Lisbon’s on-demand mobility: a tale of urban success

Lisbon, Portugal's capital, boasts a population exceeding half a million residents. Akin to other major European cities, its population faces a particular set of mobility challenges.

Cities around the world are shifting their public transportation services from traditional fixed schedules to on-demand models. Lisbon is joining this trend by initiating its own demand-responsive transportation (DRT) system.

Building on a previous successful partnership with Carris, the public transport operator in Portugal, Shotl once again joined forces to introduce an on-demand bus service tailored to urban environments. This time, the service was launched in the vibrant districts of Avenidas Novas, Campolide, and São Domingos de Benfica, situated in the heart of Lisbon. Unlike the city's historic centre, which is characterized by winding alleys, these areas feature a grid-like layout, presenting unique navigational challenges.

The Lisbon operation comprised 61 virtual stops spread across an area encompassing nearly 3 square kilometres. The system’s operating hours were Monday to Friday, from 8:00 to 20:00, offering users convenient on-demand transportation options. Passengers could easily request rides through the Xbus white label app developed by Shotl or through Carris's Xbus website, which provided real-time vehicle tracking capabilities.

The ultimate aim of deploying DRT technology was to cater directly to the needs of residents and commuters while simultaneously enhancing the competitiveness of public transportation.

With this objective in mind, the initiative garnered significant traction among the public, attracting over 2000 registered users eager to leverage the convenience and flexibility offered by the new transportation system. The response underscored the growing demand for innovative mobility solutions tailored to urban environments.

The implementation of the DRT system resulted in tangible improvements, notably by reducing passengers’ average waiting times and time spent onboard. By streamlining routes and offering on-demand services, the initiative succeeded in optimizing the overall travel experience, further incentivizing individuals to choose public transportation over alternative modes of commuting.

One of the significant hurdles encountered during implementation was the necessity for precise navigation through the deployment area's streets, which often featured central gaps and side lanes. Shotl's platform was meticulously engineered to ensure accurate routing, which is crucial for navigating the densely populated urban landscape. Our satellite geolocation technology showcases exceptional precision, utilizing multi-GNSS capability to interface with various systems including GPS, Galileo, Glonass, and Beidou.

The success of the project in Lisbon exemplifies the potential of DRT technology to revolutionize urban mobility by prioritising user needs and fostering a more competitive public transportation ecosystem. As cities continue to grapple with congestion and accessibility challenges, investments in innovative solutions like DRT are essential to create more sustainable and efficient transportation networks for all.

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