The Odakyū line runs from Tokyo’s Shinjuku station -the busiest in the world- to Hakone, an area known for its nature and hot springs in Kanagawa prefecture. Approximately thirty minutes along that line from Shinjuku is Shin-Yurigaoka station, used daily by tens of thousands of residents from the surrounding area.
With the aim of improving access to Shin-Yurigaoka station, Shotl and Odakyū launched a new on-demand mobility service on February 17th, 2020, to provide first- and last-mile transportation to the area’s 70,000 inhabitants.
Asao-ku district, where Shin-Yurigaoka station is located, already has several bus lines connecting the station with major streets. However, a traditional fixed-line model makes it challenging to serve some residential areas that have numerous, maze-like and often very narrow streets. Therefore, a demand-responsive service, operating in parallel to the existing network of bus lines, offers a means of ensuring nearly everyone is picked up less than 200 meters from their desired location in a matter of minutes.
The first phase of the project was planned to run until May 2020 but, due to the COVID-19 crisis, was suspended in April 2020. During the test phase, there was no charge for users to join the service. After 2 months, phase I demonstrated a high success rate in terms of passenger demand, average waiting time and average travel time, which were less than 10 minutes each, or a total of 20 minutes from time of request to arrival at the station. Local residents only needed to download the Japanese version of the Shotl App from Google Play and the App Store, sign up and start requesting rides by selecting their pick-up and drop-off locations from among a network of bus stops.
In the coming month, this demand-responsive service will be re-launched and integrated into EMot, Odakyū’s mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) App, through Shotl’s API. Users of EMot will be able to estimate pick-up and travel times and book all their rides through EMot, while Shotl’s matching and routing algorithms will ensure the highest possible efficiency and optimisation.
At Shotl, we are proud to be part of such an innovative initiative and look forward to helping Odakyū in its mission to improve mobility for countless Japanese citizens.