Project to develop personalised and shared transport service gets underway

Issue date: 31 October 2016


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Bristol technology company Esoterix Systems has launched an Innovate UK funded project to develop a new transport service. Project partners include Bristol City Council, the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), Transport Systems Catapult, and First.

The Mobility on Demand Laboratory Environment (MODLE) will develop, test and refine a service that combines the convenience of point-to-point journeys with the environmental and cost benefits of shared use. Think of it as a taxi-bus, intelligently routed by real-time and predicted demand.

Key features of MODLE are that it will explore innovative business models to keep the cost of the service down and that it will integrate with existing public transport to make it easier to get from A to B sustainably.

“There is a lot of clever stuff behind the service to make it efficient but from the point of view of passengers it will simply collect them from near where they are and take them to where they want to go quickly, reliably and – crucially – at an everyday price,” said founder David Stewart.

“There's no benefit to passengers in duplicating existing public transport provision,” said David, whose company is based at Future Space located on UWE Bristol's Frenchay campus. “Our aim is to provide connections to scheduled rail or bus services as well as transport for journeys which are not well served by traditional public transport.” To do this, the project draws on the knowledge and expertise of its partners First Bus, UWE Bristol, Transport Systems Catapult, Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire County Council.

UWE Bristol's Professor Graham Parkhurst, an expert in sustainable mobility, emphasised the importance of the trial.

He said: “Recent years have seen a rise in the development of 'smarter' mobility solutions which draw upon information-communication technologies to provide more personalised and flexible transport services. However, not all these new services are integrated in the existing transport market. MODLE's innovative 'business model', applied in a way to support existing public transport services, holds the promise of not only providing a better service to travellers but also promoting more sustainable mobility.”

The project will start delivering commuter services in the notoriously traffic-troubled North Fringe of Bristol in early 2017, with expansion to other areas of the city later in the year.

If you work in the North Fringe area and are interested in being updated about the service, email hello@esoterix.co.uk

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