Intermodal Services

One last area of interest that we’d like to address is the area of intermodal services, i.e. services that combine several different means of transportation over the course of a single journey. One idea, for example, is to provide customers with a unified interface for their journey, even if this journey includes multiple different means of transport, such as using both a shared car and a train ride. This unified interface includes navigation and ticketing services. Extensions of the basic service include bonus systems aimed at integrating retail partners.

These kinds of services will become increasingly interesting, because they combine multiple perspectives, not least that of the connected vehicle and the smart city. What will also be interesting to observe is the way different stakeholders will position themselves in this space. For example, Daimler not only initiated the Car2Go car-sharing service, it also launched an intermodal service through its Moovel platform that helps customers to optimize their route planning using different types of transport such as Car2Go car sharing, bike sharing, public transport, and taxi suppliers. The customer is given different smartphone apps and a web portal that allows them to quickly configure each step of their multi-step journey, including reservation of Car2Go cars.

Naturally, the OEM´s interest here is to get more customers to use their car-sharing service. From a smart city perspective, this might not always be the best approach. For a smart city, a better approach would be to optimize traffic flow, and avoid increasing inbound traffic during peak morning periods, for example. So, from a multi-modal perspective, the expectations and optimization criteria for OEMs are completely different from those of the smart city. It will still be interesting to see how these kinds of multimodal services will evolve. The flexibility created by the emergence of the connected vehicle and new, connected car-sharing services especially could well play a major role in the evolution of multimodal transportation.