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2017 | Book

Disrupting Mobility

Impacts of Sharing Economy and Innovative Transportation on Cities


About this book

This book explores the opportunities and challenges of the sharing economy and innovative transportation technologies with regard to urban mobility. Written by government experts, social scientists, technologists and city planners from North America, Europe and Australia, the papers in this book address the impacts of demographic, societal and economic trends and the fundamental changes arising from the increasing automation and connectivity of vehicles, smart communication technologies, multimodal transit services, and urban design.

The book is based on the Disrupting Mobility Summit held in Cambridge, MA (USA) in November 2015, organized by the City Science Initiative at MIT Media Lab, the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of California at Berkeley, the LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and Politics and the Innovation Center for Mobility and Societal Change in Berlin.

Table of Contents


Public Sector Activities

Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices 2045—A National Dialogue About Future Transportation Opportunities and Challenges
This paper summarizes the findings of the U.S. DOT’s comprehensive report on the current and future conditions of America’s transportation system, Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices 2045. The full report, and in turn this paper, discusses long-term and emerging trends in passenger and freight travel and the potential impacts of technological advances, climate change, and evolving governance institutions and funding sources. This analysis provides a framework for a fact-based discussion about the critical transportation policy choices we are faced with to address these long-term challenges. Beyond Traffic is intended to stimulate a national dialogue about the nation’s future transportation opportunities and challenges.
Victor M. Mendez, Carlos A. Monje Jr., Vinn White
Creating an Innovative Mobility Ecosystem for Urban Planning Areas
Urban planning, infrastructure design, and mobility policy are up against a tough system-level challenge: the rapid adaptation of shared mobility. The new mobility is destabilizing the current auto-oriented transportation paradigm, and gradually moving toward a new mobility ecosystem. In order to capture the potential and create shared infrastructure, an innovative mobility planning model based on a scientific approach was developed to identify context-sensitive area solutions and the scaling of the proposed ecosystem for short- and long-term horizons. The aim of this model is to build capacities and competencies, enable municipal authority and system planners to quantify the scale and cost, and accurately model the potential impact and benefits of various innovative mobility strategies.
Dewan Masud Karim

