This year, UITP will once again join forces with Messe Karlsruhe to bring you IT-TRANS – where the world of urban mobility comes together to discuss technology and IT in public transport. (Karlsruhe, 3-5 March 2020).
As we approach our time in Karlsruhe, our programme, panel sessions and list of international speakers and participants is taking shape.
Over the next two weeks we’ll be sitting down with several of our Conference speakers to get their thoughts on #IT-TRANS2020, what they expect from this year’s edition and what’s to come for mobility going forward.
So what better way to get to know what we can look forward to at IT-TRANS2020 than a special sit-down with our speakers!
Q1: Karos is a daily carpooling company that offers more than 350,000 cars for people to carpool on their commute to work. We know that every day millions of home-to-work journeys are made by single people in individual cars. Can you tell our readers about what Karos is doing to get more shared journeys as part of the commute?
Our mission at Karos is to transform empty car seats into structured public transportation networks.
First of all, we have developed a smart assistant for daily trips that leverages geolocation and AI technologies to make carpooling on daily commutes truly effortless, very reliable and highly flexible. Our data science experts improve our artificial intelligence algorithms; our developers enhance the performance of the application. Hence, users only need to download our mobile application and register in 30 seconds. Then, the application will propose them trips as close as possible to the real habits of our users.
But the technology isn’t enough: our User team, is determined to convince people to carpool on a daily basis. They are expanding the Karos community, answering newly registered needs and making it easier to use our application. This nurturing strategy and our methods to transform a registered into an active carpooler is at the centre of everything we do.
Q2: Before you co-founded Karos (France, 2014) you worked as a private equity investor for around ten years in London and Paris. What inspired you to make the move into the carpooling sector?
We want people to like their daily trips, to make their life better, and reduce pollution at the same time! All of this with a cost effective approach. Karos was created in 2014. Carpooling was beginning to develop in a very spectacular way over distances averaging 320 km. I was very impressed by the growth of carpooling for weekends. It demonstrated the French people's appetite for collaborative practices, as well as their willingness to save on their automotive budget.
And yet, the vast majority of daily journeys still had to be optimised. In cities, people only have two options for their commutes - hours of traffic jam in their car, or time consuming trips in public transportation. In rural areas, they have to use their car since there is not much public transportation. And if there is, it is very expansive.
At that time, Criteo's success story had made a lot of headlines and I realised that all the processes they had developed in machine learning to analyse online shopping behaviour could be applied to daily mobility needs. That's how I met Tristan Croiset, and we co-founded Karos. Our mission is to understand the users' daily travel habits in order to offer them a simple carpooling assistant.
"Our User team, is determined to convince people to carpool on a daily basis. They are expanding the Karos community…this nurturing strategy and our methods to transform a registered into an active carpooler is at the centre of everything we do.”
Q3: 2019 saw the milestone achievement of more than two million shared journeys with Karos, therefore avoiding over 4400 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Congratulations on the achievement! What’s next for you and the team?
We believe that the issues addressed by our application are the same around the world. Everywhere, urban sprawl increases commuting times. Everywhere, public authorities have difficulties making heavy investments in infrastructure, and companies worry about their employee’s commutes for their well-being. We believe that our solution can address these universal issues in a simple and quick way. That’s why we have already overpassed two million trips via our application. And we are now considering offering our services internationally… We will have a great announcement very soon on the matter!
Q4: IT-TRANS will have a global Exhibition with many recognisable names and a Conference featuring international speakers from all over the world. What do you hope to see during your trip to Karlsruhe?
In those big transport sector events, we often discuss about the future of mobility, especially in urban areas. At IT-TRANS, I am eager to discover concrete case studies, with key figures and achievements, not only for cities, but also for suburbs and rural areas. I believe the transport ecosystem is already successful in improving the level of service for commuters, and I am glad to participate to an event highlighting existing innovations for autonomous mobility, MaaS or even ticketing.
“At Karos, we believe that no great public transport project can be conducted without including all the relevant stakeholders: local authorities, companies and commuters. That’s why we create a 360 vision with offers dedicated to each of those key interested parties.”
Q5: And finally, what advice would you give to someone looking to make their own way in the urban mobility sector? What does it take to succeed in 2020?
At Karos, we believe that no great public transport project can be conducted without including all the relevant stakeholders: local authorities, companies and commuters. That’s why we create a 360 vision with offers dedicated to each of those key interested parties.
Our offer Karos Territoires is dedicated to municipalities and regions wishing to improve the transportation service to peri-urban or rural areas of their territory and analyse the mobility needs of their territory. A solution already successfully deployed for instance with Troyes Champagne Métropole, Ile de France mobilités, Normandie & Réunion regions.
Karos Entreprises is for companies concerned by daily mobility and accessibility issues of their tertiary or industrial sites. Karos Entreprises helps them improve the daily lives of their employees, promote their employer brand or even reduce their environmental footprint. A solution already accessible for +1,100 customer sites representing +110,000 employees: ATR, Pichet, Airbus, Nissan, l’Inria, CNES, Safran, Toulouse Blagnac Airport, Total, Accorhotels, etc.
It’s that kind of vision, and the efforts we make every day to adapt our service to those different types of actors that can create a comprehensive, cohesive experience for our final users: commuters.
Thank you to Olivier for his time and his thoughtful and interesting contribution to the urban mobility debate!
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