The more help we expect from technologies, the more we should pump it up with data. For example, if we want to know precisely when public transport will be the most crowded or at what time a particular street will have the heaviest traffic, we have to provide algorithms with as much data as possible about people’s movements. If we have enough data sources and information that can be easily shared, then it’s not a problem. Data will help to make our lives easier.
Vehicle sharing and micro-mobility solutions are becoming more popular each year while expanding in more and more cities and countries all over the world. All these platforms and solutions create a certain amount of data. When used properly, it can help to improve everyday life in the city.
MaaS solutions collects data from several service providers
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) providers are a perfect source of data. MaaS solutions integrate various forms of transport services into a single mobility service accessible on demand. These different transport forms include public transport, as well as ride, car, and bike-sharing. In some cases, this might include data about taxis and car rental services.
Source - https://www.trafi.com/jelbi-tender
The idea behind MaaS is that everything is available inside a single application. So there is no need to pay for each service separately. Moreover, there are different payment plans available – a monthly subscription model with a fixed monthly fee or “pay-as-you-go”, where each leg of the booked trip is priced separately.
In 2021 several interesting and significant MaaS partnerships were announced in Europe. One example is the partnership between the public transport company Arriva Nederland (part of Arriva Group, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn), and Moovit - the MaaS solutions specialist owned by Intel. This collaboration has made a new nationwide MaaS solution available to employers in the Netherlands with the chance to provide their staff with a mobility budget for their commuting, business, and private journeys. The MaaS app is called Glimble and it is planning to expand in Belgium, as well as in parts of Germany.
Earlier last year, Swiss Federal Railways - public transport operators in Zurich, Basel, and Bern - created a MaaS solution yumuv. It is the first regional MaaS with subscriptions and is powered by Trafi. In less than two months, yumuv was downloaded by almost 1,000 individuals who made nearly 2,000 rides in Zurich alone. Almost 200 subscribers opted for different subscription packages.
This graph by the yumuv app shows how much information can be obtained from one source of the MaaS solution. It is possible to follow people’s movement, the most popular routes to get from point A to point B, as well as the choice of the vehicles along the way. So this data is indispensable.
The more the user is willing to share data, the more he gets in return. This case is no exception. With the development of MaaS, users of the solution get more freedom to choose while moving in the city. Basically, the user can decide on its own terms without the need to switch apps or platforms. Various vehicle options and different service providers are available on one unified interface. The choice between the fastest or the cheapest option is behind the user. As everything is integrated into one app (citymapper, Moovit), it is efficient and fast to also include public transport in the trip.
Google Maps and Moovit - on their way to becoming MaaS?
Recently all the biggest players in the micro-mobility market have moved to where most people are looking for commuting solutions. It all started with Bird, Lime, Waybots (Skip), and Spin joining Transit app in April 2018. Afterward, In Europe, CityMapper added the two biggest bike operators Ofo and Mobike in June 2018. Soon after, CityMapper announced several integrations for bike, moped, and scooter operators, such as Jump, Lime (at that time separate), and Nextbike; Spin, and Bird scooters; and Cooltra, Coup, and ZigZag mopeds.
The next big thing that happened was the exclusive partnership between Google Maps and Lime that started at the end of 2018 and lasted 2,5 years. It was the integration for short-distance trips, only eight months after Lime started to provide e-scooter services. The company announced that the app shows scooters and bikes nearby in the “transit” tab, as well as via “walking” and “cycling” tabs. The app displays information about each vehicle - distance, price, and battery range.
Moovit was the first MaaS company to add routes for cyclists and it happened back in 2018. The company started its partnerships with GoTo, Donkey Republic, Mimoto, Mobike and Bird, Circ, Hive, and several others in 2019. Moovit added more partnerships in 2021 - Beryl in February, Beam in May, and Voi, Tier, Spin, and Getaround the following months ending with Lime in July. This latest deal affected 20 countries and 117 cities including the United States, South America, Australia, and Europe.
