here have been plenty of ideas how to relieve city centers and their residents’ lungs of emissions and exhaust gases. From radical calls (“everyone hop on your bikes”) to more realistic suggestions (“everyone hop on the transit”) to novel concepts such as ride sharing and car sharing.
Juraj Atlas, the cofounder of the Czech largest ride-hailing startup Liftago, explains how to leverage digital technology to interconnect different modes of transport to optimize the entire system and effectively reduce the number of cars in cities. That’s why he’s founded a new urban mobility startup, Mileus.
The worldwide level of urbanization is expected to grow from the current 73% to more than 80% in 2050. Urban sprawl and consequent rise in commuting, combined with a late response by transit systems to new socio-economic reality, have driven and will continue to drive individual car traffic with all its negative aspects, such as air pollution.
Hopes associated with new concepts such as car sharing or digitally supported ride sharing or ride-hailing services have proved not to meet the expectations. Instead of at least partial relief, heavily congested cities in Western Europe and especially North America have experienced the exact opposite.
A greater number of underutilized low capacity cars are hitting the road and ride-hailing services are focusing on attractive city centers, which further aggravates throughput and other traffic problems. At the same time, city suburbs remain underserved. And this is one of the key reasons people opt for their private cars every day.
Automated interconnection of individual transport and public transit.
Cities try to address road traffic and associated safety and environmental issues by implementing various policy measures, from bans on certain types of vehicles to support for cycling. Alone, such steps either cannot resolve the issue or end up creating new problems. One of the promising ways to go seems to be multimodality combining various types of individual transport and transit systems. Interconnected and coordinated, using modern technology and making smart use of available data.
This is exactly what Mileus is about — an overall improvement of the traffic situation in large cities. Mileus aims to make travelling to and in the city easier by coordinating public transport with guaranteed interconnection to ride sharing and ride-hailing services in areas underserved by transit systems.
The aim is to drive inefficient individual car transport to the outskirts. People would use faster public transport to travel within the city and switch to more comfortable individual transport in areas farther away from the center where transit services are sparser and transport infrastructure is not congested anymore.
This should make it easier for residents to decide not to ride their own car in the morning but to choose another comfortable mode of transport which is friendlier both to the environment and life in the city. Automated interconnection with transit should give a boost to ride sharing and ride hailing services on the outskirts which have not been very attractive for operators.
Mileus will enable operators to get the most of areas outside the city center due to driving higher demand and higher ride frequency, leading to higher revenues, without pulling passengers away from public transport. The digital platform will allow them to plan capacities in real time and ensure automated intermodal connection with transit.
Initially, Mileus is focused on increasing the comfort of evening commute home. It offers a system that reduces the weaknesses of public transport and takes citizens all the way home for a lower price than if they took a taxi only. In the next stages, the project will address interconnection between different modes of transport throughout the whole day. The aim is for people to have the certainty that they’ll be able to travel to the city center for work, doctor appointments, arrangements at authority offices, shopping or just fun and get back home quickly and comfortably. This should prompt more commuters to leave their private cars at home.
The system obtains traffic information and operational data about public transit systems from various sources. It uses probability models and real-time data analyses to monitor the movement of both public transport and ride-hailing vehicles and offer the optimal mode of travel at any given moment.
Early this year, a functional version of the product was launched and was lately integrated with the first pilot customer in the Czech Republic. Two more pilots are planned — one more in Central and Eastern Europe and one in Western Europe. After enhancing and fine-tuning the technology, the startup is planning to expand to other parts of the world. Besides Europe, North and South America and Asia seem to be promising markets.