An alternative to the long daily commute, shared transport solutions allow employees to share trips to work with colleagues who are travelling in the same direction, to the same place. Shared commuting is changing the way that both employers and their workforce think about daily travel. The rise of the sharing economy has had a profound impact on the way we travel. Now, when it comes to transport, we expect to be able to use our smartphones to book a ride and have it show up at our door or local pick up point. This new era of mobility is being driven by technology, and today’s workforce is embracing its benefits in a big way.
As urban areas become denser, the need for better transportation infrastructure is becoming painstakingly apparent. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why shared transport services like the ones Zeelo provides are becoming ever more popular among consumers. From the beginning, our team has been committed to providing the most comprehensive shared transport solutions designed to meet the needs of our customers — and that’s still just as true today.
The transportation sector is on the verge of a technological revolution, driven by a variety of emerging new technologies that provide the necessary functions for advancing consumer interaction and satisfaction. Such innovations include real-time information flow between commuters and providers, artificial intelligence (AI) and smart algorithms, which allow for the rapid processing of data and automated system functions. This has led to an increase in shared mobility services being developed across the globe by companies such as Uber, Zipcar and of course, Zeelo.
These services have been created with the intention of making it easier for people to get from point A to point B without having a car or having to take public transit. They offer a cheaper option for commuters and afford businesses a wealth of additional benefits like scope 3 carbon emissions reduction and widening of recruitment pools.
Smart, Results-Driven Routing
Zeelo designs routes using RINA (Routing Intelligent Navigation Algorithm), a proprietary AI-powered software, and a customer-centric methodology to provide a service that surpasses the convenience of driving a car. We can collect and input anonymised geographic data to pinpoint underserved public transportation areas for employees and through assessing various demographic and travel to work patterns we can create practical timetables that adapt to suit changing and flexible work schedules. Proposition building of routes and services is then fed into our live operations and booking platform; Mission control, which then feeds location, ridership and operational data back into RINA for further optimisation. In essence we have this continuous stream of information perpetually sustaining itself.
Zeelo is able to use this captured data to determine “clusters” of employees or students and best determine the optimal location to create collection points (virtual bus stops). We also use this data to assess the availability of local public transportation and plot a maximum distance a user would need to travel from their homes to their nearest stop.
The greatest advantage of AI and machine learning is the potential to increase productivity and execute complex tasks that cannot be easily managed by human intervention alone. In terms of navigation, this involves monitoring real-time conditions with optimal route recommendations that support the driver in avoiding traffic and other road hazards.
The many route possibilities can add up very quickly. The number of permutations with just one car and ten stops could be in the millions. A fleet of five vehicles, however, increases that figure to a significantly more staggering number (we are talking in the quadrillions!). For this reason, computer algorithms and sophisticated heuristics that can swiftly reduce these varied possibilities are used to do the majority of route optimisation.
The amount of time and data needed to train AI models to accurately reflect reality is vast, and Zeelo’s internal product team will be hard at work sustaining and developing the system in the months to come to ensure we are constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved in the future with AI and machine learning.
“RINA, essentially, is the brain of Zeelo, an internal product that enables us to design and optimise our services through data. We are using artificial intelligence and machine learning to exponentially strengthen and evolve our service offering in a way we could never have imagined in its first iteration and we are very excited about some of the upcoming updates and changes we are making to the system”Benjamin Ledoux, Senior Product Manager here at Zeelo.
As heuristic algorithms continue to evolve, they will become ever more important in the field of transportation. By constantly improving route optimisation, they will help to ensure that transportation systems are as efficient and reliable as possible. This will ultimately benefit the riders who rely on public transport, making it a more dependable and affordable option for everyone and minimising exposure to traffic congestion and delays.
Route optimisation is a potent technology that can also help operators and, by extension, businesses cut their CO2 emissions dramatically. In a nutshell, it enhances passenger load factor, which means that fewer vehicles are needed on the road, lowers wasteful CO2 emissions brought on by traffic congestion, reduces total kilometres travelled, and provides the flexibility and knowledge needed to react to rapidly changing external circumstances; all significantly important factors when considering scope 3 carbon emission reduction at a corporate level.
We like to boast that for every time Zeelo provides a transportation alternative to 100 riders, 403 kg of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is reduced each day, amounting to 91 tonnes per year – the equivalent of planting 600 trees! But there is still so much more we can do!