Launched in September 2020, JustGo North Lincs services the sparsely populated hamlets, villages and market towns of North Lincolnshire.
The 876 sq. kilometre low-density service zone offers the 172,000 residents a flexible and affordable way to connect to work and their local community.
North Lincolnshire is one of the largest service zones for an On-Demand service, covering 876 sq. kilometres in a rural low-density setting. This presented a challenge to previous dial-a-ride and fixed-route solutions due to the inability to maintain adequate patronage to make them a viable option.
Public Transport is infrequent and non-existent in some areas of North Lincolnshire and a previous dial-a-ride service was discontinued leaving residents with limited travel options.
The new service needed to connect residents in a manner that is convenient, technologically innovative and cost-effective—whilst complementing existing Public Transport services in the area.
With multiple vehicles in a fleet, On-Demand routing algorithms will tend to converge on passenger demand. This means that vehicles can group together in one area, leaving other areas of the zone unserviceable. This can work well in a high-density urban environment where demand is frequent and in close proximity, but poses significant challenges in a rural, low-density setting.
This ‘convergence’ can result in ‘stranded demand’, or passengers not being able to request a vehicle when and where they want it.
The DRT service design needed to accommodate the lower-frequency and sparse passenger requests, in order to work effectively.
Liftango’s solution created a technology- driven way to combine both Community Transportation and Public Transportation trips within the one fleet—thereby improving the overall efficiency of the fleet.
Selection of the technology provider involved a competitive and detailed analysis of a previous dial-a-ride service, Call Connect.
By simulating a DRT service design prior to launch, Liftango was able to uncover key challenges to efficiently service such a large zone.
This involved identifying the optimal fleet size and zone design by simulating passenger demand within the area.
To overcome the known issue of vehicles grouping together or ‘converging’ on clusters of passenger demand, they are routed to strategic break points in between passenger trips. This ensures an even spread of vehicles across the entire service zone, placing them in close proximity to anticipated passenger demand.
Further work was completed on the identification and exclusion of known fixed- route transit corridors. This ensured the DRT service did not cannibalise existing Public Transport patronage, but instead complemented the network and connected the sparsely populated and underserved areas of North Lincolnshire.
This service launched mid-pandemic in September 2020, and despite challenges that arose in the UK during the COVID-19 outbreak, JustGo North Lincs was able to safely service passengers and has since expanded operations in April 2021 to include an additional vehicle.