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CleverShuttle – Efficient operation of on-demand transports

August 2022

CleverShuttle‘s digital platform for the operations control of on-demand transport
CleverShuttle‘s digital platform for the operations control of on-demand transport. Photo: CleverShuttle

The modernised German Passenger Transport Act has permanently integrated “on-demand ride-pooling” into short-distance public transport. Digital on-demand services, which can be ordered and tracked via an app and use an intelligent algorithm to generate carpools, play a key role in increasing the attractiveness of public transport.

According to a recent study by ioki, a Deutsche Bahn subsidiary, almost 55 million Germans who live in rural areas do not have sufficient access to public mobility. This is where on-demand transport services provide a basic supply of public mobility. They are an efficient alternative to poorly utilised scheduled and on-call bus systems. They can also be used as feeders to the next connecting service. In cities, they complement urban public transport by closing gaps in coverage at off-peak times or in peripheral areas and provide customised, high-quality mobility offers. With on-demand transport, future connections can be created without lengthy advance planning and development of infrastructure.

This potential is increasingly being used by transport companies. In 2021, more than 30 new on-demand services were launched in Germany – more than in any other country outside the USA. There are currently around 380 on-demand shuttles on the road in public transport throughout Germany. According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) and the consulting group Roland Berger, 18,000 vehicles are anticipated by 2030.

Efficient operation – the key to success

In the long term, however, on-demand transport can only be successful nationwide if it is implemented efficiently. This is because it requires a high level of resources. Manpower, vehicles and charging infrastructure – in the case of electrically powered transport – must be optimally coordinated so that requests for journeys can be served quickly and the vehicles are always fully utilised. On behalf of public transport, CleverShuttle optimises these resources, from the provision and training of driving crews, the procurement of electric vehicles to the installation of the charging infrastructure and intelligent traffic management.

A digital platform to control operations

With its proprietary digital platform for operations control, CleverShuttle implements on-demand transports through data-driven and intelligent control. Based on a large data pool of passenger usage patterns, an hourly demand forecast is first created and then translated into precise service planning for on-demand transport. To ensure that drivers and vehicles are deployed efficiently at all times, the digital operations platform consolidates all aspects of operations management, such as dynamic shift planning, active vehicle distribution, incident and load management, and live operations adjustments, into one simple dashboard for dispatching.

CleverShuttle’s own software solution handles the work processes of its driving personnel in a fully digital mode. The driving personnel performs all work steps intuitively via their smartphone. They register online for their shift, check the vehicle condition and view their pay slips. This minimises set-up times.

CleverShuttle currently operates on-demand transport services on behalf of local public transport companies at eleven locations across Germany with a fleet of more than 70 vehicles and over 150 drivers. The average rating by passengers is 4.9 out of 5 points and the average waiting time for a shuttle is less than seven minutes.

At InnoTrans 2022, an interactive multi-touch display will provide insights into all aspects of the operational implementation of digitised on-demand public transport services.