FreeNow started first with the integration of its own Hive brand (now defunct), as well as VOI, BOND, Emmy, and MILES in 2020. In the first half of 2021, it continued with adding Tier and Cooltra, in 2022 - Zipp Mobility.
With big players constantly joining Google Maps and Moovit, these platforms have become MaaS trip planning solutions. The only difference is that it is not possible to pay for the trip via these services so they are not classical MaaS solutions. However, they offer a huge benefit in the form of an extensive user database, as well as users’ habits to plan their trips via these platforms. More reach means more customers. And another important benefit for micro-mobility service providers using MaaS solutions is cross-promo possibilities.
GBFS data - future of city planning
It is in the interests of many parties involved to make micro-mobility data available, so there are organizations that focus on that. What this means for you as a service provider - you can spend weeks integrating with each app-aggregator such as Google, or you can use the standard approach by GBFS. This offers the opportunity to join any app aggregator (Google, Movit, city apps) in a few days with no coding at all. And it doesn't matter what micro-mobility service you are providing.
What is GBFS? It is a leading global initiative created by NABSA - North America Bikeshare and Scootershare Association. GBFS is General Bikeshare Feed Specification. A team of bike-share system owners and operators, application developers, and technology vendors developed GBFS and it was later adopted by over 600 bike-share and scooter systems worldwide. The latest version was released in April 2021.
GBFS defines a common format to share the real-time status of a shared mobility system. The purpose of data specification is to enable the exchange of information between multiple parties in a manner that ensures that all parties agree on what the information represents. The GBFS format allows mobility data to be used by a range of software applications for trip planning, research, analysis, visualization, and regulation. This publicly available data allows regulators, researchers, and community members to gain insights that have helped municipalities meet their goals.
GBFS includes information about vehicles (bicycles, scooters, moped, and cars), stations, dock locations, and availability. There is also information about vehicle characteristics including their type of power and the distance that can be traveled on the remaining charge. Geofenced areas are also included in this set of information, i.e. data about rules related to speed, parking, and prohibited zones.
So what's in the data available for the city? If we specifically talk about information about cars, it is now possible to quickly convert car trips to electric vehicle trips. Questionnaire data in the US shows that this occurs with approximately 30% of all rides. If this is too specific for you, bear in mind that any insights are potentially going to provide the opportunity to optimize the city’s infrastructure and help to make the city more user-friendly and sustainable. And as we all know, this and any other innovations will most likely help to grow the city’s reputation worldwide.
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For shared mobility operators, fleet insurance should be one of the top priorities. No matter the size or composition of your fleet, having the right insurance can offer peace of mind by protecting your business from unforeseen situations
However, the insurance question can sometimes seem daunting – especially if you're new to the industry. In this article, we will explore the key things you need to know about insuring your shared micromobility fleet.
Why you need insurance
Operating a shared mobility fleet isn’t always smooth sailing. Accidents can happen – whether it's a minor fender-bender or something more severe. Insurance serves as your safety net, offering financial coverage for repairs, replacements, and even potential legal obligations after an incident.
Here are the main reasons why insurance should be one of the top priorities for shared mobility fleet operators:
Legal compliance: In many places, insurance for shared mobility fleets is a legal requirement. You probably want to comply with these regulations to avoid any potential fines, penalties – or even the suspension of your operations.
Financial security: Insurance also helps keep your business going financially, no matter what happens. Without insurance, accidents, vehicle damage, or theft can seriously impact your finances. Comprehensive insurance coverage can ensure that you're not left scrambling to cover any unexpected expenses.
Understanding shared micromobility insurance
When it comes to insuring micromobility fleets, part of the challenge stems from the fact that the market is relatively new. Some insurance underwriters avoid dealing directly with micromobility because it's seen as an unfamiliar market.
This is where brokers like Cachet and others specializing in micromobility insurance come in. They partner with various insurance underwriters to provide coverage for operators in this field.
