cars driven by volunteer drivers to some (quite infrequent) local fixed-line bus routes open to all, as well as the eponymous dial-a-ride services for those without access to cars or who struggle to use public transport. 

At its core, the Robin is a standard rural DRT. It runs from 7am to 7pm Monday to Saturday, covering the Forest of Dean. This is a rural area where the population is distributed in small towns, villages and hamlets – in places as low as 80 people per km2 and on average 165 persons per km2.

The difference in the Forest of Dean is that the Robin is run by a CT operator and the approach to its launch was very much in line with CT values. Louise Currie of Lydney DAR is a sharp reminder that buses are about people – and these trips are about getting people to school, work, shopping, appointments and to see their friends and family.

In this webinar, Louise talks about the community engagement she did before the launch of the Robin, and the impact that this had on passenger numbers and the feedback she received.

The philosophy of opening up access to transport – in basic terms getting people from A to B – is at the heart of community transport. And this is perhaps why people have taken to the service.

Two mini-buses cover the diamond shaped zone, which, along its longest axis stretches 16 miles  from Mitcheldean in the north to Sedbury in the south and its widest points span Lydney at one edge and Coleford at the other – about 8 miles wide at the widest point. The area covered is about 46 square miles. The key points are the towns of Lydney (south east), Cinderford in the north and Coleford (northwest) and Sedbury (southwest). There are many small villages on rural roads between these points, some through the wooded hills and coombs of the southern edge of the Forest of Dean.

The webinar also covers the challenges of operating in this kind of area, and the passenger metrics that have been achieved.

Click here to access the recording of the webinar (on YouTube)

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From home to Terminal 5 – Padam Mobility, Thames Valley Buses and Heathrow introduce new App-based “Go2Gate” bus service

Starting 19 August 2023, getting between Dedworth and Heathrow will be so much easier, from very early in the morning until very late in the evening, any day of the week.

Thames Valley Buses has partnered with Padam Mobility to operate a new trial named ‘Go2Gate’ on behalf of Heathrow Airport. Go2Gate is a minibus service exclusively for the Dedworth area that is more like a personal taxi which you can book on an easy-to-use app to get you to the airport. The buses will pick up close to passengers’ homes, sometimes right at their garden gate, and drop off outside Terminal 5, from where it’s easy to continue to all parts of the airport using the free trains, Tube and H30 bus.

The service is part of the airport’s Sustainable Travel Zone, which was introduced in 2021 and is designed to encourage modal shift from private cars and taxis, reducing the number of single-occupancy cars traveling to Heathrow.

Padam Mobility’s on-demand solution enables booking requests to be made up to 28 days in advance. The system also selects the optimal route in real-time so that every passenger reaches their desired destination as quickly and directly as possible. Last-minute requests are possible, although the pick-up or drop-off locations in Dedworth may be slightly different to maintain journey times for all users.

We are very pleased to be trialling an on-demand, bookable bus service to Heathrow”, said Matthew Wooll, Route Development Lead in Heathrow’s Surface Access Strategy Team.

There are some places close to Heathrow that would struggle to attract enough users to make a traditional bus route viable. We think we have found an alternative that compares well with the journey times of cars and taxis, and costs less. As well as providing the reassurances required for airport travel by being able to book up to 28 days in advance, it also retains the ability to travel on the day, just like a traditional bus. This is an ambitious but beneficial project and we believe we have the right product to deliver the service quality required to attract new users to public transport.”

Simon Fisher, General Manager for Thames Valley Buses added:

We are delighted to have been chosen to partner with Heathrow Airport and Padam to deliver this innovative new service for Dedworth residents, a community we have been serving for many years with traditional bus services. This step into a flexible and on-demand service is an exciting new project and we are all eager to make it a success and provide an attractive alternative to using a private vehicle to reach the airport.”

James West, UK Business Development Lead at Padam Mobility, affirmed:

We are excited to launch this new trial service in partnership with Thames Valley Buses and the UK’s Biggest Airport, Heathrow. We strongly believe that the new on-demand service offers an attractive proposition to workers and holidaymakers looking to get to the airport without relying on the private car. Testing a new, innovative service for the residents of Dedworth gives us confidence that we can encourage modal shift to provide more sustainable ways to travel to the airport.”


More can be found about the Go2Gate service here

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Autonomous vehicles in public road transport – a cutting-edge technology

AV in Lyon

The introduction of autonomous vehicles (AV) onto public roads is no longer a distant fantasy. The technology is very much in use in different contexts across the world. However, how it is applied and what it is used for has the potential to create very different futures. In this article, we look at the way on-demand autonomous vehicles could fundamentally revolutionise public transport to provide better services, with lower environmental impacts which optimise value for money.

