From the beginning of September, two demand-responsive services can be booked with the app “FlexiTrace” in Colmar in Alsace. All inhabitants of the city and surrounding communes will be able to use FlexiTrace. This DRT complements the scheduled services in the area. The other service, Trace Mobile*, is specifically designed for persons with reduced mobility. Being able to book both services with one accessible app makes them easier to use.
Both services are operated by Network Trace. ioki, one of the leading mobility analytics and consulting as well as platform providers for digital on-demand solutions in Europe, has developed and implemented the new FlexiTrace app. A prior analysis by ioki identified measures for refining and digitalising the existing services to make them more accessible and to increase flexibility for passengers.
Traveling flexibly in the Alsace
The DRT services operate in a total of 13 municipalities of Colmar district and connect the suburbs of Colmar with the inner city. Using the app powered by ioki, passengers can easily book one of overall five FlexiTrace (and soon two Trace Mobile vehicles).
Passengers of FlexiTrace can individually determine their starting point and destination as well as the time they want to travel. They can choose existing or virtual stops which are spread over the operating areas. The app will automatically calculate the optimal route and show when a FlexiTrace is available. If passengers want to travel from and to similar destinations, the app forms carpools. This so-called “ridepooling” enables a precisely controlled utilisation of the vehicles and protects the roads and environment. The demand-responsive transport operates from Monday to Saturday from 6.30am to 9pm. As it is integrated into the local public transport, passengers with a Network Trace ticket travel for free, as well as children. Adults without a ticket pay € 1.50.
Trace Mobile, the service for persons with reduced mobility, picks passengers up at specific addresses, which makes using the service more convenient for them. The vehicles have space for 8 passengers, up to three in wheelchairs. Booking Trace Mobile is only possible if the user has registered for the service. Entitled persons can do so at the sales office of Network Trace. The service needs to be booked in advance, latest 5pm on the day before travel. Trace Mobile runs from Monday to Friday from 8am to 12pm and from 1.30pm to 6pm, on Fridays from 1pm. On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, the service operates from 9.30am to 12pm and from 2pm to 6pm. All passengers pay € 1.50, legal companions of reduced mobility passengers travel for free.
*The launch of this service is delayed to the beginning of October, meanwhile information will be provided to the effective users.
With Mobility Analytics to a more appealing public transport
By analysing mobility data, ioki simulated the current and future mobility behaviour of Colmar’s inhabitants and derived recommendations. For example, the whole service was digitalized with the implementation of the new app. Furthermore, FlexiTrace can now be booked one hour prior to the desired time of departure. This makes it possible for the inhabitants of Colmar’s suburbs to travel at short notice and increases the attractiveness of local public transport. In Colmar, ioki was able to work the ideal way, going from a mobility analysis to implementing the theoretical results in practice with the FlexiTrace app.
Earlier this year, ioki conducted a thorough analysis of the existing demand-responsive services FlexiTrace and Trace Mobile, considering the current and future mobility demand in Colmar and recommended actions to improve public transport. Based on these recommendations, the services are digitalised, with ioki providing the smartphone app for passengers and drivers as well as the routing and pooling platform. We are very happy to launch a project in France, one of the biggest DRT markets in Europe. For this project, we can build on our experience from other successful international launches”, says Laura Reupke, Head of International Sales & Business Development at ioki.