Sharing Economy and Multimodal Mobility

How Disruptive Can Shared Mobility Be? A Scenario-Based Evaluation of Shared Mobility Systems Implemented at Large Scale
This paper reports on ongoing work on getting a deeper insight into possible integrations of different shared vehicle systems. It introduces an original methodology in three stages, which helps dealing with the complexity of the problem. Using a simulation tool, different scenarios are assessed. The paper presents preliminary results obtained by simulating two extreme-case scenarios with large-scale car-sharing and bike-sharing schemes. The results suggest that shared mobility, if supplied at large scale and in the right mix, could indeed serve a large share of current travel demand without substantial losses in terms of generalized costs.
Francesco Ciari, Henrik Becker
Transit Systems and the Impacts of Shared Mobility
Mobility is fundamental to quality of life and economic prosperity in cities. Public agencies have an interest in better understanding how the emergence and evolution of shared mobility services is changing the transportation playing field. Transit Center commissioned Sam Schwartz Consulting, in partnership with the Shared Use Mobility Center, to perform a national study with the goal to better understand the evolving relationship between fixed route transit systems and emerging forms of shared mobility such as ridesourcing, bikeshare, carshare, and microtransit. This work is aimed at informing public transit providers, transportation agencies, public officials, and the public, all of whom play a role in ensuring that cities maintain effective, efficient, and equitable system.
Joe Iacobucci, Kirk Hovenkotter, Jacob Anbinder
Shared Mobility in Asian Megacities: The Rise of the Apps
In August 2015, the Philippines became the first country in Asia to legalize app-based shared mobility services by defining a framework for “Transport Network Companies” (TNCs). With the country’s long history of shared transport, the underlying concept was already culturally ingrained. However, given that only around 31% of Filipinos have bank accounts, with an estimated 4% access to credit card, and smart phone penetration around 21%, the current market for TNC services is limited to a small segment of the population, compared to the overall shared transport market. While it remains unclear whether TNC services will add to congestion by helping to spur some suppressed demand trips, or ultimately reduce car ownership by providing an alternative shared model, the quick uptake and growth of the TNC services also show that they are improving the overall mobility of certain population segments. However, the services remain out of reach for the majority of the population and add to mobility inequality. Both issues traffic congestion and inequality of access reflect the discussion in the developed countries, but are magnified by the extreme growth rates of cities like Manila, Jakarta, and Bangkok, where the future of those services will likely be shaped and decided by daily practice far ahead of the West.
Katja Schechtner, Melinda Hanson
What Drives the Usage of Intelligent Traveler Information Systems?
Rising mobility demand and increasing complexity of transportation options put a higher pressure on transportation systems and are a challenge in urban areas. A solution requires changes on coordination and behavioral levels. Today’s technology, e.g., omnipresent smartphones, comprises the capabilities to induce such change via supply and demand coordination through intelligent traveler information systems. To identify the driving forces behind the decision to use such systems on an individual level the UTAUT 2 is transferred to the context of mobility by enriching it with explanatory insights from transportation research. The results indicate that the driving forces are user-specific and depend on diverse influencing factors that exceed pure economic and socio-demographic dimensions.
Christopher Lisson, Margeret Hall, Wibke Michalk, Christof Weinhardt
You Are What You Share: Understanding Participation Motives in Peer-to-Peer Carsharing
Carsharing is changing the automotive industry. Although existing offers fail to fully meet expectations, researchers and mangers agree that these access-based services will strongly affect the industry’s existing business model. Employing means-end chain analysis, we provide first insights in car owners’ and renters’ participation motives to understand the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) carsharing trend. Users are not only concerned about cost savings and altruism but also about expressing their personality through the car they offer or rent. While renters realize particular lifestyle expectations, car owners participate to express their interest in enabling others’ mobility. P2P carsharing provides users with sharable life-enriching stories. The 2010s are all about sharing—one’s pictures, rooms, and cars.
Mark-Philipp Wilhelms, Sven Henkel, Katrin Merfeld
Multimodal Transportation Payments Convergence—Key to Mobility
Travelers have more choices than ever before and information about these travel choices is being integrated and delivered to individuals, making trip planning easy. But each of these transportation options may require its own method of payment, requiring travelers to use different payment devices and establish multiple payment accounts. Multimodal payments convergence promises to make the travel experience truly seamless. With payments convergence, travelers will be able to plan, book, access, and pay for their trips with minimal effort. Payments convergence will enable transportation service providers to better market their services, incentivize mode choice, manage demand, and may reduce costs. Multimodal payment will be part of bundled mobility services, which will provide travelers access to many mobility options. Both public and private sector organizations are developing, demonstrating, and implementing various forms of multimodal payments. This paper will outline three approaches to payments convergence, and will discuss the challenges to successful implementation of each approach.