Indeed, using autonomous vehicles to improve public transport provides a safer, well-regulated framework for allowing driverless vehicles on the public highway. In contrast, concerns about privately owned autonomous vehicles are growing, with questions around their safety, interaction with pedestrians and cyclists and indeed the potential for congestion caused by an increased number of low occupancy vehicles, however ‘smart’ they are.

Increased safety in road traffic

Safety is one of the most important concerns in public transport, and public transport operators have extremely high standards to ensure the safety of passengers and the general public. The testing and use of autonomous vehicles within this framework will promote the safety benefits of autonomous vehicles and enable the development of best practice more rapidly and effectively.

For example, a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute showed that autonomous vehicles have the potential to prevent up to 92% of accidents caused by human error.

Improved efficiency of public transport

By deploying autonomous vehicles on-demand as part of public transport, traffic flows can be managed more easily and public transport can be matched more closely to demand. A study by the Swedish transport authority Trafikverket found that autonomous buses in the city of Stockholm could reduce traffic by up to 80 per cent by reacting more flexibly to traffic situations and using roads more efficiently. This is supported by a McKinsey Global Institute study which found that autonomous shuttles can reduce private car use by 20 per cent and thus increase road transport capacity.

Environmental benefits

Autonomous vehicles work well within the electrification of transport, contributing to a reduced impact on the environment from public road passenger transport. Thanks to their intelligent routing, which leads to a reduction in congestion and traffic jams, the emission of harmful pollutants is further reduced. According to a study by the University of California, Berkeley, the use of autonomous vehicles in public transport could reduce emissions by up to 90 percent.

Cost savings

Autonomous vehicles do not require drivers, reducing costs for operators. This is particularly critical for services which are less intensively utilised but still needed to enable people to have access to public transport. According to a study by Boston Consulting Group, the use of autonomous vehicles in local public transport in Europe could save up to 30 percent of operating costs. Another study by the consulting firm Roland Berger shows that self-driving vehicles in local public transport could save up to 50 percent of operating costs by 2030. Whilst drivers may not be required, remote operators may still be needed to oversee the fleet.

Saving time and resources thanks to intelligent routing can also achieve a significant reduction in operating costs. On-demand services that use autonomous vehicles, can calculate exactly how many vehicles should be deployed at what time and how effective utilisation can be achieved, just like all DRT services from Padam Mobility, thanks to intelligent algorithms. This sustainable use of resources is a key factor in cost savings for public transport.

Improved services and inclusion

On-demand autonomous vehicles increase the availability of public mobility services. This is particularly important in remote areas where public transport is scarce. Autonomous vehicles in combination with on-demand services can offer a flexible alternative that is more accessible to many people than traditional public transport. This enables elderly people are no longer mobile, or young people who cannot drive themselves, to participate more in social life.

Autonomous vehicles can also improve mobility for people with reduced mobility. Through the use of barrier-free autonomous vehicles, elderly or mobility-impaired people are able to move around without having to rely on the help of others. On-demand AV services allow them to make more spontaneous decisions, which increases their independence.

Saving space

Autonomous on-demand services in public transport can play a significant role in optimising spatial usage. By using autonomous vehicles that operate on demand, public transport can be better matched to the actual demand. Unlike traditional public transport, which runs on fixed routes and schedules, autonomous on-demand services can respond flexibly to passenger demands. This can help increase the use of public transport by making it easier and more convenient to get from point A to point B. Ultimately, this can in turn help to reduce the number of private vehicles on the roads, which can lead to a reduction in traffic.

Autonomous on-demand services can therefore help to make public space more attractive, for example by reducing parking space and thus creating more space for pedestrian routes and recreational areas.

Public vs. Private?

The use of autonomous vehicles for public transport has the potential to help make public transport safer, more efficient, more environmentally friendly, more cost-effective and more inclusive.

However, the introduction of autonomous technology has provoked debate and raised concerns. There is a particular fear that the technology is not mature enough and that technical errors and accidents may occur. This seems to be very much the case where automotive manufacturers are racing to be first to market with consumer products to capture the mass market. However,  in a public transport context, the industry has a gold standard approach prioritising safety and enabling scrutiny within open regulatory frameworks. Indeed the safety culture of the rail and airline industry provides assurances that cannot be matched for people driving their own vehicles.

