It’s an exciting but confusing time in transportation. Electric vehicles are gaining traction, ride-sharing has matured, and advances in self-driving cars are making slow but steady progress. COVID has accelerated the red-hot last mile delivery industry and allowed cities to experiment with roads and parking spaces. All part of the renewed interest in micro-mobility and repurposing existing infrastructure.
Real advances have already been made, but we’re still at the onset of a significant transportation industry overhaul — one that will need to address tremendous challenges, not the least of which is that most public transportation systems still operate at a considerable loss.
Driving Efficiencies with a Mobility OS
Overcoming the inefficiencies that plague most public transportation systems calls for a balanced solution that creates better user experiences, efficiently utilizes resources and ensures the public good — safely, consistently and equitably. It also needs to optimize the full stack — types of vehicles used, routing, logistics, etc. — when density is high and traffic is predictable, and for a flexible and dynamic response when density is lower and traffic tends to spike.
Solving for all of these variables is a complex market orchestration challenge. How do you aggregate supply and demand through a common platform to realize the efficiency that theoretically would be available in a better managed system? And how do you do so while also staying in step with local regulatory requirements and meeting the unique needs of individual cities?
At Inovia, we’ve long believed the answer to questions like these is to create flexible, configurable, and regulatable coordination tools called “mobility operating systems.” A combination of complex software systems and marketplaces, mobility operating systems can address the needs of the many stakeholders in local transportation ecosystems, including cities, fleet providers, private transportation operators, vehicle manufacturers, travellers, shippers, and receivers. Ultimately, they have the potential to balance user experience and efficiency in real time, providing optimal routing, vehicle usage, driver allocation, and end user experience for every trip.
A Vision for the Future of Mobility
Having long sought out such a solution, we were very excited when we met the team at Spare, who is revolutionizing how both private and public transportation providers run their businesses. Their platform includes data-driven transportation planning, analytics dashboards, and a purpose-built customer relationship management hub, making it possible for anyone to operate an efficient on-demand mobility service. By optimizing their operations — from routing and driver scheduling to fleet management and service planning — transportation providers can better focus on addressing some of the most pressing mobility challenges facing cities today, including first-and-last-mile transportation and transit deserts.
Ultimately, Spare’s long-term vision is to create the complete mobility operating system noted above. But they’ve also paired that vision with a pragmatic go-to-market approach, which has led to fantastic market traction.
Many companies focus on vertically integrated solutions, including better delivery, ride-sharing, and bus scheduling. While Spare can also do these things, they excel at orchestrating fleets, drivers, people, and packages to give customers more top-line opportunities and bottom-line optimization.
So far, this approach has worked with both public clients (e.g.cities) and private ones. It’s also starting to build a bridge between the two by using private service providers to meet cities’ needs. Doing so reduces the subsidies that cities pay while encouraging free market competition, economics, and opportunities.
Ultimately, we think Spare is building the operating system for the future of mobility. Their vision for public and private transportation providers collaborating for a win-win outcome, without technological impediments, to offer a positive and equitable shared transportation experience resonates with us. We’ve also been impressed by the founders, who met more than a decade ago as they built the world’s first autonomous sailboats. They bring a pragmatic approach and strong technical expertise to executing their vision.
We’re excited to work with Spare as it grows and redefines the future of transportation.
Want to learn more? Get in touch.