Challenges and opportunities in deploying a mobility platform integrating public transport and car-pooling services

Derboni, Marco and Rizzoli, Andrea Emilio and Montemanni, Roberto and Jamal, Jafar Mohammad Jehad A R and Kovacs, Nikolett and Cellina, Francesca (2018) Challenges and opportunities in deploying a mobility platform integrating public transport and car-pooling services. UNSPECIFIED. In: 18th Swiss Transport Research Conference, 16-18 May 2018, Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland.

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Abstract

This paper introduces a new mobility platform that favours reducing individual car use, by combining car flexibility with advantages offered by public transport, such as punctuality, comfort, safety and low environmental impact. Such platform services are delivered by means of a smartphone app that, thanks to advanced artificial intelligence algorithms, performs multimodal vehicle routing by accounting for walking, public transport and car-pooling rides. To explore citizens’ attitudes and perceptions towards SocialCar, and assess its overall business potential, we tested a prototype version in Canton Ticino (Southern Switzerland), engaging common citizens and their everyday mobility needs. In this paper we first present the app and the route planning algorithms we developed to match travel demand and offer, commenting on the challenges to be addressed when using real-life data (shortcomings in mapping, public transport and car-pooling data). Then, we describe the methodology used to assess the SocialCar overall potential, based on focus group meetings run before and after the field test, and summarize the results obtained, in terms of strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities for a large-scale diffusion of the SocialCar platform. Finally, we comment on the lessons learnt and provide recommendations for future similar "mobility as a service" platforms.

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