Personalized Public Transportation: A Mobility Model and its Application to Melbourne
This paper explores a vision for urban and suburban transportation for cities such as Melbourne, Australia. Termed Personalized Public Transportation, it builds upon recent trends in vehicle sharing, electric vehicles, mobile payments and cloud computing. The goal is to build on the best of the worlds of private and public transportation. Private transportation offers ownership, comfort and convenience, but is higher cost, and subject to externalities (traffic jams, pollution, etc.). Public transportation is efficient, cheaper and has lower energy/carbon footprint, but usually has a last-mile problem (access) and low spatio-temporal coverage in suburbia. We envisage a future model of leasing public transportation via a service similar to cellphone services, where the user pays for convenience and sharing of a network. We describe the key design features inherent to this mobility model. The vehicular platform allows the entire fleet to be operated and managed via a cloud computing service in order to maximise convenience and minimise cost. A mathematical formulation to get a first order approximation of the benefits of Personalized Public Transportation shows that it is a promising approach for Melbourne, Australia - a 5% adoption can lead to a reduction in the overall cost of travel (relative to operating a private car) by over 4%, energy footprint by over 3%, and Carbon footprint by nearly 9%.