Having a look at global on-demand experimentations worldwide, it has to be noted that all projects weren’t successful.  When it comes to on-demand transportation, risk and complexity are of a completely different magnitude. Planning this kind of service is hard and risky. Transport on demand (TOD) aka demand responsive transport or microtransit can be defined as a privately or publicly operated, technology-enabled transit service that uses multi-passenger/pooled shuttles or vans to provide shared mobility with dynamic routing (SAE Report, 2020).

Facing public transportation drawbacks, on-demand mobility seems to benefits of the mobility revolution. It is complex to launch a successful TOD experimentation. Our Mobility Club event organized in partnership with Lab Box gave us the opportunity to gather emblematic startups to try understanding their secret sauce and the challenges they’ve already overcome. Let’s take a look at our speakers:


Do you wish to launch a TOD pilot or know more about leading startups in that field? Do not miss the key outcomes of the webinar. 

What are we talking about?

Where does on-demand sit in the transport ecosystem?

As many people adopt new technologies such as smartphone apps and cloud computing, new services have appeared at the crossroads between solo trips and mass transit. In this graph, Via clearly positions TOD in the landscape of private and shared mobility :

What are the different use cases?

On-demand transit offers a quality of service thanks to its flexibility and efficiency. It can be easily adapted to every specific case such as:

  • Low-density area mobility → Improve mobility for residents in large areas with smaller populations and dispersed trip patterns
  • First and Last mile connection → Provide high-frequency connections that close the gap between fixed-route transit and trip origins or destinations
  • Underperforming bus routes → Replace expensive or poorly performing fixed-route buses with reliable and cost-effective microtransit
  • Paratransit → Upgrade paratransit to be timelier, more efficient, and on-demand
  • Employee Commuting  → Tackle the last of transportation options in industrial and corporate parks
  • Long-Distance Commuting → Reduce the need for multiple transfers and long in-transit times with efficient single trips

“Shotl resolves the usual nightmare of the transportation planner” Gérard Martret, Founding Partner Shotl

What are the key metrics you follow when running your businesses?

Passenger – related KPIS

  • Retention: Are commuters likely to frequently use on-demand services?
  • Net Promoter Score: How likely is it that you would recommend on-demand transit to a relative?
  • Passenger growth: how many customers are interested to use on-demand transportation compared to traditional bus lines?


Number of people that have realized more than 1 trip with Ioki shuttle in Hamburg


Via NPS for Berlkönig service in Berlin  

2.1 x

Via ridership growth since first full month of service in Orange County (California)

Vehicle-related KPIs

  • Vehicle distance: How many kilometres are covered?
  • Vehicle occupancy: How many passengers are carried by each van?
  • Average waiting time: How long should passengers wait?
  • Mobility hub connection: To what extent passengers use shuttles to/ from larger public transport stations?

Indirect benefits

  • Decrease in congestion: How many cars are not on the road? As mentioned by BCG, Via service in Arlington helped eliminate nearly 400,000 miles of travel that would have occurred if the passengers had driven solo
  • Emissions reduction: How many CO2 emissions are saved by aggregating passengers into shared vehicles and eliminating solo trips? For example, 60 to 150 tons of CO2 are saved in Arlington thanks to Via service BCG

“I don’t want to have people thinking about on-demand transit as something separated, something parked somewhere in the city. I think it has to be integrated, it has to communicate with the other apps of the operator.” Bertrand Parizot, Country Manager VIA

Who is entering into the TOD Market?

TOD market is a highly competitive environment as a handful of companies are providing adequate softwares to optimize transportation. It reflects the momentum for on-demand transit solutions. Among the actors, we can mention:

  • Pure players: those companies are specialized in providing flexible and on-demand transportation services.
    ex: Via, Padam, Ioki, Door2door, Shotl, Swat, Sparelabs, Lyftandgo, Rideco
  • Non-independent players: these competitors are all subsidiaries of either transport operators or car manufacturers. As they belong to a big player, they might become a conflict of interest for other transport operators seeking for neutral solutions.
    ex: Bridj (bought by Transit system), Moia (created by Volkswagen), Transloc  (bought by Ford Mobility), Ioki (created by Deutsche Bahn), Clevershuttle (acquired by Deutsche Bahn.
  • Giant mobility players: leaders in pooling solutions, they can separately sell their technologies like Uber who announced in June 2020 that it is making the technology that powers its ride-hailing business available to others
    ex: Grab, Moovit, Didi bus, Uber



The COVID 19 crisis paved the way to an efficient use of transportation resources. It is an opportunity to re-think how existing and new vehicles and transport resources can offer enhanced flexibility and adaptability. It opens the way to new mobility partnerships fostering public and private strategies. Falling transit ridership and global players strategy toward on-demand mobility let us think that we are living a watershed moment for the TOD Market.


To get more information listen to our webinar replay.

Photo Credit: Via