When it comes to shared micromobility, insurance coverage generally has a twofold role: safeguarding assets and handling third-party engagement in the event of accidents.
Liability coverage: Securing third-party public liability insurance for shared mobility fleets is not just a matter of choice – in some places, it's mandated by law. This insurance serves to protect pedestrians and riders in the unfortunate event of accidents, providing financial coverage for injuries and damages that may arise. In other words, it's a safety net that offers peace of mind to operators.
When it comes to mandatory third-party liability insurance, the negotiations with the insurance company usually begin by figuring out what the local authorities require to give them a permit. After that, the insurance policy is adjusted to meet the specific demands outlined by these authorities.
Physical damage coverage: This covers the repair or replacement costs of vehicles if they are damaged due to accidents, collisions, vandalism, or theft. Depending on the policy, physical damage coverage may also extend to equipment like GPS devices, charging stations, and other hardware.
What decides your insurance premium payments?
The amount you'll pay in premiums depends on various factors that are specific to your business This includes your fleet's makeup, where and how you operate, and the level of coverage you're aiming for.
Fleet usage: The more a shared micromobility fleet is used, the more chances there are for things to go wrong. When a fleet is in high demand and used often, there's a greater likelihood that something might happen that requires insurance coverage.
Rider behavior: Insurance companies also consider the fleet's ability to predict and manage undesirable rider behavior. Reckless riding, improper parking, or violating traffic rules can significantly increase the risk of accidents and incidents. Operators that have better measures in place to anticipate and mitigate such behaviors can demonstrate a lower risk profile to insurance providers.
Value of the fleet: How much your vehicles are worth individually and as a fleet will affect how much you pay for insurance. If your vehicles are expensive, your insurance premiums will be higher because it would cost more to replace them if they get damaged or lost.
Size of the fleet: Operators can often negotiate more favorable insurance rates for proportionally larger fleets. As the number of vehicles increases, the overall expected risk is distributed and “diluted” as a result – which translates to lower premiums per vehicle.
However, some brokers like Cachet have embraced a broader approach, ensuring that smaller and medium-sized fleets can also benefit from insurance coverage.
Technology implementation: Shared mobility services that employ technologies like GPS tracking, telematics, and IoT devices can provide insurers with valuable data. This data can then help assess driver behavior and usage patterns, enabling insurers to offer more accurate and tailored premium rates. This also takes into account how simple it is for scooters to be stolen and how well the recovery processes function – which can also play a role in insurance expenses.
Where you operate: The location in which your fleet operates is another important factor. From the insurer’s perspective, different areas pose varied levels of risk. For example, urban mobility – which is associated with a higher risk of accidents – may incur higher premiums compared to vehicles used in rural areas.
Level of coverage: The level of coverage you choose directly affects how much you pay in premiums. Opting for higher coverage limits means you get more comprehensive protection, but obviously, it also means your insurance costs go up.
Choosing the ideal insurance for your fleet
Every shared mobility fleet and business is different, so your insurance needs will depend on things like the type and size of your fleet, where you operate, how much risk you're comfortable with, and of course – how much you are willing to pay.
For example, do you require coverage for specific risks, like vandalism, or perhaps your fleet is composed of premium vehicles that are more expensive? To make it more relatable, let's dive into a practical case of a shared micromobility operator's experience with insurance.
How Hoog found the right insurance with Cachet
The concept behind Hoog Mobility is to revolutionize transportation in smaller Estonian towns. They recognized the need for efficient and eco-friendly local travel and brought a shared mobility solution often seen in big cities but missing in smaller communities: electric scooters.
Cash-strapped mobility startups often worry about potential damage or vandalism happening to their shared vehicles. This concern is shared by traditional insurance companies too. As a result, these insurers might hesitate to provide coverage for shared scooters, and if they do – it's usually at a higher cost.
Faced with this challenge, Hoog initially operated without insurance due to the steep expenses. But that changed when Cachet provided them with a customized insurance solution that perfectly suited the company's needs. Hoog also realized that the initial worry about vandalism wasn't as much of an issue as they thought. But still – having insurance for their fleet turned out to be a sound financial decision that gave them peace of mind.
