Whether you have a deep rooted interest in sustainability, or could not care less about saving the planet, chances are you have heard of and possibly taken advantage of a transportation share program in your own city or elsewhere. Whether it be renting a bike for a few hours to pedal through the streets of a tourist destination, or hopping into a Ride Share vehicle, cities are making a concerted effort to improve the availability of efficient and clean transportation for residents and visitors alike. Generally speaking, these programs have operated as independent systems thus far. Imagine though, if there was a way that individuals could have easy access to all the ‘share’ programs within a specific city. Not only would this make the systems more marketable as people would have the advantage of variety in transportation choice, but the comprehensive system could offer incentives to make usage worthwhile for people. If alternative transportation paid off to users in the areas of both convenience and finance, would cities actually see growth in the usage of sustainable transit?
The highly innovative city of Munich is making efforts to find out by conceptually designing a comprehensive transportation program model. The start-up is titled “Mo”, and is an attempt to combine the already existing transportation opportunities the city has to offer, such as bike and car shares, and the excellent public transit system in a flexible, affordable and sustainable way . The plan is to establish an application where users subscribe to the program on a yearly basis. Users are able to instantly gain access to whatever form of transportation they choose with their phone. By offering different options through a unified system, hopefully people will choose bikes and public transport more often. If a regular bike commuter is heading to work on a rainy Monday, they have the option to hop in a Car Share vehicle as well. The system really takes user’s needs into consideration; car ownership is no longer necessary, but the opportunity to access one is there if needed. Incentives also comes in the form of a point system, Mo-Miles, which tally up and can be deducted from the overall subscription cost, or used to redeem subway rides, bus trips, or car shares. The more sustainably you travel, the more points you collect. Ideally, the program is advantageous for the user in a variety of ways, and should advocate a permanent lifestyle change in transportation choice.
The city hopes a program such as this will substantially reduce the amount of vehicular traffic within the core, thereby increasing the livability and walkability of the city. A statistic we are all too familiar with, 80% of distances travelled in Germany are shorter than 20 Kilo, and unfortunately those are traversed primarily by car. Dirk Hessenbruch, the driving force in the “mo” design team optimistically described the system in an interview: “‘Mo’ points out concrete, feasible alternatives that are based on people’s needs. ‘Mo’ means mobility for the city of tomorrow.” Unfortunately the program has not broken ground as Munich officials have yet to approve it. Another concern is on behalf of the individual share systems, and whether it would be economically advantageous to combine their efforts. If enacted, it will be interesting to see reports on the success of the program, and whether it will actually decrease vehicular usage in the heart of the city.