Uber-fantastic transportation

The challenge: Develop an uber-like solution for transportation options for residents with disabilities.

Description of the problem

The municipality of The Hague facilitates and finances various types of transport for people who cannot or are insufficiently able to travel by public transport independently. Currently, residents are not enough aware of the different transportation possibilities. This has the following consequences:

Efficiency: Different types of transportation (i.e. transport flows) exist and are not coordinated. They are not being used to their full potential. As a result, some carriers drive similar routes at the same time, or do not make efficient use of their capacity. Due to a lack of overview, it is difficult to efficiently plan sequential trips.

Quality: Due to the fragmentation, transportation is also vulnerable. The quality is often under pressure during peak hours. The carrier cannot properly accommodate the number of vehicles and drivers needed ad hoc, leading to late pickups, or having to travel via insufficient and long routes for the customer (inefficient planning of routes). In the worst case, sometimes customers are not picked up at all. We want to solve these problems and provide customers with more alternative choices and better services.

Insight: Information about each type of transport provider is available separately, but there is no real time information available about all transportation flows on one system. As a result, it is difficult to make adjustments. As the municipality of The Hague acts as a client for these transport providers, it would be desirable to combine all information into one system for policy making in the long term.

Traffic and environment: As trips are currently not efficient, there is room for improvement through a change in amount of transport offered, continuity of speed/travel and reducing in traffic jams. This is good for the environment and fits the city’s policy of making The Hague an accessible city (also in the future).

Financial: Providing better insight into transportation flows will result in more efficient use of capacity for the transport provider (cars, drivers, transportation planners) as well as financial profit for the municipality.  

What are we looking for?

We are looking for a solution with at least the following features:

  • A digital solution that is easy to use, but offers telephone services for those who cannot use the digital solution.
  • Matching customers’ transport needs with the available transport providers/carriers. Based on specific needs and wishes (such as people with wheelchairs), the traveler receives a list of suitable transportation options. The best option must be clearly visible and at the top of the list.
  • A solution with the possibility to add various transportation flows in phases, since not all data can be linked at the same time. The solution must take different types of customers into account, and show options based on the customers’ specific needs and wishes (tailor made).
  • It must be a ‘closed’ system that is not freely accessible to everyone, but in which users like healthcare providers, service point employees, general practitioners and the municipality can add customers.
  • A report/dashboard which can be used to make for adjustments and policy making. The solution must make it possible to map, analyze and correlate the transport supply and needs
  • Users must be able to provide feedback after their trips.
  • Providers must be able to measure customer satisfaction.

Possible further developments:

  • Insight into the performance of the transport provider (punctuality and quality)
  • Possibility to pay based on the trips you have made (by the customer as well as the carrier)
  • Linking to the public transportation offer (9292ov)

What are we not looking for?

We are not looking for a solution that focuses on changing the type of transportation used by current travelers. Think of Go-OV. We are not looking for substitutes for public transport (i.e. other providers). These providers are already purchased by the municipality and in use.

Background information

Some examples for inspiration:

The municipality of The Hague has a wide range of transport options. For example, transport that has been put out to tendered to a specific provider.

  • The Taxi bus. Intended for social and recreational transport. Like transport to shopping centers, a family member or to a hobby club. These can be ad hoc rides (booked at least 1 hour in advance) or fixed rides booked further in advance.
  • Daily travel. Intended for residents that are unable to travel to their daily activities independently. These are fixed trips at fixed times and are therefore more easily planned than ad hoc transport.

Informal types of transport that do not require a medical indication. In these cases there is only a short interview beforehand. This type of transport is offered by volunteers or welfare organizations:

  • Driving and guiding. Local residents drive around in their own vehicle for a small fee that users can pay voluntarily. For example, someone may drive their 80 year old neighbor to her weekly activity. Welfare organizations manage a system in which supply and demand are matched.
  • Mobility scooter pool. This is a depot of mobility scooters that citizens can borrow for (part of) a day.

Transport that only in a specific area:

  • The district bus. This is type of group transport in a specific district with a voluntary driver.
  • Shopping service. This is also a voluntary service that operates at neighborhood/ district level.

Transport offered by local entrepreneurs:

  • Rental bikes such as Biesieklette, NS, and The Hague city bike.
  • Rental cars which are able to take a wheelchair/mobility scooter such as the ‘Zonnebloemauto.
  • Beach transport such as the beach wheelchair at Biesieklette in Scheveningen and Kijkduin.

Overall, many different types of transport exist, all with their own characteristics, prices and timetables.