- Miami has seen a 70% increase in ridership and completed 69% more rides after rebranding and expanding on-demand transit service MetroConnect.
- New York City’s subway system is over 100 years old and is currently undergoing modernization efforts to meet the needs of customers living in an era of high technology.
- Alphabet-owned autonomous vehicle company Waymo expanded its service area around the Phoenix area to more than 225 square miles and launched Waymo Driver in the ride-hailing app in Phoenix.
- Israeli traffic management startup NoTraffic set up a 5G-connected AI-enabled traffic management solution at the University of British Columbia in 2023, offering hardware and software that turns intersections into smart intersections based on real-time data.
- Israeli trip-planning app, Moovit, partnered with Arriva to launch a white label app that helps users plan, pay, and ride with any public transport operator, shared transit, or micromobility provider throughout the entire country in the Netherlands.
Over here at TechCrunch, our time is often spent finding and reporting on the next new new thing in mobility, from autonomous vehicles to traffic management solutions and even trip planning apps. While this tech, in theory, may someday help people and goods move from point A to B, much of it is just that — theory. Hope. Promise. Showy demos to impress VC investors.
How Miami uses on-demand transit
Miami has been working with transit tech company Via to bring in on-demand transit since 2020. The service, formerly called GO Connect, launched during the COVID-19 pandemic as a first- and last-mile solution, filling in the gaps between where people live and major transit hubs. Three years later, Miami-Dade rebranded the service to MetroConnect, adopted it into its broader public transit network and added four new service zones. Within a month of rebranding and expanding, MetroConnect completed 69% more rides and saw a 70% increase in ridership, according to Via. The company also said MetroConnect has, since its inception, increased access to 57% more jobs within a 45-minute commute by connecting riders to transit hubs, two-thirds of whom report that they do not have access to a car.
Bringing NYC’s subway system to the 21st century
New York City’s iconic subway system is more than 100 years old. Most of the investment into the subway today is focused on modernization to help the century-old system meet the needs and expectations of customers living in an era of high technology. Part of that has been reducing the friction to ride. Anyone who’s ridden the NYC subway will know that frustrating, and bizarrely nostalgic, feeling of rushing to make your train, swiping your MetroCard and barreling forward through the turnstiles in one motion, only to be bodily met with an unmoving metal bar because you didn’t swipe correctly or, even worse, have INSUFFICIENT FARE.
A number of other companies, some of them working on frontier tech, also helped people and packages move from point A to point B in 2023. Here are some of the ones worth highlighting. Alphabet-owned autonomous vehicle company Waymo has made considerable headway this year, notably in Phoenix. Waymo expanded in May, connecting downtown Phoenix with East Valley and adding Scottsdale. Waymo’s service area around the Phoenix area is now more than 225 square miles. And after initially trialing for members of the public in December 2022, Waymo this month at the airport. In October, Waymo also to launch its Waymo Driver in the ride-hailing app in Phoenix.
Zooming out of the U.S., Israeli traffic management startup NoTraffic worked with Nvidia and Rogers Communications to set up a 5G-connected AI-enabled traffic management solution at the University of British Columbia in 2023. NoTraffic, which earlier this year, offers hardware and software that turns intersections into smart intersections that can conduct traffic flows based on real-time data.
Meanwhile in the Netherlands, another Israeli startup — , a trip-planning app — has partnered with Arriva, which operates train and bus services in the country. Together, they launched , a Moovit-powered white label app that helps users plan, pay and ride with any public transport operator, shared transit or micromobility provider throughout the entire country.
Around London, a startup called is helping keep trains running on time and safely by mapping the tracks. In autumn and winter, leaves and ice on railways make the tracks slippery, so drivers proceed with caution. That ends up causing delays and service cancellations, so during those colder months, Transport for London ends up offering less-frequent service, says Connell McLaughlin, CEO of Route Reports. In the worst case, trains encountering unexpected conditions fail to stop, and collide. Network Rail, the infrastructure manager of most of Great Britain’s rail network, enlisted Route Reports to map slippery spots in real-time around London, using data transmitted from passenger trains. Route Reports has also fitted sensors to Network Rail’s special fleet of trains that use high-pressure water jets to clean off leaf residue so the treatment can also be tracked. We’re looking forward to another year of technological progress in mobility! May your 2024 be filled with on-time trains and buses, access to first- and last-mile transport, dynamic traffic lights and more swift, safe movement.