New mobility: French firms making sense of data

With single occupancy vehicles representing more than 80% of the trips, generating congestion, pollution and impacting global warming, the French Agency for the environment and Energy Efficiency (ADEME) is willing to promote modal shift and new mobility uses. How? By supporting innovative projects through its ‘Investing for the Future Program (PIA)’.

The problem with viewing new mobility almost exclusively through the lens of technological revolution is that people have overlooked the crux of the subject: what matters most isn’t the degree of technical prowess, but rather the ability to offer the most suitable solutions to meet the mobility needs of the French population. ADEME holds the view that the mobility of tomorrow will only be made possible by finely analyzing the journeys people make. And no single vehicle, whatever its technological merits, can fulfill all the travel needs – short, long, planned, unforeseen – of a family: going to work, doing the school run, heading off for the weekend or crossing the country for the summer vacation. Electric bikes, car sharing, carpooling, public transit, rental, taxi, walking and black car services must all coexist intelligently to offer each French person the right means of transportation at the right time and at a fair price.

In the aim of helping firms to develop innovative solutions that fulfil the needs of the French population, ADEME provides financial support and expertise to help trigger changes in citizens’ travel patterns. “Under the PIA program, we selected projects that more closely observe the needs and habits of the French with regard to mobility,” explains Sophie Garrigou, PIA innovation funding manager at ADEME. “Our aims are to develop transportation modes and services that match the needs of the French, innovate in mobility to improve energy efficiency and fight air pollution.”

Want an example? Take the m2i project (standing for Integrated Mobility in Ile-de-France, the Paris region –, which in September 2017 won the support of ADEME as part of the PIA scheme. The project is jointly supervised by transit authority Ile-de-France Mobilités and operator Transdev, and delivered by a group of organizations comprising Cityway, Autoroutes Trafic, Phoenix ISI, SPIE, Engie Ineo, Renault, PSA and Liris. M2i leverages vast amounts of road data and converts them into strategic indicators. “Five years from now, our digital platform will be able to process 10 billion items of mobility data per day in Ile-de-France, for the benefit of users, local authorities and transportation operators,” explains Jean Coldefy, an independent specialist. “This will offer Paris region inhabitants a predictive multimodal GPS system in the form of a simple app to download on their cellphone,” he adds. With this application, they will be able to select their means of transportation according to journey time and cost criteria. Local authorities, meanwhile, will benefit from an extremely precise mobility observatory, a valuable tool to develop a service offering in tune with riders’ needs. Finally, transportation operators will receive reliable information to optimize how they manage their lines. With ADEME providing €2.4 million of financial support, this project brings together about ten public and private sector partners to multiply the sources of information and ultimately provide extremely reliable data.