TaaS and CAVs: Breaking the paradigm of “my-car, my-trip, my-space.”
Anyone who ventures out onto our roads during rush hour will attest to the fact that our roads are broken. They are full of cars, but not people. We are so used to seeing only one person in every car around us, that we don’t stop to think about how ludicrous the situation actually is.
Average car occupancy has been steadily falling since the early ’90s. Now with the prospect of Autonomous Vehicles AVs arriving on our roads, we could conceivably see occupancy rates falling even further. Whatever your view on road rage, at least honking at another human driver feels cathartic. Imagine how unsatisfying it would feel to vent your frustration at a completely empty AV in the traffic jam ahead of you, its lifeless LIDAR looking impassively back at you as you lean on the horn!
Given the perfect storm approaching; our roads are already over capacity, the population continues to grow, and the prospect of empty autonomous vehicles adding to traffic means that the continued declining occupancy rates simply cannot continue.
Our view at Liftango is that we are approaching the moment of a paradigm shift in how we view our cars. “My-car, my-trip, my-space”, is going to have to change.
Just as the traditional car ownership model has built slowly since the advent of automobiles in the 20th century, and is already beginning to change, our perception of a car as a private space will also change. Over the past decades, urbanisation, congestion and, more recently, the much-vaunted sharing economy, have all contributed to the change in this accepted model, think Go-Get, ZipCar etc. The social and technological landscape is changing; the scene is set for a big change.
The opportunities that Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and AVs can bring to a transport ecosystem will no doubt have a significant positive impact on the built and social landscape of our lives. But to maximise this benefit, the paradigm of “my-car, my-trip, my-space” must be broken.
The nascent transport models of technology-driven on-demand buses, on-demand carpooling and trip sharing that Liftango is delivering are already making inroads. Through incentivising, rewarding, gamification and simplicity of user experience, we see the beginnings of a groundswell of behaviour change.
Currently, offering up the latent capacity in your car to service demand for mobility is a personal choice, you have to opt-in, which requires an effort on the part of the driver (albeit small) – to input trips. AVs, which by definition, will respond to a structured trip request demand (time and destination) can allow sharing of on-demand mobility to become the default model. MaaS will take this a step further, making cross-platform, capacity and route optimisation on-the-fly the default model.
We believe that the normal way of getting from A to B, particularly in urban environments, will gradually become a shared mobility trip. So in a time when technology is widely blamed for breaking down social cohesion, it may actually end up bringing more people together again through shared mobility.