By Paige Cerulli — DAV Editor
We’re witnessing an exciting transformation in the transportation industry, with consumers being able to use more transportation options in a single trip than ever before. The public can choose from traditional public transportation, like trains and taxis, but they are also able to select ridesharing services, hop on an e-bike, or soon, summon an autonomous vehicle to pick them up. The result is that anyone can travel through urban areas by connecting together shared and hailed modes of transportation, ultimately increasing convenience and reducing cost.
Connecting these modes of transportation together as smoothly as possible is a must-have capability when it comes to city travel. Multi-modal transport services are sure to be in high demand in the future, and consumers will need a way to schedule and transfer between different forms of transportation during a single trip.
Connecting Multi-Modal Transport Services
The more transportation options that become available, the less predictable our travel patterns through cities become. For instance, a commuter might take a subway into the city, then walk to get coffee on foot before going into work. After work they might rent a bike and go to a local store for groceries before calling an Uber to take them home.
One of the major changes that multi-modal transportation brings to cities is an increase in one-way travel. The commuter in the example above took a bike, subway, and Uber one way without requiring a return trip. This increase in one-way travel gives consumers increased versatility and control over how and when they decide to travel. It is also one reason why consumers must be able to effectively and easily access multiple transportation modes on-demand.
Ride-sharing services are already working to expand their offerings to new transportation modes. In June of 2018, Uber partnered with JUMP to allow people to rent bikes through the Uber app. Then, in July, Uber invested in electric bike and scooter-sharing startup, Lime, diversifying its offerings far beyond ride-sharing. Similarly, in 2018 Lyft acquired Motivate, a bike-sharing company which includes the CitiBike and Ford GoBike programs.
Rather than specialize in a single transportation mode, we are likely to see more companies expand into offering various transportation options to better serve consumers’ varying needs and preferences. Not only does this strategy offer each business multiple revenue streams, but it is also evidence of Uber and Lyft’s awareness of how urban transportation is evolving.
Multi-Modal Transport Services Case Study: Uber
Uber has recently added a new feature to its app which makes it easy for consumers to choose between the various forms of transportation the company offers. Current offerings include:
· Ride-sharing, Uber’s classic platform
· Bike-sharing, powered by a partnership with JUMP (available in San Francisco)
· Car rentals, offered through a pilot with Getaround (available in San Francisco)
· Scooter-sharing (a project in its early stages)
In order to help consumers quickly access and choose from the various services, Uber added a feature called Mode Switch to its app. Uber called Mode Switch “a small but meaningful step toward making Uber your go-to app, whenever you need to get from point A to B.” By using the feature, consumers can quickly see which services are available in their area, choosing the option that is best for them at the time.
Thanks to Uber’s app update, consumers can now easily choose from different transportation modes, designing trips that work best for their situation and preferences. Uber was inspired to make the change after noticing that consumers started to replace Uber trips with JUMP bike trips, particularly during times of the day when traffic was most congested. This is just one instance where having mobility choices can benefit the consumer, saving them time and money and keeping them out of traffic.
Uber’s efforts to connect transportation modes together is admirable, but it has one flaw: The user is captured within Uber’s silo. The services offered include only those that Uber provides, and Uber doesn’t yet provide all of its services in all areas. Competing companies which might expand a consumer’s mobility options aren’t included in the app’s offerings.
As a result, consumer choice is limited, and the user could potentially miss out on lower prices and even better transportation options. Plus, other transportation modes, like public transportation, aren’t offered within the app.
A Better Way
The DAV Foundation’s decentralized network creates a space that offers consumers many more choices in the overall mobile economy. The DAV network is mode and brand neutral, meaning DAV doesn’t limit the available choices to particular transportation modes, brands, or businesses. Instead, DAV provides the consumer with more choices and with the ability to select transportation modes and options that work best for them in terms of cost, convenience, accessibility, and more. Not only does this offer a convenient, unified location where consumers can select from a variety of transportation modes, but it also creates a decentralized system that isn’t controlled by any one service provider, company, or agency.
As transportation options continue to evolve, accessing multiple modes of transportation will become a necessity for city travel. The DAV Foundation’s network is an innovative solution to the challenge of helping consumers to access many different transportation options seamlessly in a decentralized network.