By Scott Shepard, Chief Business Officer, Iomob Technology Services
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has quickly demonstrated itself as a global challenge, affecting all aspects of our daily lives. One of the areas that is most profound related to this pandemic is the aspect of urban mobility. The restrictions now coming into effect on an hourly basis are drastically transforming how we move across districts, cities, and regions. These restrictions are based on the public health policy of social distancing.
Through social distancing, it has been proven that a “flattening of the curve” related to the outbreak of new virus cases can be better managed, and spread out across a longer time period. This allows our hospitals and public health facilities to carefully manage existing and new case loads, without reaching over-capacity. As social distancing is a critical aspect to local, regional, national, and EU policy regarding managing this pandemic, tools and technologies are needed to better support the movement and distribution of urban mobility.
Electric bicycles, electric scooters, and other personal electric vehicles have long been touted for their economic and environmental benefits. But now we’re seeing how these types of vehicles are being effectively employed as one more option to defend commuters from contracting and/or spreading coronavirus.
One of the biggest underlying factors leading to the rapid spread of coronavirus around the world has been the virus’ ability to spread among people packed in close quarters, often days before symptoms emerge. Thus, it has become a common recommendation to avoid packed public spaces such as overloaded city buses and subway cars. While many commuters had already sworn off such forms of public transportation years ago after discovering the benefits of electric bicycles, e-scooters, and other micromobility options, other travelers fearing the spread of coronavirus are just now discovering these convenient transportation alternatives.
The CORE MaaS (COvid-19 REsilient Mobility as a Service) project developed by Iomob and submitted in partnership with Factual as part of the Enhanced EIC Accelerator Pilot (SME Instrument Phase 2) urgent call for projects proposes to develop an open SDK-based middleware platform that integrates available mobility service providers (MSPs), public transport, taxis, and other mobility services across multiple cities and regions within Continental Europe. The platform will provide intermodal routing algorithms to allow users to select available mobility options within a selected geography that optimize social distancing, as a prioritized parameter.
For example, If a user is looking to navigate from their home to the local pharmacy, bank, or allowable destination, the appropriate mobility options will display based upon least impact to social distancing and potential infection. Within the platform, destinations that are currently allowed to access based upon government policy will be available to pre-select.
CORE MaaS provides a safe and reliable way for users to have the confidence that they are working within acceptable parameters, and that they will have the ability to access healthcare facilities, pharmacies, grocery stores, or other essential services. The immediate impacts related to the CORE MaaS project can be clearly demonstrated for societal and public health / environmental impacts. By leveraging Iomob’s existing core technology to provide an open platform for shared mobility that encourages social distancing to flatten the curve in Coronavirus infections, the CORE MaaS project will seek to enable public agencies and other key stakeholders to better inform inhabitants and enable safe mobility patterns.
CORE MaaS is directly linked to the ability for people to have open access, visibility, and confidence in their required mobility actions. This will provide options in a seamless, intuitive application that routes specific journeys to allowable destinations and ensure safe, social distancing. Technology enabled solutions such as CORE MaaS seek to better society by leveraging multimodal algorithms deeply integrated with public transport and shared mobility providers to give preference for points of interest and destinations, coupled with safe mobility options to promote public health and reduce impacts related to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Interested in reading more about what you can do during the COVID-19 pandemic? Check out Moving and Shaking From Our Living Rooms
About the author: Scott Shepard is an urbanist & mobility visionary, C-level executive, board member, advisor, strategist, thought leader, and influencer who is passionate about the intersection of cities, mobility, and innovation. His writing about cities and mobility has been published in Intelligent Transport Magazine, Smart Cities World, Auto Futures, the Urban Mobility Daily, Medium, & Transportes em Revista.