Don't underestimate insurance – it's just as crucial as having a top-notch fleet and solid software. Insurance is best approached proactively – discovering you've cut corners after an unforeseen event will cost you significantly more.
Getting insurance for shared micromobility might be a bit trickier since it's still a new concept, but we've seen that even smaller fleets can make it work – it's just a matter of finding a suitable partner who understands your needs.
At the end of the day, insurance isn't merely about meeting legal requirements – it showcases your dedication to safety, responsible operations, and the well-being of everyone involved in your mobility business.
Shared mobility is gaining momentum – offering prospects for reducing traffic, cleaning up city air, and providing users with more flexible transportation options. However, despite its potential, shared mobility often seems to take a backseat to traditional public transportation and private vehicles in the eyes of local authorities and infrastructure planners.
Experts see shared mobility as a game-changing revolution in transportation. It surpasses the earlier revolution of the 20th century when personal cars became widely affordable and accessible. Now, with the rise of shared mobility and environmental concerns, the old notion of "one car per person" is becoming outdated.
In light of this, authorities worldwide should proactively prepare for a future where shared mobility plays an increasingly significant role. In this blog post, we'll explore different ways authorities and legislators can encourage shared mobility – and why it's totally worth it.
The positive impact of shared mobility
Shared mobility has the potential to fix some of the problems we face with transportation today, benefiting users, cities, and the environment. Here are the key benefits of shared mobility:
- Reduced congestion: Shared mobility can alleviate traffic congestion, leading to smoother traffic flow and shorter commute times.
- Environmental sustainability: Shared mobility can reduce the number of vehicles on the road, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller carbon footprint. This helps combat air pollution and mitigate the environmental impact of transportation.
- Improved transport accessibility and flexibility: Shared mobility services make transportation more accessible, especially for those without private vehicles or limited mobility options. They also offer convenient alternatives to traditional transportation methods.
Considering the urgent need to combat climate change, shared mobility holds a significant promise as a greener transportation option. The European Union's Green Deal aims to achieve a 90% reduction in transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Shared mobility – coupled with increased adoption of electric vehicles and a broader shift in transportation behaviors – will likely play an important role in achieving this goal.
However, for shared mobility to truly flourish and revolutionize transportation, it needs a supportive environment backed by legislative frameworks and infrastructure planning. So, let's take a closer look at how authorities can foster wider adoption of shared mobility.
1. Favorable regulations with an eye on the future
In the past, shared mobility solutions and business models have faced challenges in gaining acceptance from regulators. A prime example is the initial response of local authorities to Uber’s novel services at the time – ordering them to cease their operations immediately.
Shared mobility services can disrupt traditional transportation models – which may not be welcomed by everyone. However, the undeniable popularity of these services, exemplified by the rapid success of Uber, demonstrates the high customer demand.
Instead of battling against it, authorities might want to shift their focus to creating a supportive legislative framework, recognizing the significant benefits shared mobility can bring. It means regulations that prioritize safety, fair competition, consumer protection, and quality standards – creating an environment where shared mobility can thrive and provide reliable services to customers.
Shared mobility is constantly evolving, which means that regulations need to be flexible and adaptable to keep up with emerging technologies and new challenges. For example, as autonomous vehicles become a possibility, authorities will need to establish guidelines for their safe integration into existing transportation networks.
2. A collaborative approach
Collaboration between local authorities and businesses can be a decisive factor in creating a favorable environment for shared mobility. By working together, they can tackle common challenges, share data, and develop integrated transportation solutions.
Public-private partnerships can also involve incentives like tax breaks or subsidies to encourage the adoption of shared mobility. For example, offering tax breaks to companies that implement ride-sharing programs for their employees can encourage the use of shared transportation options instead of individual cars. Similarly, providing subsidies for shared mobility providers can help offset the initial costs of implementing and expanding their services.
