The advancements in technology have changed the way people conducted day-to-day activities. Transportation services have to undergo drastic change as the preferences of passengers changed with the introduction of ride-hailing services that enabled them to book a ride through the smartphone app and not depend upon the fixed timings of traditional public transport. Governments have realized the need to adapt to changing passenger needs of mobility on demand and launching on-demand programs by collaborating with technology companies or private companies that already provide such services. The focus of government authorities is to offer convenient and affordable services. Few pilot programs are on the way and will launch by August 2020.
Local air mobility has become essential as big airlines have opted out of local transport. Companies have been planning to launch on-demand local air transportation services. Passengers can book a ride through the smartphone application and access to the nearest airfield to avail of the aircraft. Many companies have developed aircraft and collaborated with technology firms to ensure efficient management of passengers. The preference for mobility on demand would grow over the next few years. According to the report published by Allied Market Research, the global mobility-on-demand market is estimated to grow considerably over the next few years. Following are some of the activities taking place in the industry.
Though private companies such as Uber, Lyft, and others have made their mark in the mobility-on-demand industry, government authorities have realized the changing needs of passengers. Traditionally government buses travel based on their fixed timings and frequencies each day. However, some government authorities have decided to adapt to changing passenger needs. The Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) launched an on-demand micro-transit program, Link On-Demand. Passengers need to use smartphone applications to request customized trips. Other passengers will also be picked up by a transit along the way if they requested a ride along the same way.
The pilot would take place in collaboration with TransLoc, a smart mobility firm of Ford. Passengers need to download the app and request a ride. They can request a ride one day in advance or in real-time. Moreover, they can request a ride by calling the customer service center of BATA or through the website of TransLoc. This service will start on a pilot basis and will be implemented in the Traverse City area from August 1, 2020. Depending upon the success of the pilot, the next steps will be taken.
Riding on the wave of the launch of new services, St. Louis Metro Transit from Missouri announced the launch of an on-demand transit service. This service will be launched in collaboration with Via. The aim of the new service is to offer a safer traveling experience as compared to traditional buses. Moreover, it intends to explore the areas where traditional public transit is less available. The service, known as Via Metro STL, would provide efficient, convenient, and affordable ride sharing for passengers in Southwest St Louis County and North St Louis County.
Through the Via App, passengers can book a ride in a shared vehicle and travel within specified service zones. With an advanced algorithm in place, passengers requesting a ride, in the same way, will be picked up. Jessica Mefford-Miller, the Executive Director of Metro Transit, outlined that innovative on-demand and micro-transit options enable them to address changing needs of passengers in a convenient and affordable manner.
With new programs launching to make mobility on demand an easy option for people to travel from one place to another, market players have come up with innovative solutions that would enable people to travel regionally by air. VoltAero, a regional air mobility player, took a step forward by collaborating with KinectAir to enable people to travel regionally in an accessible, safe, and affordable manner. KinectAir developed an artificial intelligence-based smartphone application and integrated it with VoltAero’s hybrid-electric airplane, Cassio. The app would balance passenger demand with the availability of air transport. Cassio aircraft offers low-noise and environmentally-friendly flights as regional air service becomes more significant than ever as airlines abandon short routes. It is designed to fly at a speed of up to 360 kilometers per hour with a range of nearly 1,300 kilometers.
The company plans to launch three versions of the aircraft with four to 10 seats. It can take off and land at a distance of less than 550 meters. KinectAir’s smartphone app would enable users to book flights from the nearest airfield. Its AI-enabled features would balance supply and demand along with giving passengers control over their choices in both environmental and economic manner. VoltAero is expected to begin deliveries through Cassio by 2022. Once it is operational, it is expected to change the course of local air mobility and attract more market players to adopt the same model.