Michael Dinning, Timothy Weisenberger
System Effects of Widespread Use of Fully Automated Vehicles—Three Scenarios
As a promising technology close to entering the market, fully automated vehicles (AVs) have been widely analyzed from many angles. In spite of many discussions and articles published on the subject, there has been little structured analysis of the broader system-level effects of full adoption of AVs, and therefore a lack of consideration of the potential effects of multiple simultaneous causal relationships and feedback loops. This paper utilizes an existing system dynamics model that conceptually illustrates many important dynamics in surface transportation systems. It builds on this model, incorporating changes that are likely to occur under three different scenarios of AV adoption.
Wolfgang Gruel, Joseph M. Stanford
Smartphone App Evolution and Early Understanding from a Multimodal App User Survey
Travelers are increasingly turning to smartphone applications for an array of transportation functions. Four types of transportation apps have emerged: (1) mobility apps; (2) connected vehicle apps; (3) smart-parking apps; and (4) courier network service (CNS) apps. This chapter discusses the history and trends leading to the growth and development of transportation apps and summarizes key characteristics of 83 transportation apps identified through an Internet search cataloging transportation apps with more than 10,000 downloads each. Seventy-one percent of the 83 apps identified incorporated a real-time data function (e.g., traffic conditions, roadway incidents, parking availability, and public transit wait times). Additionally, the chapter reports on findings from a survey, conducted in spring 2016, of 130 app users who downloaded the RideScout mobility aggregator app (which ceased operations in August 2016). The survey, which asked respondents questions about their use of mobility aggregators more generally, sought to understand how multi-modal information apps shift travel behavior. The findings showed that most users of such apps would walk, drive alone, and carpool during a typical month. Fifty percent of respondents drove alone once or more per day. Twenty-five percent owned one vehicle, and 75% owned two or more vehicles. Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported that they drove less or much less due to the apps. Findings from the survey suggest that multi-modal app users do change their travel behavior in response to information provided, and they may contribute to a reduction in vehicle use.
Susan Shaheen, Adam Cohen, Elliot Martin
Getting Around with Maps and Apps: How ICT Sways Mode Choice
As computers have become cheap and mobile—most notably in the form of the smartphone—the data and information that they convey has become increasingly practical and spatial for a critical mass of consumers. In short, through mobile devices and GPS functionality, a substantial connected class can now find information that is relevant to them based on where they are, and when they are there. One of the most practical and common behaviors exhibited is the ability to check digital maps and transport information while mobile, often with real-time data. What influence might this have on travel behavior? This study uses focus groups to gain an exploratory understanding of the qualitative influence that information communication technology (ICT) exerts on travel mode choice.
Adam L. Davidson
Online and App-Based Carpooling in France: Analyzing Users and Practices—A Study of BlaBlaCar
This paper examines the characteristics and practices of ridesharing users in France. In May 2013, the authors surveyed members of BlaBlaCar, the largest online and app-based carpooling service in France, to analyze the sociodemographic characteristics and usage patterns of the respondents. The survey results identify correlations between socio-demographic characteristics and usage elements. Notably, users with a lower-income level are more inclined to be passengers, while higher-income users employ carpooling mainly as drivers. Students are shown to be more frequent users as well. These findings indicate some equity balancing effects, which may be unique to this shared mobility mode.
Susan Shaheen, Adam Stocker, Marie Mundler
A Framework for Understanding the Impacts of Ridesourcing on Transportation
The transportation sector is currently experiencing a monumental disruption with the introduction and evolution of technology and transportation services such as bikesharing, carsharing, on-demand ridesourcing, and microtransit. As these new layers of technology-based transportation options begin to flourish, it is important to understand how they compete and interact with more traditional modes. For example, ridesourcing theoretically takes an underutilized existing resource—empty seats in single-occupancy vehicles—and fills them with passengers. In reality, it is difficult to disentangle the interrelated short- and long-term outcomes and self-selection issues that arise from simply asking whether ridesourcing takes cars off the road or if we are siphoning from walking, bicycling, and transit modes. Beyond travel behavior, these evolving transportation services can also significantly impact our transportation systems, society, and the environment. Due to such complications, these outcomes have yet to be adequately studied. Accordingly, this book chapter provides a framework to investigate ridesourcing impacts. This, in turn, will help cities better account for the impact of technology and evolving transportation services in their planning processes.
Alejandro Henao, Wesley Marshall

