Shared mobility not only helps the environment. It also helps your pockets. This new form of mobility may be the solution for cleaner and more competitive cities.
It is true that the automobile was a great invention; but the alarming growth of the vehicle fleet has caused some people to opt for simpler and more personal transports such as bicycles or skates. However, these micromobility options are very restricted to certain areas of the huge urban sprawl of large cities. To give an example: people who live in the Metropolitan Zone of the Valley of Mexico, but already in the municipalities of the State of Mexico, could not make a bicycle journey from their home to their work zone in the capital, simply because the distances are enormous. Let us no longer say that there is no infrastructure, no security, no offer of a public bicycle system.
Fortunately, new models of transport have emerged for long distances such as trains, mass public transport (such as the Mexibus) or why not, shared cars.
What is shared mobility and why is it a great option for cities of the future?
Shared mobility is about that: providing or sharing a means of transport. This has begun to be implemented through the use of technology with applications for smartphone, tablet or computer. The best known and most disruptive are Uber, DiDi and Cabify. With them, one car can serve hundreds of people.
In Mexico, applications such as BUSSI or AllRide have arrived since 2015. Bussi, for example, is an app of shared vans similar to public transport, but with the advantages of greater comfort and even internet connection. This modality is known as vanpooling. AllRide is similar, only here you create a network of friends with whom you can share the carpooling. There are also applications around the world with modalities of carsharing (which consists of renting cars for limited periods of time), and also of ride-hailing (which consists of sharing the car with other people on long distance trips). This will be discussed in more depth in our next article.
Bicycles and skateboards also join this new mobility strategy, as dozens of countries have also decided to implement shared bicycle or skateboard programs, either through apps or a prepaid system by the government.
The use of carpooling helps to reduce vehicle congestion and therefore also greenhouse gas emissions. This would help to clean up the air in cities and make them offer a better quality of life.
Not everyone celebrates these innovations in mobility
These new forms of mobility face rejection from a certain sector: traditional carriers. This is despite the fact that this type of service forces mobility companies to be more competitive and offer a better service, which in the long run, according to Rolan Berger Strategy Consultants, generates growth in the economy.
Mobility expert Robin Chase presented "The Principles of Shared Mobility for Livable Cities" at the 2017 World Ecomobility Festival in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. In this document, he talks about the fact that in order for this model of transport to have a greater impact on cities, new measures must be implemented for both public and personal organizations. For her, these are the 10 principles of shared mobility:
- Planning cities for mobility: this is because the way cities are built determines how people move.
- Prioritize people over vehicles.
- Support the use of shared transport.
- Engage with stakeholders: actively involve users in decision-making.
- Promote equity: transport should be easily accessible physically, digitally and financially.
- Encourage the transition from zero-emission units to renewable energy.
- Fair rates.
- Provide real-time data of transport services.
- All transportation services must be planned.
- Support stand-alone vehicles in urban and shared use areas.
Cities are living entities that find their own solutions to their needs. Whether these solutions are functional or dysfunctional, fair or unjust, legal or not, depends on the openness of the actors who influence them: users, individuals and governments. These proposals for new mobility open up new challenges while at the same time making it possible to manage, in a more efficient way, the countless requests for transport of the population.