App Development

The Next Big Thing for Integrated Mobility Apps: Simplification and less choice

The increase in choice in shared mobility services is great for the consumer. Or is it? More options also mean more decisions that need to be made and it is becoming overwhelming. A meta mobility app could address this.

Shared mobility services are everywhere these days. For longer distances, trains and planes have moved people for decades, but the different shared services within urban centers are new.

Advances in GPS tracking, telematics and wireless technology have made it possible to build shared bike systems, on-demand buses, rideshare services and much more. 

Yet, this abundance of choice is becoming a nightmare for consumers who spend hours deciding how to get from A to B. Technology was supposed to simplify our lives and not make them more complicated. 

A meta app is needed for all the different mobility options

There is quite a selection of apps and websites out there that show different routes and transportation options, but what is really needed is a meta app that is smart enough to reduce the mobility choices and at the same time gives more power to the end consumer.

Some shared mobility services, for instance, carsharing require customers to provide a background check. You have to repeat this for each provider you want to use and so your sensitive data is stored on different systems. Just like the latest trend in health care, sensitive data should belong to the customer and a meta app could address this issue.

Additionally, customers are not unified; different people have different needs when moving around town. Perhaps you are a new parent you have a baby and a stroller that also needs transportation. Maybe as a student you have a tighter mobility budget this month. A meta app could allow you to set your specific mobility preferences and adjust them if your life changes.

Setting preferences is only useful, if the meta app integrates the latest advances in anticipatory design. Today you need to look at ten different apps and decide how to get to the office. Just like how one of the top internet-related service providers now preselects articles based on your preferences, so would this new mobility app. If it is beautiful weather and you like to be active, the app does not need to show you a bus service.

Customers certainly would appreciate simplification and less choice when moving around cities. We like to free our minds for decision-making that impacts our lives in more profound ways.

Leave a comment: What would free your mind when looking at an app to find out how to get from A to B?

Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.

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In an earlier article, we advocated applying some of the principles of packet switching, the backbone technology of internet and telecom, to mobility and transport. After all, the similarity is clear. Packets carry bits, vehicles carry people and goods. In a first of a series of three articles, we'll explore some possibilities. We'll start by analyzing the impact of sharing vehicles.