Urban mobility forms a very vivid backdrop of our lives. When we’re in our morning commute, running late to a date or hurrying to the next meeting, we find ourselves cursing congestion, delays and the apologetic texts we are already composing.
For being such an important part of our lives, mobility is chaotic.Imagine how many times you have found yourself in an overfull train on your way to work, just to find the exact same trip completely empty when you take a longer morning at home. Unlike your mix of vitamins, city mobility is not balanced.
A good way to start bringing at least some order to urban transportation, is to understand the different perspectives that are in play:
At Trafi, we envision a future mobility platform that aligns all three perspectives. By developing a digital infrastructure that keeps their distinct interests in mind and adds a holistic network overview, we can foster cities where mobility is balanced.
Modern cities already have a myriad of mobility options, available to be used at a moment’s notice. Yet, trying to find access to them feels like participating in a never-ending easter egg hunt.
The end game for a great mobility service is to provide maximum transport availability, easy access and a frictionless experience. One natural way that this could happen effectively, is for cities themselves to initiate a single, seamless one stop shop for mobility. People will see the best offerings around them, transport providers will know that their fleets are easily reachable for anyone willing to use them, and cities will have full knowledge of how people actually move.
At Trafi, we are already realizing this together with Berlin’s transit agency BVG, where we have collaborated to launch Jelbi, a multimodal mobility service application that went live this June. Integrating all types of transportation, from the public transit network to private operators spanning from micro-mobility to ride-hailing and taxis, 25 different providers have shown interest in being integrated. We are sure that other cities will follow suit.
Converging a sea of transport modes can also open up a flood gate of irrelevancy. Future mobility services will have to tackle this by understanding why people move the way they move.
When quantifying people’s decision making mechanics we can tailor personal mobility experiences by offering only the most relevant transport options. This will also help transport providers to predict where certain supply has to be distributed. Moreover, transport providers will be able to foresee which additional transport types are needed, and where.
To top it all off, cities will (finally) have a full picture needed for urban planning and new infrastructure: which additional sidewalk or cycle paths need to be laid, handling and distributing traffic when a specific street is closed down for a huge event, anticipating how the transportation network should be extended based on a population increase in and around the city.
Mass transit systems will continue to form the backbone of urban mobility. At the same time, many private mobility providers are offering handy and fast complements to public transportation. Many of them are relentless advocates for shared rather than owned means of mobility, vouching to decrease rather than increase the traffic on our roads.
Be that as it may, cities still want to see a reduction in street congestion by limiting the number of vehicles carrying only one or two people at most. Transport providers also want to offer efficient fleet dispatching, while people just want to travel fast and affordably. This will lead to the rise of disrupted mass transit and innovative solutions for group transportation. These solutions will have to combine privately and publicly owned fleets of shared vehicles. Traveling alone with a vehicle designed to carry more people will have an even larger premium cost.
How do we want to run the mobility of tomorrow? Cities are too complex to be managed from one perspective. To ensure sustainable and stable urban mobility, we must enable the city, people and transport providers to act in close collaboration. For that we need a digital infrastructure that continuously and systematically improve the transportation network and keeps it in balance. We see the potential of cities and private players operating towards a common goal: to make the way we move better.
Founded in 2013, Trafi is a Lithuanian tech start-up. Trafi is working shoulder-to-shoulder with cities, countries, and companies worldwide to create the best in class Mobility-as-a-Service alternative for congested cities. Trafi offers cities the possibility to connect all mobility services into one single platform where users can check itineraries and also book their tickets and trips.
Trafi’s mission is to empower cities’ urban transportation with technology and know-how and encourage citizens to use more sustainable modes of transportation by accessing all services into one single platform. Trafi is currently live in 4 continents around the world and 7 cities.