In today’s world, models of transportation have multiplied and diversified, from individual modes to collective systems. The most dominant personal modes are still the private car and the motorbike, followed by bicycles and taxis. Buses, trains, and trams continue to have a strong presence as part of collective transportation systems, although emerging modes such as car-pooling, ride-hailing, and micro-transit are gaining market share as these new types of non-public collective transportation develop.
To be mobile we can all either move by ourselves or by sharing a vehicle with other people. There is an interaction, between all modes, that depends on their proximity, price, and availability but also on personal preference and additional factors like weather. For instance, public transport if made free of cost mainly attracts new passengers who might otherwise have walked short distances. Also, when it is raining people tend to leave their bicycles at home choosing instead to drive their private car. Increasing evidence suggests that the emergence of new e-hailing companies siphon off passengers who would otherwise have used public transport.
In this context, different modes are said to “cannibalize” each other. While this is surely a catchword, it does point to one important matter: mobility is a system that requires coordination in order not to become a blind competitive race where market shares prevail over any other consideration.
Coordination in this new mobility ecosystem is paramount due to:
The deployment of a shared on-demand operation along these lines involves a decidedly collaborative approach. In particular, it should aim to take private cars off the street without competing either with existing bus lines nor with active modes. It should also deliver more flexible mobility for those who rely on or prefer a shared mode of transportation.
At Shotl, we are guided by the belief that cannibalization in the mobility marketplace should be prevented. We understand that the only way to achieve this is to work hand-in-hand both with public authorities and existing operators. An example of such collaborations are the new on-demand bus services in which we are currently helping to facilitate in Malaga, Vallirana, and Montbéliard.
In this post, we look at a few common reasons DRT systems don’t succeed, and how to avoid the pitfalls.