Why DRT is key to corporate sustainable mobility

Demand-responsive transit (DRT) allows companies to cut costs and emissions and comply with Covid-19 measures, so it’s the ideal way for large organizations with a lot of on-site employee movement to transition to sustainable mobility.

Most of us are used to home working now thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, many companies still need some staff physically present on site, albeit in reduced numbers or with staggered timetables. For these organizations, the ongoing pandemic is a balancing act between cutting costs, maintaining productivity and complying with safety and physical distancing measures. We believe DRT is the answer to all three requirements and a valuable opportunity for companies to transition to more sustainable mobility.

Shared DRT moves more people with the same number or fewer vehicles by grouping rides only where and when people need them. As well as cutting costs, the increased efficiency means lower carbon emissions. And, since DRT is booked in advance by app, drivers can control on-board capacity and comply with physical distancing, so it ticks all the boxes.

At the same time, user-centric Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) continues to grow, but more slowly than anticipated in the public sphere thanks to lower-than-usual ridership. However, we believe corporate MaaS could be a surprise growth area in 2021 precisely because of the opportunities it offers to personalize services to the needs of specific user groups.

Governments and employers have a moral obligation to cooperate and promote wide-reaching sustainable transport solutions. For example, with initiatives like the UK’s Cycle to Work scheme, whereby the government subsidizes the cost of buying a bike for employees.

For companies, sustainable mobility starts with the obvious, like replacing petrol car fleets with electric vehicles, providing mobility credits, implementing employee car-sharing schemes or providing collective transport via shuttle bus or minivan. It may also include prioritizing the existence of good public transport links when choosing a location to establish premises.

For some, however, sustainable mobility doesn’t stop when employees arrive at the gates. Organizations that occupy large areas of land, like universities, ports, airports or logistics parks, also need to move people around the site as efficiently, sustainably and economically as possible. At Shotl, our vision for this type of business is a combination of public and private MaaS. For example, with the commute to work covered by public transport and first-mile, last-mile and on-site transport covered by shared DRT for a really joined-up solution.

It may seem counterintuitive to think about changing transit at a time when few people are travelling and businesses are struggling to survive but we think that’s precisely why the time is right. Apart from the savings on-site DRT implies for struggling companies, people are flexible and open to change, so implementing integrated solutions now should lay the groundwork for systemic and mindset change as people start to move in larger numbers again later.

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