Mobility as Service

I recently embarked on a new area of research: multi-modal mobility as a service (as opposed to a product one might own). This brings together many elements from the fields of transportation and mobility, emerging technologies, environmental sustainability, changing demographic trends, and communications advancements. It is related to the concept of the connected traveler in that it embraces and leverages our new abilities to easily access a range of combined mobility services via smartphones and, increasingly, vehicles and other devices. Integrated mobility services offer new and easy ways to access options that can be tailored to better meet customer needs and address a range of issues related to the fact that soon, nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will live in megacities.

The future of urban public transportation lies in mobility systems that provide bicycles, cars, and other transportation modes on demand. Most mobility assets will be shared instead of owned by users–a phenomenon known as shared-use mobility. Convenient and reliable lifestyle and mobility services will be offered to connected citizens who will be able to easily access them via their smartphones. These services will become viable alternatives to car ownership, as they are more tailored to customer needs and will ultimately be more cost effective and environmentally sustainable, and reflect the lifestyle choices of a new generation.

Combined mobility services take the concept of shared-use to a new level, recognizing that desires for flexibility and efficiency are further advanced when shared-mobility solutions can be offered in an integrated platform. For service providers making the transition to combined mobility services, these developments offer a real opportunity to deliver sustainable growth during the next decades.

Many of these new services are delivered as apps that connect the different participants. For example, Washington, D.C.-based RideScout integrates data from a host of different providers, including those offering carshare, bikeshare, fixed-route transit, and ride services.

Another intriguing model is Zappos’ Project 100, which aims to create a seamless network of 100 on-demand chauffeured Tesla sedans, 100 shared vehicles, 100 shared bikes, and 100 shared shuttle bus stops that a phone app optimally assigns to each subscriber who inputs a destination. This mixed-mode concierge service could be the next level of the concept of mobility as a service.

The parking industry has much to contribute to this new mobility future. After all, shared use is already an emerging trend within our industry. I am in the process of developing several new concepts for existing clients who are ready to take the next step toward combined mobility. I encourage you to learn more about this exciting area. Together, we can help develop strategies that will allow the parking profession to be a creative force for applying combined mobility solutions for the future. I hope you will join me for the ride!

 

About L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is senior practice builder and regional vice president with Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. He is a columnist and frequent contributor to The Parking Professional magazine. He serves on the IPI Advisory Council, the Professional Development Task Force, and the Parking Program/Accreditation Task Force.

Comments

  1. Extremely insightful blog, Dennis. If you or others are interested in more on mobility as a service, the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT) will host the Innovation in Mobility Public Policy Summit, June 10-11 in Washington, D.C. The Summit will feature panel discussions and presentations by influential mobility leaders in the public sector along with experts in carsharing, one-way carsharing, peer-to-peer (P2P) carsharing, public bikesharing, ridesharing, and technology, all sharing their experiences in bringing new transportation options to local communities. More information about the Summit can be found here: https://www.actweb.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?Site=ACT1&WebCode=innovationsummit. I’d love to see you there!

  2. When I first got on the board of IPI, we wrestled and then embraced that parking is no longer about parking cars but a LINK and a CONNECTOR between all modes of transportation including train, commuter, airport, ferry, and bus. Thus, Parking Matters was coined. Now the MOBILITY as Dennis so eloquently points out. It just gets better!

  3. Mark Wright says:

    Thanks Dennis, I didn’t know about Project 100 (http://goproject100.com) — very interesting.

  4. Paul Barter says:

    Yes, the idea of mobility as a service rather than being about buying vehicles is taking off. Carsharing is a big part of it but the idea goes beyond that. UITP coined the term “combined mobility”. It is also part of the buzz about the “sharing economy”. Possibly big implications for parking policy and for parking industry. A few items from my Reinventing Transport site offer further reading and links to other sources: http://www.reinventingtransport.org/search/label/mobility%20brokers and http://www.reinventingtransport.org/search/label/combined%20mobility

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