Photography by Adam Magyar

Top 10: Start ups disrupting the way we commute

The transportation of people and goods is the lifeblood of modernity, and is only set to increase as our population keeps expanding. Yet the costs incurred may be higher than many of us realise. In the UK alone, 40,000 deaths a year are associated with exposure to air pollution (RCP, 2016) and a recent study found that more than 12,000 of such deaths could be prevented if England and Scotland reached their walking and cycling initiative goals (Sustrans, 2017).

Here are 10 services tackling the way we commute…

Smart Ride

Citymapper are expanding to ‘shared travel,’ with Smart Ride being hailed by the start up as a ‘hybrid bus and taxi service’ which will work in conjunction with their city route planner. The eight seater cars are ordered through the app and then collect and drop off passengers along a set route, adjusting to real time traffic and road closures. They aim to be competitively priced as well as to reduce congestion, pollution and even encourage commuters to interact and make eye contact!


By 2023, the world’s highest-valued startup aims to make small aircraft rides, with vertical takeoff and landing, an affordable option for daily commuters. Uber wants its flying machines to be 100% electric, with energy coming from only clean sources. Dubbed ‘aerial ridesharing’, the goal is to make commuting safer and more environmentally conscious… so watch this space.


This app aims to incentivise people to commute to work by bike. It allows people to track their cycling and earn rewards from their employers, such as extra pay or vacation. The goal is less traffic on the road, less health problems from pollution, and a healthier and fitter work force. Employers can even sign up to a leader board and encourage a bit of friendly office rivalry!


The idea is very simple and it’s catching on fast. The online network connects people to share their cars and take their journeys together. Some drivers charge a small fee or a contribution towards the petrol, whilst others are happy to have someone else to share the driving. Liftshare say that more than 420,000 Britons have already signed up, with the average annual saving quoted as £800. Good for your wallet and the planet!


Having already claimed to “enable smart micro mobility around the world”, Lime are now pledging to make their entire fleet of electric bikes and scooters completely “carbon free.” The San Francisco-based company has said it will purchase renewable energy credits from new and existing projects to ensure all of its dock-free bikes and scooters are carbon neutral. It is part of a new sustainability effort the company is calling Lime Green.

Photography by Lime


Branded as ‘enterprise carpooling’, the platform matches drivers who usually commute alone with colleagues from the same company through the use of an algorithm. There are incentives for employees who take part, such as premium parking spaces and petrol discounts, and companies can track how their carbon emissions have declined as a result.


Designed by cyclists for cyclists, this app allows users to download information on paths and roads suitable for cycling in more than 80 countries. As well as 3.9 million bike routes, the app contains interactive tours and data on terrain elevation and slope. The app is updated frequently adding new routes from all around the world.

Future of the Fjords

Built as a successor to the Vision of the Fjords, this is the first fully electric carbon-fibre ferry in the world. The 40m-long vessel carries up to 400 tourists in the fjord between Flam and Gudvangen, which is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is the first vessel of its kind to offer completely emission-free transport.

Photography by Future of the Fjords


An advanced trip planning app, that claims to be able to get you to your destination up to 40% faster, whilst reducing your carbon footprint by combining public and private transport options in a single trip. A typical Cowlines-generated ‘mix-and-match’ route could include a combination of car shares, bike share, ferries and even cable car!

Commute Greener

Users can select the most eco-friendly and efficient way to travel to and from work, with their smart phone communicating with their mode of transport to deduct the right fare automatically. Users can track the environmental impact of their choices and earn ‘public transportation miles’. Commute Greener takes their initiative one step further by providing the data to cities and organisations to improve traffic management and public transportation

Photography by Adam Magyar

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