Turning mobility challenges into meaningful change

Public transport has experienced a renaissance over recent decades resulting in expanded networks and new pricing models to increase passenger uptake. With the impact of COVID-19, it has become more important than ever to understand the psychology behind passengers’ decision-making to encourage them to use public transport.

Putting passengers at the heart of planning

Traditionally, planners at mobility companies have focused on supplying new or more frequent services, but this hasn’t resulted in a reliable increase in uptake.

Most transport planning ignores crucial elements of human psychology and motivation.

Fjord, Accenture and ioki have developed a joint two-step approach to transport planning, combining "hard“ traffic data and "soft“ psychological factors, to drive behavioral change and passenger demand.

Two steps to drive behavior change and demand

The holistic two-step approach combines transport services supply with passenger demand:

1. Mobility analysis

Using traffic, infrastructure, geographic and sociodemographic data, planners can analyze traffic patterns, identify areas for mobility offerings, simulate operations and calculate economic viability.

2. Assessing user needs/desires

A joint global study by Volkswagen, Accenture and Fjord surveying 50,000 people identified six mobility mindsets categorizing peoples’ mobility needs, desires and priorities.

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Lake Geneva region pilot

This two-step approach was piloted for the Arc Mobilite initiative in the Lake Geneva region with the aim of moving 10,000 car trips to public transport. The same approach can be used to plan transport in any city or region in as little as six to eight weeks.

The Lake Geneva region has persistent, heavy traffic congestion despite a reliable local public transport network. Six high-potential areas were identified, including the municipality of Puidoux, where over 15,000 car trips are made per day, and more than 20% of those could potentially be taken off the road. We found that comfort seeking users in suburban areas preferred exclusive, premium services that offer more convenience and perks than conventional services when they travel. Mobility providers have the opportunity to create demand in this segment through a customized, passenger-centric approach.

A new direction

COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on public transport financing and development, as well as citizens’ mobility patterns. Understanding user needs and desires during planning will be critical, especially with severe budget restrictions.

Our planning approach can help mobility service companies identify where best to allocate spending to accomplish their goals.

For instance, fleet operators can offer economic options where people are cost conscious, while targeting wealthy comfort seekers with luxury options.

The pandemic has been a wake-up call for transport planners, highlighting that supply-side planning has its limits—and user needs and desires are more important than ever. The changes will have lasting effects on how the industry approaches planning. How will your organization respond?

Marcus Fromm

Managing Director – Mobility, Switzerland


Tobias Kruse

Managing Director Fjord

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