Innovative Transportation Technologies and City Design

Disrupting Mobility: Decarbonising Transport?
The transport sector urgently needs to identify decarbonisation pathways. Global demand for mobility is growing. The same applies for emissions from transport, with much of this growth taking place in emerging economies. Numerous scenario studies attempt to determine efficient strategies to decarbonise the transport sector. In this chapter we provide a comprehensive overview of scenario studies and reveal a wide spectrum of options to decarbonisation. Differences in projected GHG emissions, primary energy use and distances travelled are analysed. A typology of scenario studies is elaborated which reveals large differences in possible pathways.
Florian Lennert, Robert Schönduwe
Accessibility in Cities: Transport and Urban Form
This chapter reviews the different pathways which cities are following to become more accessible. By identifying the close link between transport and urban form based on global evidence, it highlights the direct and indirect costs of choices made. It then presents the tipping points which can allow to proceed from sprawling urban development and conventional motorised transport to more compact cities characterised by innovative mobility choices shaped around shared and public transport. The examples used are based on cities worldwide to illustrate emerging trends from both developed and developing countries. Therefore, the recommendations are valuable for a range of stakeholders including local and national policy makers, academics and vehicle manufacturers.
Philipp Rode, Graham Floater, Nikolas Thomopoulos, James Docherty, Peter Schwinger, Anjali Mahendra, Wanli Fang
Mobility Patterns in Shared, Autonomous, and Connected Urban Transport
A number of recent technological breakthroughs promise disrupting urban mobility as we know it. But anticipating such disruption requires valid predictions: disruption implies that predictions cannot simply be extrapolations from a current state. Predictions have to consider the social, economic, and spatial context of mobility. This paper studies mechanisms to support evidence-based transport planning in disrupting times. It presents various approaches, mostly based on simulation, to estimate the potential or real impact of the introduction of new paradigms on urban mobility, such as ad hoc shared forms of transportation, autonomously driving electrical vehicles, or IT platforms coordinating and integrating modes of transportation.
Nicole Ronald, Zahra Navidi, Yaoli Wang, Michael Rigby, Shubham Jain, Ronny Kutadinata, Russell Thompson, Stephan Winter
Transit Leap: A Deployment Path for Shared-Use Autonomous Vehicles that Supports Sustainability
The concept of Transit Leap is introduced and explained as robotic, shared-use, multi-passenger vehicle applications that start small, expand by demand, merge, and spread. It is an approach to deploying automated vehicles that is meant to blunt the long-established worldwide trend of ongoing increases in the number of private vehicles. Transit Leap is an alternative to year-by-year automotive feature creep, which is currently the most likely path to ubiquitous robotic mobility, absent public policy intervention. Transit Leap helps bypass the interim challenges of semi-autonomous and mixed-autonomy scenarios, and supports equity in mobility, as well as environmental quality and the financial viability of public transit networks.
Bern Grush, John Niles
Biking and the Connected City
There is a growing consensus that bikes will play a major role in the future of urban transportation. As of June 2014, public bike-sharing systems existed on five continents, including 712 cities. Despite growing interest in the role of bikes in urban transportation, there is little discussion of how the bike will fit into the Internet of Things and the vision of the “connected city.” The connected city is an urban area where connected technologies are used to enhance transportation performance and reduce costs. This chapter outlines how biking could be integrated into the Internet of things, potential futures for transportation agencies as bike managers in the connected city, and what potential issues need to be addressed.
Victoria Adams, Sudeeksha Murari, Christopher Round
iTRANS: Proactive ITS Based on Drone Technology to Solve Urban Transportation Challenge
Transportation has become the latest field for disrupting innovation, as were telecommunications or computers in the last decades. We are seeing significant advances in the development of autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles and an immense surge of shared mobility services, such as bike-sharing and ride-sourcing services like Uber- all promising to improve the life of the average urban commuter. There are significant obstacles to the deployment and/or full utilization of these technologies, however, which could be mitigated with an additional layer of transportation system monitoring. This chapter introduces the use of unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAV), or drones, as the cornerstone of an advanced and proactive new intelligent transportation system (ITS) called, iTRANS. This new approach will reveal important traffic variables that are currently unpredictable, as well as solve most jurisdictional conflicts of interest, and regulatory constraints. Furthermore, iTRANS is designed to be one of the main tools to complete a successful transition from a dysfunctional transportation system to an optimal linear programming one in which transportation supply and demand is proactively managed through advanced ITS software. This sophisticated ITS system, connected to open software platforms, would gather and integrate all available information from the different modes of transportation, allowing real-time traffic management of the entire transportation system, as a whole. In addition, this chapter addresses the current technologies, urban transportation challenges related to autonomous vehicles, and describes the multifaceted approach of iTRANS and how its application would be advantageous in the deployment of autonomous vehicles. In a nutshell, this provides a systematic approach that 21st century engineers could use to create more eco-friendly, affordable, safe and sustainable transportation environments.
Luis E. Ferreras
Mobilescapes: A New Frontier for Urban, Vehicle, and Media Design
What if we could transform traffic chaos into mobile landscapes? This paper introduces a new discipline, mobilescape design, at the intersection of urban, vehicle, and media design. Its catalyst is the capability of driverless vehicles to redefine urban spaces. In addition to offering improvements in safety, traffic circulation, and pollution levels, autonomous driving could sublimate the chaos of traffic into meaningful dynamic environments out of moving or static vehicles. The opportunities are endless. Creating meaningful situations out of mobile arrays can transform the interaction with local spaces, opening up new avenues in the arts, design, and business. The main goal of this paper is thus to raise awareness of the true potential of autonomous driving to fully exploit its capabilities in cities.
Lino Vital García-Verdugo
Disrupting Mobility
Gereon Meyer
Susan Shaheen
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