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Autonomous Vehicles

Published on July 4th, 2017 | by Cynthia Shahan


Carsharing & On-Demand Taxis Transforming Transport, & Can Now Be Combined

July 4th, 2017 by  

The modern landscape of transit is rapidly shifting. Expanding mobility services are changing the market. It is a swift 8 years since Uber was founded and 5 since Lyft began. Now, tapping up an Uber is as common as hailing a taxi for many people, or more common than getting a taxi ever was for them. One can arrange an Uber in the US and worldwide — Rome, Wroclaw, Oslo — seemingly any city. In fact, I once had a person arrange an Uber for his wife at a Florida airport from an app in London, England.

Due to issues with availability and convenience, people are choosing the on-demand taxi/ride-hailing services more and more every day. Lyft, Uber, and Zipcar are some major players, but there are actually hundreds of others. Definitely, the services are changing the transportation landscape.

The best news is that zero-emissions all-electric cars are showing up more and more in carsharing and 21st century taxi programs.

This switch in transportation is set to change much more than the vehicle people ride in. It is possible that the change will support property sales in the suburbs.

Another significant note is that more urbanites and suburbanites — especially millennials — are not automatically going into the car-owning commitment, or at least not as fast as their parents did. It makes sense to depend on a combo of mass transit and Lyft, Uber, or taxi apps.

Carsharing is often a helpful supplement, offering people a car they can pack up and drive far away for cheaper than jumping in an Uber or Lyft. “As carsharing attains critical mass, it’s estimated that one vehicle can take between 7 to 11 vehicles out of a metro area,” CleanFleet Report notes.

“With some carsharing services, a variety of cars are available percent of the time, making them considerably more efficient than private vehicles, which have a 4 percent utilization rate. The free-floating carsharing model goes further, adding the convenience of one-way transport at a much more affordable cost than a ridesharing service. Utilization goes up as well: Free-floating cars are on the road between 15-to-18 percent of the time.”

The carsharing model also provides an environmental plus — it gives users the car they need for each purpose, rather than a year-round SUV despite limited need for such a big vehicle. “They can drive a fuel-efficient compact around town—and still, take an SUV for the once-a-year camping trip or drive a pickup to Home Depot. And because carsharing fleets will always be newer and better maintained than the average privately owned car (and more likely to be electric), the impact of any of those vehicles will be lighter on the planet.”

Talking efficiency, consider the result when one car can be used for both carsharing and ridesharing. “A model where the vehicle is available for carsharing during the day, switches to ridesharing in the evening (after cocktails), and goes on delivery errands at night (when there’s no traffic) would offer transformational utilization rates. In fact, in a perfect world, the car might be busy day and night.”

That’s what Ridecell offers, and it is seemingly the first to do so.

“Ridecell provides a fast and easy way to get started in the new mobility market. Because our white-label platform is built on years of experience, it’s ready for automakers, transit agencies, corporate campuses, and mobility startups to brand and launch their own services—and to scale them as business grows.

“The Ridecell platform integrates the technology needed to run a standalone ridesharing or carsharing operation—or a hybrid service that combines both. End-to-end automation covers onboarding new riders, checking IDs, dynamic pricing, driver-rider matching, ride scheduling, payment processing, demand-supply balancing, personalized settings, and even referral programs and promotions. And, of course, there’s a customizable app that’s easy for drivers and riders to love.”

More and more consumers are graduating beyond car payments, stopping the cycle of leasing or owning cars their own private cars. They have chosen to do away with parking headaches and car insurance payments.

How much more attractive is the move once you can access a car or a ride via the same app?

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About the Author

Cynthia Shahan started writing by doing research as a social cultural and sometimes medical anthropology thinker. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education. Eventually becoming an organic farmer, licensed AP, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings born with spiritual insights and ethics beyond this world. (She was able to advance more in this way led by her children.)

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