4 Reasons Why an Open Mobility Ecosystem is the Future

Cities are evolving faster than ever. With denser populations, increased congestion, and new modes of transportation such as scooters and dockless bikes, people and vehicles alike are having trouble finding space at the curb. It is estimated that New York drivers spend 107 hrs per year searching for parking, costing $4.3B in time, fuel, and emissions.1

To provide relief, integrated management of all modes of transportation is crucial.

Without a centralized platform, cities have to manage multiple systems for different parking applications, meters, and other parts of their mobility ecosystem, which feed into separate portals (Figure A). This creates an operational and management challenge for administrators.

decentralized mobility platform

Figure A: Multiple systems in disconnected data silos with complex integrations

The solution is to create an open mobility ecosystem via a series of APIs that meet in a centralized platform (Figure B).

centralized mobility platform

Figure B: Centralized management platform that aggregates all mobility information

This centralized management platform allows the city to:

  • Coordinate the existing environment: With this model, information is aggregated about each mode of transportation in their existing environment, including pricing and parking rules.
  • Execute parking transactions beyond traditional parking applications: A centralized rate engine and payments processor is also incorporated to integrate with public-facing applications such as navigation and lifestyle applications. This model can also extend to popular technologies beyond traditional parking apps (micro-mobility, ridesharing, commercial loading vehicles, etc).
  • Manage the mobility ecosystem with policies: A city can then implement mixed-use policies to digitally regulate and charge for all time spent at the curb, no matter what vehicles are parking there or how users choose to pay.

The result of this type of integration is the creation of an open mobility ecosystem. This can benefit the city in many ways:

  1. Improve curbside congestion
    Cities can securely analyze data about curb usage to predict who will need the space at what time and implement parking rules to support this. For example, the curb can be digitized to allow for deliveries in the morning, consumer parking in the afternoon, and ride-share parking in the evening.Administrators can also easily visualize and analyze activity data from new modes of mobility, including scooters and dockless bikes. By identifying trends in real time, curbside policy can be adjusted to distribute alternative modes of transport as first and last mile solutions from public transit and improve equity within the city.
  2. More effectively share parking rules
    By coordinating a city’s rules, rates and restrictions for all curbside transactions (traditional parking with meters, parking applications, or even using other types of applications to pay), systems can consume that information from a single source. Consistent articulation of these rules across all systems minimizes the regulatory impact of incorrect rates.
  3. Maximize revenue & lower costs
    A model like this empowers a city to create a multi-tenant environment where multiple applications and payment options are available. This improves convenience and encourages customers to pay digitally with applications. By doing so, a city can reduce its reliance on hardware to create a parking session and lower costs in the long term.In addition, this model allows a city to manage all parts of their mobility ecosystem from one place. This eliminates the need for multiple backend systems and optimizes administrative expenditure.
  4. Accelerate innovation
    An open ecosystem easily enables private companies to integrate with government organizations to bring innovative solutions to market faster. In the future, it becomes easier to add new payment methods or transportation modalities without new technology, processes, or procurements. This lays the foundation for what lies ahead in micro-mobility, ridesharing, commercial loading, and autonomous vehicles.

By engaging in an open mobility ecosystem model, cities can more efficiently power their ecosystem today and drive sustainable innovation for tomorrow.


1INRIX Parking, Searching for Parking Costs Americans $73 Billion a Year, July 2017