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Brief Published: 2 Aug 2018

Citymapper Improves Urban Journeys with ‘Floating Transport’


A new kind of public transport with no set stops or infrastructure is simplifying the daily commute. UK journey-planning service Citymapper has added dockless cycles and scooters to its app in a bid to improve urban journeys with what it calls 'floating transport'.

'Floating transport' refers to new travel options that complement existing urban transportation. Among them are station-free bike-sharing companies including Ofo, Mobike, Lime and Jump; electric scooter rentals such as Bird and Spin; and car-sharing services like Car2Go. Travellers are charged by the minute and vehicles are tracked by GPS – allowing them to be left anywhere thanks to automatic locking when a trip ends. The vehicle is then reactivated once a new user unlocks it with the company's app.

Citymapper is integrating such services into its journey-mapping app in a multimodal way. For example, a user will be able to see whether it's quicker to take an Ofo bike or the bus, based on how far the nearest bicycle is, and which is the most cost-efficient option. This could increase the use of existing infrastructure by solving the last-mile problem of public transport. "If the trip to the local train station goes from a 15-minute walk to a five-minute scooter ride, then it improves access," reads Citymapper's blog.

A whopping 67% of non-car owners in London believe there's no need to own one, regardless of their age or where they live (UCL, 2018). It's a good indicator that floating transport is here to stay, so it's crucial that cities find ways to seamlessly integrate these companies within their urban mobility networks. See Smart Cities: High-Octane Hubs and Digital Disruption:Wired Live 2017 for more on the transformation of transport.