Supporting Being Mobile – How Mobility APPs Can Improve Individual Mobility Through Sharing Needs
Christian Vogelauer, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Elmar Fuerst, Vienna University of Economics and Business
In the paper we will first give an overview based on a market scanning of mobility APPs available today and their functionality range.
Over the last couple of years, using mobile APPs to support ones mobility needs has become more and more the standard for people living in urban areas. This started out with simple applications that could just tell the routes and static timetables of certain lines and companies that were providing the whole tool. This has since evolved drastically. We now see APPs that integrate not only local public transport offerings but also connecting means of transport such as trains, overland busses and sometimes even flight connections. But not only the information that is provided has changed, also the functionality has been significantly ramped up. With mobile payment services being more widely accepted by the public, buying your ticket as you go is a feature of many a mobility APPs.
What is still lacking in most of these applications however is an interactive user experience that allows for information and data to flow in both ways to and from the user. Furthermore the data generated in such a way can be shared not only with public transport providers but also between users to support their mobility behavior (e.g. to avoid crowded lines or to reschedule trips) and thus improve their perceived travel experience. With this interactive component, it is also possible to provide additional supporting features to persons wanting to be mobile. This also ties strongly into sharing activities, where groups seeking common goals or activities cooperate to achieve outcomes unreachable for single persons.
In the research project “MobiHelfer II” funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency under the program “Mobility of the future”, we try to evolve mobility supporting APPs towards an integrated solution that allows persons requiring mobility assistance to share their needs with others and persons wanting to offer mobility support to accept said requests. The primary focus of this tool is on the requirements on handicapped and elderly persons, however the APP can be used by any interested person.
In the paper we will first give an overview based on a market scanning of mobility APPs available today and their functionality range. Based on these findings we will derive certain shortcomings and potential development opportunities towards more integrated and “shared” solutions. Eventually we will outline how the “MobiHelfer”-APP is going to support individual mobility requirements through integration of existing and new approaches and where we think that valuable contributions to overall mobility and improving the public transport systems can be found.
Association for European Transport