Sharing cars and bikes instead of buying them. Using the right means of transport for each trip: cars for longer journeys, bicycles, mopeds or electric scooters for the shorter ones. Or even giving rides to other people on the same route, like from home to work or from one major city to another. Car, bike, scooter sharing and carpooling are the keywords used to talk about future mobility. In addition, they are more and more on-trend.
But, why are we hearing so much about them? The basic concept is that moving quickly using the means of transport best suited to the route, respecting the environment by preferring low-emission vehicles, is the future.
According to Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s largest investment banks, the population in cities will increase by around 50% from 2010 to 2025, with a negative impact on traffic and the number of vehicles on the road. Sharing will make mobility more sustainable and fight congestion in cities.
The market research and consultancy company Grand View Research claims that shared mobility, driven by the development of dedicated mobility apps, will grow by an average of 25% per year between now and 2025 to tackle the growing problem of traffic congestion in cities.
Great news: MaaS
The use of shared cars, scooters, bikes and scooters that can be booked on special platforms may be one of the solutions to the problem and MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service) is its name.
Mobility-as-a-Service is a new business model for public and private transport applicable in large cities where environmental and air pollution and traffic congestion are at their highest.
The service can be used via a digital platform by subscribing or paying for each journey. Integration, between the various public, private and shared transport providers, together with customisation are the features that make MaaS unique. Users can choose the most suitable, sustainable and cost-effective means of transport on a single app.
Pilot projects have been launched in several countries, such as Finland and Switzerland. In Switzerland, for instance, the tailor-made mobility MaaS programme offered by SBB CFF SBB (the Swiss Federal Railways) is called Green Class SBB. Electric cars, trains and bicycles make every journey environmentally sustainable.
The subscription includes basic modules with the use of an electric car and public transport at any time. Optional add-on modules, such as parking, bike sharing, car sharing, charging en route and taxis, are available. Optional modules can be added or removed on the fly making the service extremely flexible.
By sharing car journeys, you can reduce your environmental impact, avoiding travelling alone and save on travel costs. Carpooling is the shared mobility concept that reduces road congestion and optimises resources.
By using digital platforms, drivers can offer empty seats in their cars for interested users to book for sharing the trip and contributing to costs.
BlaBlaCar was one of the first platforms for individual users. It was created in 2006 in Paris and soon developed from France throughout Europe. The users are asked to indicate their preferred level of chattiness in the car: “Bla” for those who like to look out of the window, “BlaBla” for someone who likes to talk, and “BlaBlaBla” for those who can’t keep quiet.
The idea came to founder Frédéric Mazzella on Christmas Day, when he wanted to reunite with his family in the French countryside but had no car and all the trains were full.
Some companies also promote carpooling for work-related journeys. Vouchers, free parking or cash rewards are used as incentives for employees to change the way they travel to work.
Born in 2017, Jojob offers an innovative carpooling service for commuting through an application. Each user, after registering can plan their journeys, identify the drivers and/or passengers with whom share trips, book carpool rides and automatically contribute to travel costs. Through the app, after each carpooling ride, environmental savings in terms of CO2 emissions reduction are certified; each user can quantify their contribution to the environment and benefit from related awards and prizes.
Sharing and charging
A new idea for sharing more than rides and trips comes from the UK and is called Co Charger. Joel Teague launched the app following his own experience after buying a new electric car. It was delivered without a wall box and he managed to charge it at the neighbours’. He popped £5 in the letterbox to pay them back whenever he charged there. So why not extend this possibility to everyone, he thought? The Co Charger app brings together the users who want to share their wall boxes and the electric car owners who need to charge but don’t know where. The platform opened recently, in December 2020. The app is free to download and manages the entire process from booking to payment.
The lack of charging stations is one of the biggest problems for the mass expansion of electric vehicles. Sharing can help solve this issue and promote more sustainable neighbourhoods. The idea of lending something you own to other people fosters better social relationships and can be useful as confirmed by the constantly increasing numbers of new members.
Credits: Co Charger