The Municipality of Sant Sadurní has a population of 12.500 inhabitants within an area of 20 Km2. It has a main urban settlement along with several very small settlements, all of which are separated by distances of between 2 - 4 km and that account for 2% of the town's overall population.
Before Shotl was deployed, one bus did two different routes throughout the day: during peak times, route L1 connected the neighborhoods in the main town with the train station. During off-peak times, route L2 connected the town center to other key community assets such as medical and sports centers, and school facilities that were not served by L1.
The pre-existing service posed three main challenges:
In response to these challenges, the city council, the local bus operator, and Shotl agreed to pilot the following scheme:
The on-demand service ran from 8h to 14h, adding 15 new virtual stops to the previously existing ones. The community of Sant Sadurní saw positive changes from this operation.
When requesting a trip, a user only had to wait 7 minutes on average to be picked up, and trips were completed in 8 minutes. Demand for the service kept rising with more and more people using the on-demand bus as the pilot progressed, achieving a total of 1648 passengers. The peak ridership rate was 80 passengers in a day (relative to 6 hours of service) and regular patronage was between 35-40 people daily.
One concern going into the pilot was to what extent the line would be used for urban trips (within the town centre) as we have already proved the success of Shotl deployment in other suburban areas. Data collected during the pilot allowed us to observe that 76% of the trips occurred within the urban area, while 23.5% of the trips took place between the urban and the suburban area, and 0.5% of the trips happened within the suburban area itself.
The most popular drop-off points were the train station, the school, and the medical center which attracted a high proportion of elderly commuters. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, these commuters, some of whom were first-time users, were able to utilize our user-friendly Shotl app with ease. In cases where users required help, call-center service from the local bus operator was of course provide.
In conclusion, the service was especially useful for; older people, people with special needs, teenagers, and those who don’t own a car. The service also provided first/last-mile transport for those traveling by train to neighboring towns and Barcelona.
From the biggest cities to the smallest towns, we need to develop a more sustainable means of mobility. We are proud to be part of this solution; we provide better access to basic services and make cities better for everyone.
Sustainable transit and gender equality are central to many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Like the proverbial horse and carriage, though, you can’t have one without the other.
Our algorithmic solution matches multiple passengers, that are heading in the same direction, with a moving vehicle, minimizing ride distances and waiting time, thus offering a better transportation service and experience.
After our successful deployment in the neighborhood of Can Barata, which has transported more than 8000 people since July 2017, Sant Cugat city council asked us to launch a second service in Les Planes.