Strategic Analysis of the Global Demand-Responsive Transit (DRT) Market, Forecast to 2030

50+ Cities Globally to Implement DRT Solutions by 2020
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Published: 8 Jun 2018

Traditional public transit modes have remained unchanged over decades and inherent flaws have remained unaddressed. The fixed-route and fixed-schedule model works efficiently on high-density routes but routes with lower demand and density along with demand at odd hours are not as efficiently catered to by traditional public transit. While alternate modes of single-occupancy transport, such as taxis, private hire vehicles, chauffeur-driven vehicles, and others have evolved, these are much more expensive as compared to public transit as they offer greater levels of convenience. Demand-responsive single-occupancy modes such as app-based taxis and ride hailing vehicles have further increased convenience levels. Even as single-occupancy mobility modes continue to transform and offer new business models, shared mobility is increasingly being hailed as the need of the hour. Congestion, pollution, parking, and overdependence on conventional fuel are a few of the urban mobility issues that need immediate attention. Efficient shared mobility that offers convenience along with increasing utilization of assets and the overall efficacy of the model would be instrumental in revolutionizing the mobility market. With different mobility modes evolving efficiently over time, there is a pressing need for shared mobility modes such as public transit to transform its operating models. Special jitney and shuttle services have been able to capture a part of the demand but these have remained restricted to institutional and organizational use. The emergence of demand-responsive shuttles and buses has defined a new growth paradigm for shared mobility. These shuttles, which offer the convenience of private transportation at price points similar to public transport, operate similar to e-hailing taxi apps. The service providers have an app interface that passengers can use to hail a shuttle. Using algorithms and data analytics, these shuttles group passengers travelling in the same direction and take the shortest route possible to the destination. The demand-responsive shuttle transit model was first introduced in Finland and was called Kutsuplus. Since 2013, a number of service providers have entered the market with regions such as North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe being the hotspots. Though still at a nascent stage of development, the market holds immense potential as passengers become more accepting of shared mobility modes and governments and cities take a number of measures to introduce efficient mobility options that are aligned with the concept of smart cities. Government mandates on issues such as bans on highly polluting commercial vehicles in city centers, electric vehicles, and congestion are expected to be the key drivers for the market. In the long term, the advent of autonomous shuttles is further expected to increase efficiency of the model at much lower costs.

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