Agency for on-demand transport and other mobility services
Operated by the Mobility Agency of Genoa, a new agency was established as a coordination, organisational, technological and management centre providing flexible demand-responsive services.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Choosing a mode of transport for any kind of trip generally involves few alternatives: either relatively low cost but rigid timetables and routes (traditional local public transport) or high cost but high quality and high comfort (taxi and private car). There is traditionally no service in between, despite the fact that a regulated local mobility market could support and promote the formation and development of a flexible transport system. The idea is to combine the traditional strong features of conventional public transportation (fixed routes and schedules) with on-demand services such as minibuses, collective taxis, car or bike sharing and car pooling. Services of this kind are all based on a service management centre, a call centre for booking, and a transport operator.
The Flexible Transport Services Agency in Genoa was designed to enable the introduction of new mobility services. It is a coordination, organisational, technological and management centre, bridging the gap between conventional public transport and new mobility demands, and implementing marketing and awareness-raising campaigns.
The public transport operator AMT launched two demand-responsive services in 2002 and a third in 2004 (DRINBUS) with the support of the EU LIFE Programme. The agency has been further developed under CIVITAS CARAVEL, through the framework design for the agency; the definition, design, revision and follow-up of the overall information technology system; and the development of the Flexible Services Implementation Plan.
In November 2005, a new on-demand service was launched for people with reduced mobility, and further on-demand services were launched in 2007.
The first two years of the project led to the recognition of the agency as a knowledge and management centre for all intermediate flexible services in the Liguria region. The success of the concept is also demonstrated by the fact that both the flexible services and the agency itself have been acknowledged as European leader within the CIVITAS Thematic Leadership Programme initiative.
The new agency also provides call and dispatch centre services for public transport companies and on-demand services located outside Genoa (e.g. the Aurelio service in the province of Savona). Together with its CARAVEL project partner, the information technology company Softeco, the Mobility Agency of Genoa (AMI) provides a full transfer of demond-responsive services (transfer of technology and service know-how) both in Italy and abroad, as demonstrated by the Telebus service implemented in Krakow.
Thanks to the agency, nine new flexible services were developed in the Liguria region, involving seven different transport operators. Some 100,000 passengers were carried by flexible services in 2008. Public awareness was raised and institutional cooperation between operators and other stakeholders was improved.
The main results achieved by the measure during the project are as follows:
- The management of the three existing DRINBUS on-demand buses, together with the launch of a dispatch centre and service operations provided by AMT.
- The establishment of a management and dispatch centre for Genoa Disabled Persons Flexible Transport Services, with transport operations provided by three social cooperatives.
- The launch of a collective taxi system in autumn 2008.
- The introduction of several flexible services connecting outlying coastal areas and the mountains with the city of Genoa (“Aurelio”, “Escursionibus”, “Prontobus” and “Alta Val Trebbia”).
- The design and implementation of the Telebus in Polish partner city Krakow as a result of a close exchanges.
- A reduction in the gap between traditional local public transport and the use of taxis and private cars in Genoa.