Modern technology is the greatest enabler we have ever known. It empowers citizens, giving them access to information and ideas while offering global connections and opportunities which did not exist in the past. Still, we can have all the information, ideas, and connections we want, but if a tangible link to our immediate community doesn’t exist, then we are stuck on information overload with no meaningful outlet. This is where On-demand technology delivers on that most crucial tenet of all civil societies; autonomy of choice.
Without access to reliable transport links, our societies become unproductive and unappealing places to live. When a community is left without decent public transportation options it has a negative knock-on effect for its citizens. A study undertaken by Greener Journeys, a coalition of the UK’s leading public transport organizations, found that; “investment in buses and local bus infrastructure plays a significant role in promoting social inclusion…improvements in bus service connectivity leads to reductions in deprivation across all neighborhoods, not just the most deprived”.
Any civil society must provide capacity for autonomous action at an individual level. It is the right of every citizen to have the best possible access to public amenities and opportunities. Better public transport infrastructure gives citizens access to the full wealth of social, health, educational, and economic benefits that their community has to offer. For policymakers, investment in shared transport should be the first port of call when thinking about how best to improve the general wellbeing of citizens.
The beauty of Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) is that it allows citizens to define the best possible routes for their local bus service. Through using On-Demand technology a shift in the traditional paradigm occurs, we move beyond anachronistic modes of route planning towards a truly shared service that is collaborative and community-driven. In this way, the use of DRT emphasizes public transport as a truly social service, placing autonomy literally into the hands of the service user.
Findings from a number of our deployments tell us that use of our On-Demand technology is making life easier for commuters who do not have access to a private car. In these communities, the switch to DRT has allowed service providers to impart a flexible transport system which is then used by commuters from a diverse range of socio-economic backgrounds to gain greater access to shared community assets. An increase in ridership along these routes means greater coexistence within the public sphere and thus potentially an increase in positive social cohesion.
As On-demand technology and DRT becomes a more widely used and accepted method of accessing public mobility the capacity for user satisfaction and greater empowerment will continue to increase.
Shotl, in collaboration with Essex County Council and professional services provider Jacobs, is currently involved in a project which is digitizing home to school journeys in the UK.