Why Mobility Analytics Are More Important Than Ever
After ioki’s Intelligent mobility event with Housing Industry Leaders, Alina Schuprin, International Business Development Manager, talks us through the importance of mobility analytics, strengthening public transport structures and looking to the future of travel.

As International Business and Development Manager, Alina supports ioki’s mission to implement integrated DRT solutions all over Europe. Alina has a personal passion for mobility and is fascinated about driving forward the mobility turnaround.

Opening the interview, she explained: “When I was a teenager, I lived in a small village in the North of Germany. The village was poorly connected to public transport. Visiting my friends in one of the neighbouring villages took me either 1.5 hours by train or 45 minutes by bicycle.”

When I was a teenager, I lived in a small village in the North of Germany. The village was poorly connected to public transport

Over recent years, there has been a focus on digitalisation across multiple sectors. Data processing is becoming increasingly important in the planning process, especially in transport.

Turning data into physical actionable projects

ioki’s Mobility Analytics works with data processing in mind. To do this, ioki always takes multiple steps into account during the analysis.

Step one consists of developing a detailed understanding of the planning area’s structure and the transport situation on site. Different data sets generate statistics-based theoretical users (agents) with specific mobility habits and individual routes.

“The result is a highly detailed, data-driven model that incorporates every aspect of demand for mobility” added, Alina.

The result is a highly detailed, data-driven model that incorporates every aspect of demand for mobility

Next, journey times are modelled and the overall appeal of public transport travel and other means of transport for each agent. The result includes a map of areas where reaching public transport is difficult and a demand-responsive transport system gives users better access to public transport.

Alina told Housing Industry Leaders: “Once a potential operating area has been identified, an operational simulation for different scenarios takes place.”

The result is a detailed, tailor-made operations design for the whole region including fleet sizes, operating hours, the optimum service level and a lot of other service characteristics.

However, this theoretical optimum says nothing about the economic viability of a demand-responsive transport offering. Another step is needed – a sensitivity analysis calculates and assesses the cost-to-revenue situation for all possible operating parameter combinations.

On demand services are likely to increase

Further adding to this, on-demand services can be implemented where needed. Alina explained the benefits of having a new digital service.

She went on to say: “In towns and cities, our partners can reduce the journey time of their passengers and further increase cost efficiency and the utilisation level of their vehicles through intelligently pooled rides. On-demand services can be used as public transport feeders for a better connection to the city.”

The success factor in these areas is the integration into the existing public transport environment to prevent parallel offers and even more cars that congest the roads.

“In the countryside, our partners can reduce cost-intensive empty runs and gaps in their operating hours through the digitisation of their services (digital Dial-a-Bus). Where economically viable, on-demand can be a bus substitution. With modern order functions such as a reliable pre-booking or an arrival-based booking function and pooling, they are also able to increase the number of potential users for their on-demand lines and shared taxis.”

These benefits do not just improve new services but also build on existing transport structures. The transport sector has been working on ways to close the first and last-mile gap in areas that have poor connectivity.

The duality of benefits was extended when Alina told Housing Industry Leaders: “On-demand services, which are deeply integrated into the existing public transport system and function as public transport feeders can link places more strongly together, connect specific places more closely to a metropolitan region and increase usage and adaptation.”

Using real-time data mobility needs can be adapted to the demand of the user. The goal is to give people access to public transport and thus to increase their quality of life.

Automation is now a reality rather than a concept

As the transport sector evolves talks of automated transport is slowly turning into reality. Alina said: “In five years, there will be autonomous on-demand shuttles on the streets as part of a local public transport system. With “EVA-Shuttle”, ioki already launched an app-bookable, autonomous DRT service (Level 4) in the city of Karlsruhe.”

Together with PostBus, an existing regular service was digitalised and optimised. The service is used both by the residents of Appenzell in Eastern Switzerland and by many tourists to the popular holiday region. The shuttles can be booked quickly and easily via app or also by phone.

Additionally, In the future public transport, bicycles, and various forms of micro-mobility offers are becoming increasingly popular, but the car will also continue to find its place.

“There will be many more electric vehicles powered by renewable electricity or hydrogen-powered vehicles; these will be shared by people through sharing concepts such as on-demand services. Hence, cars are not banished from the ideal vision of the future, but they will be used in such a way that there are fewer of them and that they will be shared.”

Rounding up the interview, Alina spoke of how this mobility would have been useful when she was a teenager. She said: “Travelling around was a big challenge and an on-demand shuttle service would have made my life so much easier. Today I can help cities and councils to reshape their ineffective public transport and thus push sustainable and innovative mobility solutions forward.”