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BusUp: Multi-platform On-demand Crowdsourced Bus Transportation for Smart City Mobility

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BUSUP (BusUp: Multi-platform On-demand Crowdsourced Bus Transportation for Smart City Mobility)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2018-12-31

A large majority of EU citizens live in an urban environment, with over 60% living in metropolitan areas with over 10,000 inhabitants. By 2030, 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, up from about 50 percent today. In the EU alone, 118 million people are now living and working in peri-urban zones (hybrid landscapes of fragmented urban and rural characteristics), which offer the prospect of more spacious and inexpensive homes than those available in the city. While most urban centres are growing at 0.5-0.6% per year, peri-urban areas are growing at four times that rate.
Transit authorities prioritize infrastructure investment in urban centres, which are more densely populated and amenable to public transportation with frequent, regular stops. There is a mounting demand for inter-urban transport services to, from and around peri-urban areas. Public transit authorities generally provide radial routes linking peripheries and the metropolitan centres. However, radial routes do not meet the needs of citizens that need to travel within peri-urban areas, forcing people to use cars. Being daily commuters and leisure travellers, the groups of population most affected by this car dependency in peri-urban areas.
Industrial estates and Business parks have flourished in peri-urban areas, as they offer an affordable alternative for companies to rent or buy offices and industrial estates. Business parks and Industrial Estates concentrate high densities of workers each day and face many challenges when it comes to sustainable mobility. In general, public transport services do not meet the needs of those working on business parks due to a lack of suitable bus routes. As a consequence, between 80-90% of workers in business parks go to work by car.
However, private car is a highly inefficient and pollutant form of transport. With an average occupancy rate of 24%, the number of passengers in a car in daily commutes is 1.214. Congestion in the EU is often located in and around urban areas and costs nearly 200 billion euros per year, or 2% of the EU's GDP, annually. Cars are also high contributors to urban pollution. Urban mobility accounts for 40% of all CO2 emissions of road transport and up to 70% of other pollutants from transport in the EU. Almost 60% of the transport sector’s CO2 emissions are produced by the use of cars.
Buses are uniquely positioned to tackle disaggregated inter-urban travel demand. Buses are already the second most popular way to commute, after the car, but public transit bus services, with their set stops, radial routes to cities, and often-infrequent schedules, don’t offer nearly the same convenience as cars for commuters in peri-urban areas. In contrast, Coaches (a bus designed for longer distance travel, with amenities such as Wi-Fi and luggage storage) could fill this gap. Coaches can carry up-to 70 passengers, can follow customized door-to-door routes and, in contrast to public transport, can guarantee seating. Coaches’ relative emissions are also 5 times lower per passenger than in a car, as they reduce traffic as well as CO2 (1 coach takes an average of 33 cars off the road). However, coach operators lack the innovation to offer customized, flexible and reliable services that commuters desire.
The main objectives of this project are to scale-up the MVP version of the on-demand crowdsourced bus service booking platform, so as to ensure the sufficient capacity to process all the variables that may occur in the different metropolitan areas/regions in which BUSUP will be validated.
The launch of a new version of the BUSUP cloud platform will be able to provide bus operators and customers with user-friendly interfaces for all markets and regions and a new version of the BUSUP web that will need to be modified and turned into a web application (web app) so as to be able to meet user needs (operators and passengers) in all
markets and regions. The new BUSUP platform will be considered successful when it is able to address the growing region’s specific needs of bus operators, B2C passengers and B2B clients.
Another main objective of the project will be the development of successful commercialization strategy and new business and communication plans.
Both technical and business goals of the project will be validated in 2 metropolitan areas (Barcelona and Sao Paulo) so as to be able to ensure the worldwide deployment of BUSUP and position it as the market leader in crowdsourced bus transportation solutions.
Since the start of the project BusUp has successfully completed the metrics, criteria definition and data gathering for each market which were the necessary input data for the algorithms.
During this first period BusUp has successfully completed 2 out of the 4 expected algorithmic modules that are necessary for the BUSUP system. The remaining two will be ready in the following months.
BusUp has successfully achieved the alpha version of all the foreseen software developments involving software upgrades and integrations. The Beta version is already in an advanced state and will also be ready in the following months.
The validation of the BusUp system will take place in both the Metropolitan areas of Barcelona and Brazil according to the initial plan.
Finally, the development of a comprehensive and updated commercialization strategy is also a key objective of the project. Much of the Business, Legal, IPR management and communication tasks to ensure efficient and successful commercialisation have been performed during the first period.
The technology developed by BusUp does not suppose a progress beyond the state of the art of the technology as this has been used for similar applications such as logistics. However, BusUp will bring forward several disruptive innovations that no competitor has and that will make BusUp a game-changer in smart collective mobility. The BusUp’s booking platform will become the most technological advanced on-demand crowdsourced solution of the market.
These disruptive innovations allow us to build a sounder and more profitable business model than those of our competitors which will add as much value for our customers as it does for our providers. We are the only company with the vision and the technology to offer this next-generation solution. We fuse decades of experience in the bus sector with decades of experience in innovative ICT solutions. BusUp lies at this critical intersect.
With regards to the coach market, the latest statistics from DG Transport estimate that the current market was worth 285 Billion euros in the EU28 in 2014, representing a total fleet size of 250,000 coaches, and 1.55 million employees. BusUp aims to enable growth of SMEs in the EU28 coach market by granting them access to a new market valued in 4,5bn€. BusUp will also foster competitiveness in the SMEs of the EU28 coach market by ensuring that they are able to compete with large service providers operating regular services and the sharing economy (i.e. Bla-bla-car), as with smart mobility solutions (i.e. Carsharing).
BusUp will also contribute to meet Europe 2020 strategy targets on climate change and energy, by fostering the use of a private collective transport solution that is an efficient alternative to the current monopolistic use of car in peri-urban areas as every coach takes, on average, of 33 cars of the road.