A significant barrier that prevents many people from taking public transport is how they will get from their transport stop to their home or final destination – often referred to as the “last mile challenge”.
There are many ways to address the global last mile challenge, from providing a well-connected public transport network to introducing on-demand public transport modes.
The New South Wales State Government has been piloting on-demand options as part of its public transport network for several years through Transport for NSW.
This type of on-demand model can provide travel flexibility and convenience for people who want to connect to nearby public transport modes.
On-demand services can be particularly useful in low-density areas like suburban Perth, as they only travel by reservation.
By using smaller vehicles, on-demand services can also navigate smaller road networks and other areas where larger vehicles, such as buses, have difficulty moving.
According to Transport for NSW, on-demand services in Sydney have proven to be a
efficient mode of transport for the customer
first and last kilometer, connecting them between
their home and local transport hub within walking distance, reducing the need for
travel by car.
Like the railless tram options I discussed in my column last week, on-demand transport options could certainly be part of the solution to making Perth a more connected city, in conjunction with the rollout of the Metronet from state government and other mid-level transportation options.
Via is a company solving the last mile challenge with its on-demand microtransit services in Sydney and around the world.
Via Asia-Pacific Regional Manager Ben Hague said that to address first-mile and last-mile challenges, Via’s microtransit services have created virtual bus stops for passengers, which has enabled a certain geographic area to have hundreds of flexible potential pick-up and drop-off locations.
Virtual bus stops also mean that vehicles can approach riders’ destinations without requiring detours, since a vehicle is only sent to a stop when there is a pre-scheduled or on-demand reservation.
There are so many exciting options emerging around the world, as innovation and technology continue to deliver a range of new ideas for getting people around their neighborhoods and cities more efficiently and sustainably.
The key will be for private industries and governments to work together in a positive way to provide the best options for our community now and in the future.