Enter the world of transport apps and online platforms shaping the future of smart green mobility.
Liftshare is the most established lift sharing network in the UK, launched in the UK 2 weeks before Google in 1998. They started of with a corporate platform helping businesses reduce their employees car share before launching their award winning app in 2014 to help individuals reduce their personal carbon footprint. As a social enterprise, they are a pioneer in the sharing economy space with a strong environmental mission. They have just been the first car sharing company to be awarded the TrustSeal kitemark, a stamp of approval for the sharing economy.
BlaBlaCar is Europe’s largest network of car pooling network with a focus on long distance journeys connecting people between cities. Their mission is to reduce empty seats on cars. Their occupancy rate is 2.8 people per car compared to the 1.6 European average, and estimates that they have saved 1,000,000 tons of CO2 over the last 12 months.
WhimApp is a Helsinki based app that frees you to travel with public transport, buses, bikes, trains, taxis, and car rental. Pay for a monthly subscription and get routes planned and tickets to public transport or pay-as-you-go. They plan to reward you for travelling greener by encouraging you to take public transport or low emissions transport.
Gogobus is a social sharing bus service in Italy. It is a service that allows you to share bus journeys to events, gatherings and airports. Typical events include music festivals and concerts. You can even suggest events and organise a bus journey with a group of friends. The more people share, the cheaper the journey.
Also a carpooling service, OneLane is an app based ride and care service for families doing school runs. This new London based service which vets child carers aim to provide a type of specialised nanny service. They are a prebook only service with a pool of guardians who can also do car sharing as part of the service when matched. OneLane just recently completed a successful crowdfunding campaign raising over £200,000.
Parking apps such as AppyParking help reduce the amount of time wasted in looking for parking spaces, and can be used to help reduce parking congestion. On the other hand, rebound effects mean that they may be encouraging more driving journeys that would otherwise not happen. So far, I’ve not seen any evidence that there are environmental benefits in reduced air pollution due to uptake in parking apps, but if the benefit of using the app outweighs the rebound effect, there are obvious environmental benefits, given most cars are not zero emissions yet. It is possible to use parking apps to divert traffic away from roads with heavy traffic or encourage travel to places that have free, cheap or abundant parking spaces. Parking spaces that are normally vacant will also be better used and thus more efficient use of physical space.
HiyaCar, Rentecarlo and EasyCar Club are peer-to-peer car rental service where car owners can rent out their idle cars. These type of online platform help reduce the total ownership of cars. When people are not having to keep their idle cars in driveways, they will also choose other greener modes of transport. It may however encourage the amount of driving from people who would otherwise not be taking the journey through driving.
Similar concepts of peer-to-peer rental services are now growing in the bicycle market. Cycle.land is an Oxford based company that secured a £100,000 crowdfunding campaign and is looking to expand to other cities in the UK. With keyless smart bike locks Noke, bike owners can unlock bikes remotely. Such a service is an alternative to the city level bike hire services such as Santander Cycle Scheme, OxOnBike, and City Bike Liverpool. Cycle.land can be rolled out without the need for new docking stations.
There you go. So let us know what you think. If you are in some other parts of the world and use a different app, be sure to share this with the IYWTo community.
If you have missed head back to read here:
Day 1 of XMas — Food Waste Apps.
Day 2 of XMas — Air Quality Apps.
This series is written in collaboration with the 6heads community. 6heads is dedicated to shared learning at the join of sustainability and innovation.