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Brief Glossary of the New Mobility

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Tags: AutonomousDriving, Connectivity, InternetOfThings, #MobilityLifeBalance

Novel names and abbreviations are hallmark features of the language of the mobility of tomorrow. We will explain the most important terms.
Martin Westerhoff, August 14, 2019
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Martin Westerhoff studied technology journalism and writes about vehicles and technologies since then. He has a soft spot for motorsports and racing cars.
Anyone driving a car, riding a bicycle, or boarding a train can easily explain what means of transport they use when being on the move. It is not quite so straightforward in the new world of mobility offerings. This is not only due to the terms employed. Instead, where a vehicle was previously known simply as a means of getting around, mobility now defines much more a method for doing so. In most cases, apps have an important role to play in organizing journeys and handling the billing process. We will now explain the key terms that you should know.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) ...

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) ...

... means that a single mobility service at a given point in time combines various transport offers for the journey being taken by a user to a defined destination. This makes MaaS an alternative to private transport with your own vehicle. The integrated offers can be versatile, extending from bus and rail, the rental of bicycles, cars, or e-scooters to the taxi or to taxi-like travel services for several passengers. The added value of MaaS is created by software on a technical platform that links and books the various offers of public and commercial providers in the background via an app, then handling the billing process with the user. Incidentally, Transport as a Service (TaaS) is a term synonymous with MaaS.
Passengers use apps to book and pay for Mobility-as-a-Service offers.

Intermodal mobility ...

Intermodal mobility ...

... also known as multimodal mobility, describes the process of traveling a route by combining at least two different means of transport. This makes it a sub-aspect of MaaS.

Last mile

Last mile

The term last mile was originally used to designate the last section of a supply line to the home for water, gas, electricity, or telecommunications. In the context of intermodal mobility, the last mile designates the remaining short distance to the destination. Micromobility offers, i.e. small vehicles such as rental bikes or e-scooters, are the typical means of transport for use on the last mile.
The last mile can be covered comfortably with micromobility services such as rental e-scooters.

Shared mobility ...

Shared mobility ...

... is based upon the principle of sharing rather than of owning. Terms such as car sharing or bike sharing stand for the rental of a car or a bike, something which can be done without any planning in advance. With a once-only registration, providers and users are typically not obliged to conclude a new contract for every rental transaction. Station-based offers are conditional upon collecting a vehicle from a defined station, to which it must be returned at a later point in time. In the case of free-floating arrangements, vehicles can be parked in public in defined areas, for example in a town. In the future, when autonomous shuttles take to the roads, shared mobility will gain another meaning (see autonomous ride-hailing).

Ride-hailing

Ride-hailing

With ride-hailing, the user uses a convenient app to order the journey and the destination. In the background, intelligent software establishes which vehicle is closest at that time and best able to include that desired journey in its route. In contrast to a taxi, ride-hailing does not need to involve exclusive transport: with ride-pooling, a driver can pick up several passengers who have to accept that their journey will involve intermediate stops. Autonomous ride-hailing involves the use of driverless vehicles known as robo-taxis. The legal prerequisites for this are not yet in place.
In future, with autonomous ride-hailing, robo-taxis should be able to pick up passengers and take them to their destination.

Mobility flat rate

Mobility flat rate

To date, no mobility flat rate has yet been defined. The principle involved is that of a lump-sum price. Vehicle manufacturers or rental car companies provide a passenger car for this purpose. Frequently, the user may even switch to other models during the term of this arrangement. This lump sum includes the cost of insurance, taxation, or repairs, but does not include the cost of gasoline. In contrast to leasing arrangements, no down payment is involved. Helsinki operates a mobility flat-rate scheme in an extended sense. In the Finnish capital, MaaS is available at a fixed price. Depending on the package, mass transit, rental bikes, rental cars, and even taxi journeys are included.

The monthly cost of the mobility flat rate in Helsinki is
596 EUR
which includes taxis and rental cars throughout the entire city.

Car-to-x ...

Car-to-x ...

... designates the networking of vehicles with their environment. This refers to the communication between vehicles as well as between vehicles and transport infrastructure, for example traffic lights. Car-to-x is not a mobility offer. Instead, it is an important piece of technical groundwork for integrating autonomous shuttles into transport systems at a future date.
Car-to-x networks vehicles with their environment – this is an important prerequisite for autonomous shuttles.

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