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(Mannheim, 14. Juni 2019) Is it possible to attract car commuters to public transport with a continuous travel offer as an alternative option on their daily way to work? To answer this question, DB Regio Mitte, Roche and ioki, Deutsche Bahn’s business unit for intelligent on-demand mobility, conducted a practical test between Mannheim and Lampertheim in Southwest Germany this spring: Over a period of six weeks, an on-demand shuttle service transported a group of almost 30 commuters from Lampertheim to their workplace Roche, in Mannheim – all for whom public transport had previously played a minor role.
In the practical test, an on-demand service was organised to match the existing rail traffic in order to offer passengers the advantages of both means of transport. Pilot participants could either order a shuttle spontaneously or in advance and were able to choose between the virtual stop closest to their home (max. 200 m) and the Lampertheim train station. After a short train ride on the regional train or regional express, a shuttle awaited them at the Mannheim-Waldhof station and would take them to the Roche factory gate.
Connecting transport offer was well received
After six weeks of testing, the participants’ verdict is positive: The new mobility offer was graded with an average of 1.7. ioki’s on-demand shuttle alone was rated even better and received an average rating of “very good”. A total of around 450 trips were booked by Roche employees in Lampertheim.
The participants particularly praised the seamless transfer between the means of transport and were enthusiastic about the high reliability and flexibility of the shuttle service. When compared to car commuting, the shuttle service made even slight delays acceptable for users, since they do not have to search for a parking space on the factory premises.
The integrated mobility services made the daily commute less stressful for the participants who also praised the environment friendly concept. About two out of three pilot participants can imagine to regularly use the mobility offer on their daily commute. From their point of view, employee mobility should above all be:
Flexible – Roche employees want to decide spontaneously whether they want to travel with the integrated mobility offers or whether they want to commute by car on individual days of the month.
Pilot participant Lorena Mayer finds: “The networked offer was a great opportunity to reduce our ecological footprint for at least a few weeks. And even after the pilot, with our new job ticket, we now have the opportunity to leave the car at home more often.”
Smooth Mobility Chain, Punctuality of Means of Transport and environmentally friendly Shuttle is Important for Users
A smooth transition between the transport services is particularly important for users. This requires punctuality and a high level of reliability for all modes of transport in the mobility chain. In addition, Roche employees would like to see an even tighter timetable for local trains, especially in the afternoon.
In order to take an even greater account of the sustainability requirements of such a concept, the use of vehicles with environmentally friendly type of drive is also considered important.
The Project Partners are Satisfied with the Results
“We have simply tested what innovative and individual mobility in combination with public transport from one’s front door to the office door can look like,” says Frank Klingenhöfer, Chairman of the Regional Management DB Regio Mitte. “We learn from this that interwoven concepts have the potential to convince commuters to leave their cars parked and to use public transport instead. Some pilot participants can even imagine to give up their second car. But results have also shown us the importance of smooth connections between all means of transport. This delivers important messages for the necessary level of quality that our own product – train travel – must sustainably demonstrate, in order to be a permanent component of such networked mobility chains. I am pleased to have Roche and ioki as partners at our side. Together, we were able to rethink mobility and to actively support our efforts to strengthen public transport with digital, deeper connected services.
“Roche’s goal is to offer employees a diverse and sustainable mobility mix and thus, create an attractive offer for its workforce. The pilot was a good opportunity to test a mobility concept for the future, to understand the needs of our employees better and to gain important insights into mobility behaviour and opportunities,” explains Martin Haag, plant manager at Roche Mannheim.
What are the next steps?
On the basis of the pilot’s findings, DB Regio Mitte and Roche will now jointly draw conclusions for the further development and long-term implementation of such interconnected concepts for improved employee mobility in Mannheim. The job ticket, which Roche employees at the Mannheim site have been able to use since June, is also a key component in promoting sustainable mobility that Roche has launched with DB Regio Mitte.
In addition, the project partners will intensify the dialogue with rural districts, towns as well as communities and above all with Christian Specht, the first mayor of the city of Mannheim.
The aim is to work with politicians to initiate new projects for citizens in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region and beyond, but also to establish sustainable mobility for everyone.
Source: Deutsche Bahn Presse