Smart Transportation

Integrated Mobility: The Transport Solution For Tomorrow’s Cities

By 2030, roughly 60% of the global population will live in cities, and the expansion of “megacities” (cities with a population of over ten million) is causing new transportation challenges. With growing access to connectivity, mobile applications, and transport automation, methods people use to travel around cities will change dramatically. Integrated mobility is helping cities make the most of new transportation options, and leverage them to solve problems like congestion, pollution, and access to economic opportunity.

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What Is Integrated Mobility?

The foundation of integrated mobility is public transit. Integrated mobility is used when mobility providers collaborate and promote their travel services as one unified service. It is about linking transportation options together so they can be accessed by commuters as part of a package.

Integrated mobility lets passengers create an intermodal trip and use several modes of transport to arrive at their destination, such as an e-bike followed by a train. Alternatively, they can choose from various transportation options, such as a bus, car sharing or a train.

The term integrated mobility is also used in relation to supplying information, bookings, reservations, and payments. The goal is to provide a service that integrates all these resources.


Challenges In Today’s Transport Systems

Cities experience pressing transport challenges when transport systems cannot meet the demands of urban mobility.  

  • Land consumption: Today’s cities are experiencing urban sprawl, as commercial and residential real estate move away from urban centers. The result is often complex transit and long commutes. In North America, 30-60% of the area of an urban region may be set aside for roads and parking lots, caused by over-dependence on certain types of transportation, particularly the automobile.  
  • Congestion and parking problems: Transportation infrastructures are under strain due to the spread and motorization of the automobile. Vehicles spend most of their time parked, creating a need for parking spaces. Congestion and parking are interconnected as street parking takes up lanes, reduces transport capacity, and contributes to congestion.
  • Aging infrastructure: Incurs growing maintenance costs and pressure exists to update the infrastructure. Repair and maintenance are costly and create traffic disruptions.
  • Movement of freight: Globalization, materialization, and online shopping demand the movement of growing quantities of freight. The movement of freight traffic in urban areas can add to congestion when freight traffic shares infrastructure with passenger traffic.

Why Is Integrated Mobility Important To Overcome Challenges In Modern Cities?

Integrated mobility promotes social growth through greater access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. The aim of integrated mobility is to provide convenient transportation, so people can access a suitable vehicle for their journey. When additional transit options are available, people can live in a city without owning a car, with only occasional car access.

In an integrated mobility system, transport providers, users, and governments use technology to exchange real-time information via transportation modes, such as shipping, bus, rideshare, autonomous pod, air travel, bike-share, and rail. When mobility is integrated, cities experience lower congestion, while customers experience more efficient travel, simplified route planning, and customer-tailored travel options.


Components Of An Integrated Mobility Solution

Three components that can promote the success of integrated mobility solutions:

  • A diverse set of transportation methods: Multimodal transportation systems should provide individuals with transportation choices. New mobility services have arisen over the years, including car sharing, taxi-hailing, ride sharing, bike sharing, and bus on-demand.  
  • Mobility hubs: Points of connectivity where modes of travel such as biking, walking, transit, and shared mobility, come together. These hubs are located where there is a concentration of housing, shopping, and employment.  
  • Infrastructure adjustment: Infrastructure should allow for alternative mobile solutions. Cities can give shared mobility priority on the road, as in North American HOV (Highly Occupied Vehicle) highway lanes. By designating special lanes for ride or car sharing vehicles, cities can minimize congestion and make alternatives to personal vehicles more attractive.

Benefits Of Integrated Mobility For Cities

  • Social inclusion: An aim of mobility is to provide citizens with access to city services. For example, in 2003, the city of Toyama (Japan) initiated a mobility plan to benefit the aging sector of their population. They provided low-floor trams, barrier-free public transport, and smart cards.
  • Economic benefits: Better mobility solutions provide people with better access to their activities. Cities thus become more attractive for employers, businesses, and tourism.
  • Green cities: A sustainable mobility solution founded on public transit means increased road safety, reduced noise pollution, efficient utilization of public space, and better air quality.
  • Save time and money: Congestion costs the USA around $160 billion annually, including 7 billion hours of time wasted sitting in traffic and 3 billion gallons of wasted fuel. Mobility solutions such as ridesharing save time for citizens and reduces expenses.
  • Solve urban density problems: The goal is the interoperability of public transportation working together with the private sector.
  • The flexibility of city commuting: Users can use cloud platforms and apps dedicated to mobility to organize their end-to-end journeys, book trips, and vehicles in real time and use electronic payment services.


Integrated Mobility Platform (IMP)

Integrated mobility platforms are a key feature of smart mobility. Today, users are less interested in single mode transportation and prefer customized integrated end-to-end solutions. Users also want travel solutions tailored to their needs. For example, 57% of travelers hold that travel brands should tailor their information according to past behaviors and personal preferences of consumers.

An integrated mobility platform is an urban traffic management solution that integrates different modes of transportation. It combines transit modes, simplifies route planning, and allows customization according to customer preferences.

Integrated mobility platforms can benefit both platform providers and end users. Platform providers can use IMP back-end applications to forecast and control future traffic flow. They can also profit from front-end applications, by promoting sales through the latest channels. End-users can customize their journeys, improving the comfort and ease of public transport.

Integrated Mobility Platform Success Factors

The following are factors which strongly influence the success of an integrated mobility platform project:

  • Be flexible: Priorities can change quickly. When you predetermine your transport mode plan from the onset opportunities can go unnoticed. Allow for flexibility when defining and integrating transportation modes into the platform.
  • Start small and fast: Start with a limited number of transport functionalities and modes and gradually add more. This lets you launch early and react quickly to market changes. It reduces the risk of ending up with an outdated system after a costly and extended implementation phase.
  • End-to-end functionality: Offer a large set of functionalities, from payment to routing over-booking. This helps attracts users and compete with alternative solutions.
  • Offer security functionality: Include facilities to improve the safety and security of customers, including location-sharing features, and automatic emergency calls.
  • Make UI simple: Enable speedy user acceptance and smooth interaction. Avoid more than three steps for booking and payment processes.    
  • Make it customizable: Ensure a high degree of personalization so customers can choose the transport modes and functions that are most valuable for them.
  • Balance liability and customer experience: Some integrated mobility platform providers operate as resellers, because of the high liability risk of offering third-party services using their core brand.  

Integrated Mobility: Pulling It All Together

Tomorrow’s cities will need new modes of transport, and these are already emerging. From electric scooters to ride hailing, car sharing, and autonomous vehicles, residents of large cities have access to modes of transport that were unthought of only a few years ago. Integrated mobility is helping cities make sense of new transport modes and combine them with traditional platforms like buses and trains, and provide an end-to-end transport solution for customers. It is critical to organizing multimode transport to support the needs of the future metropolis.