The Responsive Network (Part 3/3)

The future of shared mobility in cities

Feb 22, 2018 · Unlisted

Everything we’ve worked on has led to this.

In Part 1 and 2, we wrote about the good and the bad about buses.

Finally, here in Part 3, we’re proud to share our most significant innovation to date and the culmination of all our work on shared transportation:

The Responsive Network!

A solution for dynamic shared transportation in cities.

And it’s real. We are live in London, we’re calling the service ‘Smart Ride’, and it’s available in our apps.

Unlike traditional buses that are tied to a route, our vehicles are tied to a network and can thus move in multiple combinations. This means passengers can be taken all the way to the best spot for them on the network. Since it’s shared transportation, bus stops (pickup stops) still exist, and are used to coordinate multiple passengers.

Move anywhere on the network

We learn a lot about user needs and mobility patterns from our multimodal app. This helps us design networks that are best for the city. Networks can evolve over time to respond to the needs of a city, such as construction, disruptions, or new development. Traditional bus systems cannot do this at a reasonable pace, as they require lengthy update processes, as well as physical stops and advertising.

the network can evolve. not this fast though

Since all bookings require the app, we can match the right vehicles with the right people in realtime.

This is hard. Apps have been made for cabs. But not for buses. Why? Well, it’s pretty challenging to match multiple people to the same vehicle and create a great experience in realtime. We’re going to make it work.

Smart Ride is live in London, with a full booking experience within our app. It requires an account and credit card so that we can make payments hassle free and rides safe. The service is limited to a coverage area governed by the network.

App meets bus experience

Yeah, we know. We’d prefer to use our minibuses, but this is what we can do with regulation right now. We hope cities will embrace on demand shared transport and provide encouraging frameworks for the modern era.

In any case, our technology is vehicle agnostic. And the minivans are quite nice. Our drivers are licensed and specifically trained around our shared service to provide a safe and professional experience.

imagine it’s a bus. it’s easy if you try

We may need new terminology.

Is it a bus? It has stops and takes multiple passengers.

Is it a cab? A guaranteed seat that you can book, and better end to end support.

Is it a metro? It’s a network, and you can go anywhere within the coverage area.

In reinventing shared transportation, we’re taking the best pieces from all the different transport modes of the city.

There is a wide gap between cabs and buses.

Pricing: Cabs are expensive. Buses are cheap.

Riders: Cabs are generally for a single passenger. Buses can support a hundred.

We’re in-between.

We hope we’re filling a gap, creating a necessary new segment for users and cities, and doing so by creating a great end to end experience.

The Responsive Network & the Future of Cities

Why are we so excited about this?

The Responsive Network is INFRASTRUCTURE. We can provision mobility anywhere transportation is lacking, or needs additional capacity. Unlike cabs, which are free to roam, our technology can commit supply to an area or a time of day, at more accessible prices. Unlike buses, which are stuck on a fixed route, our network can support an entire coverage area. Unlike metros, which take years to build, we can get going quickly.

The Responsive Network can adapt to the city. It can evolve with the expanding needs of a city, in a more responsive manner than a bus network. It can adjust to time of day, catering to the different needs of the cities around commutes, days, night and weekends. It can adapt to traffic and congestion by finding routes that are optimised. It can cater to special events like sports and festivities.

The Responsive Network requires no physical infrastructure like bus stops or advertising. Everything can be updated and communicated digitally.

The Responsive Network can utilise vehicles more efficiently. We can manage cars around known demand patterns. This will reduce waiting times for users. And it’s better for the city and congestion than vehicles moving around aimlessly or using outdated schedules or headway. It’s how the future smart city should operate.

The Responsive Network can bring down pricing through sharing, making quality transportation affordable to more people.

The Responsive Network is better for the environment, since more people will share fewer vehicles.

The Responsive Network will reduce congestion by utilising all the seats of vehicles roaming our cities, by helping match multiple passengers together.

The Responsive Network is vehicle agnostic and can be used by any vehicle supporting multiple seats. Official cabs can also participate if they wish.

The Responsive Network can save cities from alien zombies. Not really, just checking if you’re paying attention?

The Responsive Network coexists with other modes and is part of a multimodal city. It’s integrated in our multimodal app as just another mode, rather than having its own application. It will show up in A to B journey planning results when competitive compared to other modes so that users can decide what’s best for them.

new kid on the block

The Responsive Network will even combine with other modes in multimodal routing when it makes sense. It can thus help solve the last mile problem, one of the biggest problems in public transportation (more on this another day).

The Responsive Network is the setup for the autonomous future. A shared, autonomous future where robocars support multiple humans.

The Responsive Network will make cities easier to use.

Real life simulation of a responsive city


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