Boosting public transport with first and last mile innovations
Over recent years, an increased spotlight on combined mobility has led to the development of synergies between mass public transport and other, more on-demand mobility services, with the aim of providing better mobility options for citizens as a real alternative to the private car while building a more sustainable mobility system.
Because while mass public transport remains the backbone of (urban) mobility, new and shared mobility services can provide a flexible solution in the first and last mile. They can be especially useful to help reach city outskirts and suburbs or less accessible sites, and at non-peak hours when traditional transport modes are not running. This complementarity between the different modes of public transport provide travellers with safe, reliable and accessible mobility from door to door.
In the SOLUTIONSplus project, various Living Labs are trialling innovative electric first and last mile solutions. From shared E-Two-Wheelers in Hanoi to E-moto taxis and bikes in Kigali, let’s have a look how our demo cities are creating more sustainable and inclusive mobility.
Hanoi: E-mobility for last-mile connectivity
The demonstration project in Hanoi focuses on boosting the ridership and effectiveness of the currently running BRT and the forthcoming metro rail by improving last-mile connectivity. A technical support team designs and develops vehicles that are tailored for the local context and operated under the oversight of the local public transport operator and the city of Hanoi.
The Hanoi Living Lab is well underway: in July 2022, a novel shared e-2wheeler (e-mopeds and e-bikes) system to support last-mile connectivity to public transport systems (i.e. BRT Station and commercial destination areas) was introduced, as well as a Shared e-scooter/ e-bike app (V-share app).
Furthermore, high quality second-life batteries were integrated in a charging cabinet to be tested as a “mobile” solution towards introducing the service to new service zones, and to provide back-up power.
Hamburg – Achieving climate goals with last-mile connectivity
In Hamburg, the public transport operator (Hochbahn) has developed an e-scooter sharing system with support of the project, which aims to test an incentive and pricing scheme that complements the public transport system and coverage rather than competing with it. The introduction of charging solutions (T-Systems), smart last-mile services in the peri-urban (SOLUTIONSplus Maas App) are all part of this demo.
While E-scooter services were already available in Hamburg, they were mostly focussed on the inner city. Within the SOLUTIONSplus framework, Hochbahn provides an e-scooter-sharing-service for last mile connectivity, especially in two outskirt areas (Hamburg-Lokstedt and Hamburg-Langenhorn).
Kicking off mid-2021, the demo reported in November already some good results, with on average 362 active e-scooters per day (with a peak to more than 400 e-scooters). Together with the selected service provider (TIER); different incentive schemes are currently being tested.
“In order to achieve Hamburg's ambitious climate protection goals and advance the mobility transition, we need the best possible mobility mix in the city. These mobility services must be available for the greatest possible number of citizens in the city and the outskirt area. The demo project will help to test under which conditions last mile mobility solutions like e-scooters can work out in the outskirt and thereby also enable the city to gain more experiences with this kind of vehicle and drive technology.” – Karen van der Linde, Innovations Manager at Hamburg Hochbahn
The demonstration in Rwanda focuses on integrating the public bus system with electrified feeder-services provided by 30 e-moto taxis (20 new and 10 remodelled) and 100 e-bikes that support first/last mile connectivity and discourage motorised transport.
As a first step, SOLUTIONSplus supports 50 shared e-bikes provided by start-up Guraride and 10 e-moto taxis by Ampersand, another start-up. Further support will increase the number of vehicles, alongside the corresponding needed charging infrastructure. The demonstration project is also testing the establishment of an e-bike sharing scheme along the most widely used bus corridors, with charging provided by dispatchers or battery swapping with mobile lockers.
To further support the first and last mile dimension, a Mobility-as-a-Service application is proposed and designed in cooperation with the transport regulatory authority and transport & IT providers.
“In Kigali, we have given strong signals to support active mobility in planning documents, as we intend to design a green city. For instance, we will develop a city-wide NMT network. We have started implementing cycle lanes in different parts of the city, and we will install racks where people can park their bicycles. If you walk around the City Hall, you will see the important work we are doing to improve the quality of the Imbuga City Walk that is the Car Free Zone: we are installing benches, kids’ playground, kiosks and food courts, etcetera.” - Asaba Katabarwa Emmanuel, City Engineer of the City of Kigali.
Quito – Advancing last-mile delivery logistics
As part of the SOLUTIONSplus project, plans are ongoing to build a multimodal e-mobility hub in the historic centre of Quito. This hub will be primarily accessed by clean public transport vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles and will greatly contribute to making the area a low emissions zone (LEZ).
The demonstration activities in Quito are focused on improving the connectivity between public transport lines and stations. In addition to various vehicles (e-bikes, e-cargo bikes, e-buggies) to allow passenger to move quickly from one part to the other, another focus is on advancing last-mile logistics for delivery services.
In the demo, 10 e-quadricycles for last mile e-delivery services and 1 e-delivery van are introduced and tested in the area, with the aim of scaling it up to a larger number of vehicles. All these vehicles will be assembled by local SMEs with previous experience in the automotive sector and will count on the support and collaboration of the European industry SOL+ consortium members and European SMEs.