Likewise, the nature of driverless vehicles are likely to benefit transport operators who are reporting that is has become very difficult to recruit new bus drivers. It has become quite common that trips have to be cancelled due to a lack of staff. In areas that have problems finding staff, autonomous vehicles can be a remedy. This makes the technology an important tool in providing reliable and cost-effective mobility services that users can fully trust.

The transition to mainly autonomous driving in local public transport certainly brings hurdles and major challenges. However, the aspects of road safety and environmental protection are almost impossible to ignore. Only attractive public transport that is accessible and available will encourage people to switch to shared transport. On-demand autonomous vehicles, unlike human-driven vehicles, have the key advantages that can help public transport become the most popular means of mobility in the long term.



Learn more about Padam Mobility’s AV solutions

This article might also interest you: EU-funded ULTIMP project brings Padam Mobility on board as technology partner for new AV projects 

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Padam Mobility pilots autonomous on-demand vehicles in Lyon


As part of the EU-funded AVENUE project, which is trialling autonomous shuttle buses in four European cities, including Luxembourg, Geneva and Copenhagen, Padam Mobility has been brought on board as a trusted technology partner for the Lyon region. Since May 2022, passengers can book rides on the autonomous shuttle service under the name OL Vallée A la Demande.

In this initial phase, two autonomous shuttle buses operate between the Décines Grand Large tram stop and the Groupama stadium, covering an area of 0.5 km² (see map below). Previously, there was no public transport service in this area to connect visitors with the fixed transport network, so the autonomous shuttle buses are intended to ensure that passenger flows can be transported from A to B smoothly. In addition, it is possible to use the autonomous shuttles in a free-floating model, i.e. without a fixed route plan, on the stadium’s campus.

Keolis has been testing autonomous shuttles in Lyon since 2016 and is now aiming in partnership with Padam Mobility to take the user experience to the next level. As specialists in on-demand technology, Padam Mobility will enable users to conveniently order the shuttles via app and track their status in real-time.

In the first test phase, the service runs every day from 11:50 am to 7:45 pm. After a short summer break, the service will resume in September.

AV Lyon
Service area of the new “OL Vallée A la Demande” AV-service











Find out more about Padam Mobility 

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Padam Mobility, now part of the Siemens Mobility family!


Padam Mobility, now part of the Siemens Mobility family, continues its commitment to shared mobility

Padam Mobility, the French leader in smart and dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport solutions (DRT and Paratransit), is now a member of the Siemens Mobility family, alongside its historical technological partners Hacon, Bytemark, and eos.uptrade.

The company is beginning a new and exciting chapter that will allow it to reach new heights, continue the work provided by its teams, fuel its commitment and continue to achieve its results. Since its creation in 2014, more than one million passengers have already experienced a mobility solution developed by Padam Mobility.

A new dimension to the company’s public interest mission

With its suite of smart and flexible solutions, Padam Mobility improves the impact of mobility policies to all where demand is low. To put users, operators and local authorities in motion. More than ever committed to shared mobility, the acquisition strengthens its position in the on-demand transport market and reinforces its international implantation.

The company’s values (SHARE, LEAN, CARE, IMPACT) are still at the heart of the internal management and client relations.

It is an incredible opportunity to join the Siemens Mobility family for intermodal transport. It reinforces Padam Mobility’s ambitions: to reconnect territories, to give more impact to mobility policies in medium or low density areas and to offer modern and adapted mobility services. Siemens Mobility’s confidence in our team, our vision and our agility will reinforce our core values.” Grégoire Bonnat, co-founder and CEO of Padam Mobility

Ever more robust solutions for the territories that need them most

Since the beginning, Padam Mobility has been developing digital solutions for dynamic Demand-Responsive public Transport, to sustainably transform peri-urban and rural areas and bring communities together. 

The acquisition of the company will accelerate the technological development of its solutions so that they are even more robust and respond ever more effectively to the new challenges of the territories, particularly those observed in the recent months and the health crisis.

The acquisition of Padam Mobility reaffirms our desire to offer digital mobility solutions to encourage access to public transport and paratransit. Padam Mobility’s proven software and smart solutions will enable us to offer more transport options that integrate and coordinate on-demand and shared mobility. Having the ability to choose from a wide range of mobility options significantly improves the user experience.” Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility

The company will keep its independence both in the projects it deploys and in the expertise it provides to more than 70 territories in Europe, Asia and North America.  Transport authorities, operators and companies will be able to continue to rely on Padam Mobility to help them open up their territories, optimise their mobility offer and facilitate its operation, to support them in achieving operational excellence, and finally to act in favour of environmentally friendly mobility. 


Find out more about Padam Mobility

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