Sharing data between shared mobility platforms and transport authorities is another way to benefit from this cooperation. The platforms have valuable information on accidents, trip patterns, and driver availability. Sharing this data with local authorities can help improve the transportation network, enhance travel apps, and identify underserved areas.
3. Building infrastructure to support the future of transportation
To meet evolving transportation needs, authorities should invest in infrastructure that supports innovative modes of transportation like electric vehicles and shared mobility services. By considering the needs of shared mobility users, infrastructure planners can make it a much more attractive transportation option.
Here are the key infrastructure needs for shared mobility:
Integration with existing infrastructure: To offer users smooth and effective transportation choices, shared mobility must seamlessly integrate with current transport systems like public transit. It should enable users to plan multi-modal journeys and switch between different modes of transport without hassle. For example, users should be able to seamlessly transition from a shared bike or scooter to a bus or train.
Charging stations: Keeping shared electric vehicles performing at their best relies on maintaining their charge. This requires establishing a network of strategically positioned charging stations throughout urban areas. If we're aiming for more people to use electric vehicles, we need to make charging them easy and accessible.
Dedicated parking: Shared mobility services need designated parking areas for their vehicles, such as bike racks and car-sharing parking spots. Well-organized parking infrastructure can reduce street clutter and make it easier for others to grab a shared mobility vehicle.
Information infrastructure support: Running shared mobility services smoothly, including handling bookings, payments, and logistics, depends greatly on a reliable information infrastructure foundation. With the advent of advanced networks like 6G, users will increasingly rely on this infrastructure to stay connected and make the most of these services.
The shared mobility landscape in France
Paris's recent ban on free-floating e-scooters has put France in the spotlight. To take a closer look at the shared mobility environment in France, we turned to Manon Lavergne, CEO of Viluso, a shared micromobility operator. We asked for her insights on the state of micromobility in the country.
Since the Mobility Orientation Law in 2019, the French government has been working to make shared transport easier to access everywhere. At COP 26 in 2021, France undertook to cut its CO2 emissions by 55%.
According to Manon, personal vehicle ownership in urban settings is losing favor among many French citizens, and Paris stands out as a shared micromobility epicenter. The city pioneered self-service shared mobility networks like Vélib' (2007), Autolib' (2011), and Cityscoot's shared electric scooters (2016).
However, in April 2023, Paris residents voted to ban free-floating e-scooters in the city. The reasons behind this decision included riders competing for space with pedestrians on sidewalks and complaints about e-scooters cluttering the pavements when parked.
Captur's case study on e-scooter parking habits in Paris revealed that the majority of users encountered no problems when parking scooters in designated bays. However, outside of the designated areas, users had to compete with other vehicles, resulting in poorer parking choices.
This example again emphasizes the need for proper infrastructure to support shared mobility. Lots of cities around the world were mainly designed with private cars in mind – which can create challenges for accommodating shared mobility solutions.
Anne Hidalgo, Paris' Mayor, campaigned with a strong green agenda and has introduced various changes to tackle pollution and traffic jams. Her vision includes a "15-minute city" where people can access work, shopping, healthcare, education, and leisure within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from their homes.
Yet, the chaotic state of free-floating e-scooters in Paris resulted in their ban. This scenario raises a question for other global cities: How can shared mobility be encouraged without disrupting other transportation choices and pedestrian movement?
According to Manon, the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, which will draw many visitors, will provide valuable insight into the city's transportation system – including the viability of shared mobility.
Shared mobility is here to stay – so start planning today
By adopting a supportive approach, authorities worldwide can play a crucial role in enabling the full potential of shared mobility. While it may require a shift in mindset, the potential gains of reduced congestion, environmental sustainability, and improved transportation options make it a worthwhile consideration.
We know that shared mobility is here to stay and will only expand in the coming years. By taking a more proactive stance, authorities will be in a better position to integrate and maximize the full benefits of shared mobility.