Mobimeo research on multimodality

Every year Germans travel more than 1000 billion kilometres. The car is currently the most popular means of transport in Germany. However, in times of increased traffic volume in urban areas, more and more people are switching to alternative modes of transportation.

The range of sharing offers is growing in cities as well as rural areas. As the car sharing association BCS states, Germany counted around 2.46 million car-sharing users in 2018. This is 350,000 more than in 2017, which corresponds to an increase of almost 17 percent. Further growth is expected for 2018. Other providers on the mobility market such as bike, scooter or brand new e-scooter sharing providers are beginning to shape the cities. Together, they have already collected over 1 billion US dollars in venture capital.

Despite this development, public transport remains the leading transport provider in Germany. According to the Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen (VDV) (Association of German Transport Companies), the transport performance of public transport was 95.2 billion kilometres. Nearly 10.4 billion passengers used buses and trains in Germany in 2018 – and the trend is rising.

At the same time, there is a growing desire for more mobility in everyday life. Research by Mobimeo shows that commuters are very open to multimodal alternatives and appreciate them in a variety of situations. According to the research, 59% of respondents would like to be offered alternative modes of transport in the app of their public transport company to reach their destination more comfortable and faster.

Especially, for reasons of convenience, people switch to alternatives. The number of changes and the difficulty of changing trains, for example at large stations with many staircases, determine the choice of means of transport.

Time-related factors such as delays, time pressure or time savings encourage the interviewees to switch to another mode of transport. For most commuters, delays and cancellations are part of everyday life. From a waiting time of more than 10 minutes, the willingness to look for an alternative such as car or bike sharing increases enormously.

Of course, cost considerations play a relevant role. Most respondents have subjective cost thresholds for alternative means of transport, such as taxi rides, which may cost a maximum of €20.

A large number of different circumstances determine the choice of the current means of transport. Factors such as weather or the need to transport things from A to B are mentioned here, as are suitable clothing, expectations of the availability of parking spaces at the place of arrival or the possession of a driving licence.

Last but not least, the availability of public transport is relevant to commuters. Clocking at night times plays a role, as does the distance from the starting point and destination as well as the availability of multimodal alternatives, such as scooters, just beyond the centre.

Commuters want personalised offers

The research shows that some commuters actively avoid certain means of transport. In general, they always try to avoid the tram or bus during rush hour.

The research also showed that commuters often shy away from switching to other mobility services for fear of unclear costs, like in the case of radius restrictions as part of car-sharing services. If alternative offers are to be listed and finally booked, users want time and costs to be displayed at a glance and even complicated cost variants to be explained in a comprehensible way, even in the event of exceeding the travel time.

Current mobile phone tariffs with sufficient data volume have lowered the inhibition threshold of downloads for apps, even on the move, the research shows. More than half of the 500 research participants (59%) reported that they would like to be suggested alternative modes of transport in the app of their transport company – even if the subsequent use of these would result in the installation of further apps.

About the test group

The interviewees were between 21-55 years old and regularly use a smartphone and mobile public transport apps. They were all in possession of a class B driving license. 50% of the respondents were holders of a subscription or time card at a public transport authority or company. Equal numbers of male and female participants from all over Germany were surveyed.

In the area of multimodality, it was investigated to what extent people are willing to make use of multimodal services while travelling, what factors influence their choice and how their willingness to pay for such services is to be assessed.