Demand-responsive transport services have existed both formally and informally for a long period of time. Recent developments in communication and sensor technology have allowed such services to grow substantially in urban, sub-urban and rural areas. Demand responsive transport is a technology-driven shared transport service operated by a company with professional drivers with flexible schedule, and/or flexible stops and/or flexible routing. The key differentiation with traditional public transport is that services are provided as a response to the demand from customers.
On-demand ridesharing offers the opportunity to enrich the traditional public transport offer and diversify the service portfolio, hence helping to attract new user groups who may currently be dependent on private vehicles. They are particularly useful where the cost of fixed route, fixed schedule services may be unusually high in proportion to the demand such as in sparsely populated areas or during random times of the day. It can also be useful in first/last mile connectivity. For public transport operators, it could therefore be a good opportunity to adopt new tools and new ways of working. Coordinating on-demand ridesharing with scheduled public transport, for example through the pricing system or operational times, can result in a win-win proposition. This coordination is also key to keeping the sector relevant in the context of the autonomous vehicle revolution. Furthermore, efficiently integrating on-demand ride-sharing options by building integrated mobility platforms such as MaaS will pave the way towards more sustainable urban mobility systems.
As there are multiple ways of delivering on-demand ridesharing, there needs to be a “horses for courses” approach. The existing regulatory approach may also need to adapt. This training will contextualize such practices through a combination of theoretical and practical frameworks. The participants should be able to develop a better understanding of the best practices, tools, skills and solutions, needed to implement a similar framework for their organisation and cities.