Why All Local Governments Must Prepare for Mobility-as-a-Service

New reports show that mobility-as-a-service is only going to grow, and analysts recommend municipal leaders from rural areas to dense cities start planning.

The mobility-as-a-service market will grow rapidly, mainly due to the high adoption of online mobility-on-demand services, through 2023, according to a recent Market Research Future report. Lyft, Car2Go, Uber, Ridepal and others are at the forefront of creating an on demand transportation system that is better suited to growing urban densities.

That’s because mobility-as-a-service provides an alternative way to move more people and goods, one that adds more variability into the supply side of transportation. By transforming a relatively inflexible transportation system to one where supply is more evenly aligned with demand, cities can explore opportunities to improve transportation access and serve groups that have difficulty with traditional modes of public transit.

Cities should adapt, according to McKinsey partners writing for the Harvard Business Review. The company’s analysis suggests that by 2030, developing, average-size cities could realize $600 million in annual societal benefits from mobility advances that reduce traffic accidents and their related injuries and fatalities.

Officials might do better to envision what mobility ought to look like five to 15 years from now and devise policies to bring about that future sooner than it might otherwise arrive. Doing so will allow policy makers to play a more proactive role in shaping what that future looks like. Officials who hope to maximize the benefits of advanced mobility might think about several core strategies,” they wrote.

Those core strategies are:

  1. Tailoring new mobility approaches to a city’s specific challenges
  2. Developing integrated mobility systems that combine public transit with car sharing, autonomous vehicles and smart solutions that reduce traffic congestion or create a seamless mobility, where users rely on an array of transportation opportunities

Cities that take a wait-and-see approach miss out on the opportunity to shape the complex dynamics of mobility-as-a-service, instead creating reactive public policies to address things like too many curbside pickups and fee-starved public transit systems in need of upgrades.

City leaders, as well as local government leaders in widespread areas, that get a head start on developing integrated mobility plans put their communities in a better position to reap the benefits of better service, lower costs and increased efficiency and safety. For example, they:

  • Designate zones for pickups and drop-offs to ease the flow of vehicles
  • Consider other ways to better use parking spaces that become more commonly available as vehicles are used more efficiently
  • Engage groups that tend to be poorly served by public transit, such as the elderly
  • Provide low-cost access to a variety of vehicles and retire low-usage public transit routes

Door-to-Door for Rail Travelers

They can also take advantage of rideshare partnerships that create seamless transportation opportunities, such as the one between Amtrak and Lyft that promises to provide 97 percent of Amtrak riders with door-to-door transportation service.

Customers use the Amtrak mobile app to access Lyft, and request a ride. New Lyft users receive $5 off each of their first four rides with the promo code AMTRAKLYFT.

Reducing Ambulance Costs in the City

In Fort Worth, Lyft has partnered with MedStar Mobile Healthcare to reduce the strain on ambulances by transporting lower priority patients. The cost to dispatch an ambulance is $450.

MedStar triage nurses will recommend a Lyft if a patient does not immediate care. The Lyft bill for nearly 38 MedStar rides to the hospital was less than $450.

On Demand Rural Transportation

Pelivan Transit, owned and operated by Grand Gateway EDA, a council of governments serving northeastern Oklahoma, manages more than 700 trips per day, including access to healthcare appointments, commuter routes and more.

The agency uses a One-Click/One-Call on demand response solution to improve services for 2.7 million passengers per year. The streamlined system also helps improve reporting to 13 different funding agencies.

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About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of EfficientGov.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.