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Shared mobility makes job access easier, more equitable – report

Jun 02 2017 10:33
Carin Smith

Leipzig – Shared mobility makes access to jobs and other public services easier and more equitable, according to a new report released by the International Transport Forum (ITF) at its annual summit.

The report examines how cities can manage the challenges of geographic scale and of transition to shared mobility services. It looks at the impact of, for instance, replacing private cars in a city with shared services – like shared taxis or taxi-buses as feeders to existing high-capacity public transport networks such as metro or rail lines.

This facilitates the introduction of shared services and increases the use of those high-capacity services and the overall positive impact in terms of congestion reduction, more equitable access and gains in public space, according to the report.

For the study, different configurations of shared mobility solutions were simulated using advanced computer models that were fed with detailed mobility data.

It was found that shared mobility also releases massive amounts of parking space.

The study makes a number of recommendations:

Start to integrate shared mobility solutions into existing urban transport plans

Shared mobility can contribute greatly to achieving key objectives for urban mobility, the study found.

“With today’s technologies, shared mobility can deliver significant improvements quickly and with relatively low risk,” states the report.

Leverage shared mobility to increase use of existing high-capacity public transport

“High-capacity public transport services offer great value to users, but are often under-utilised because of difficulties for users to reach stations in an efficient way,” according to the report.

“Linking them to demand-responsive taxi-buses acting as feeders improves access and increases use.”

The efficiency of the shared feeder services is also enhanced since they benefit from a common destination for all travellers. It requires a holistic planning approach involving all key stakeholders, though.

Deploy shared mobility services in a phased way

Phasing in shared mobility should be done in steps that are based on goal-orientated policy measures, delivering sufficient progress on core objectives such as reducing congestion and emissions at each step.

This is to help create the perception of the collective benefits associated with a positive experience by those who shift to the shared modes of transport. It is important to provide a high-quality service for those who try the shared mobility solutions.

Optimise overall efficiency and competition

The study found that the single dispatcher model resulted in the greatest efficiency gains. The dispatcher could be organised as a public monopoly or a regulated, time-bound private concession selected through a competitive process.

“In order to encourage healthy competition in the market, multiple operators of shared services could be accepted and gains achieved for the society through their capacity to innovate and differentiate themselves – but routing decisions would remain the purview of the dispatcher,” emphasised the report.

Limit exclusive occupancy of shared vehicles

It should be possible to have exclusive occupancy requests for shared taxis, but the price difference to shared use should be calibrated to avoid large-scale exclusive occupancy, the study found, as this would hamper the system’s efficiency both in reducing traffic volumes and carbon emissions.

Leverage the significant potential of improved territorial accessibility

The study found that shared mobility systems allow large improvements in equitable territorial accessibility.

“Taxi-bus trips typically only take half the travel time compared to traditional public transport, because transfers are not required – except where they feed existing metro or rail lines. Smaller vehicles also need to stop less often to fill up with passengers,” explains the report.

“This radically increases range and hence access to the number of jobs and social services, especially for citizens in areas that are poorly served by traditional public transport.”

Make shared mobility services fully accessible to citizens with reduced mobility

The last recommendation of the study is that for people with impairments and special mobility needs, shared taxis that are fully accessible - for those in wheelchairs, for example - would significantly improve the range of reachable opportunities and overall quality of life.

The study found that this benefit could be achieved with minimal impact on operating costs.

* Fin24 is the guest of the ITF at its summit.

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