Shotl helps improve mobility in Japan

Kawasaki is a densely populated suburban town near Tokyo. Here, as in many of the cities in Japan, there is a need to improve citizens’ quality of life, especially elders, by providing a first/last-mile transit solution for trips to hospitals and shops.

With this challenge in mind, the City Council, ITOCHU Techno-Solutions (CTC), a local transport operator, and Shotl joined forces to launch a pilot test for an on-demand sustainable transportation alternative in a hilly area full of winding streets. With this layout, Kawasaki was the perfect location to test Shotl’s on-demand mobility solution. The pilot started at the end of February and is ongoing. The project places the focus on people, so the ultimate aim is for demand-responsive transport (DRT) technology to meet their needs and make public transport more user-friendly and competitive.

Two vehicles serve the area, offering “ride now” and “scheduled ride” options. Shotl’s SaaS algorithms constantly optimize all passenger bookings and vehicle routes to provide the best possible service for all users. Even though the operation has a door-to-door setting, passengers can also request pick-up or drop-off at any of the seven special virtual stops outside the area, including Nakanoshima Station, Inageya Kawasaki Nakanoshima supermarket, OK Ikuta supermarket, and nearby bus stops.

The pilot test will run for several weeks and operate from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm on weekdays. The area was selected as it has an aging population and no bus routes and was, therefore, in need of alternative, sustainable transportation. Mr. Mochizuki, President of Ikuta Yamanote Residents’ Association, said, “We have been considering other means of transport, such as community buses, and there are many requests for access to shopping and hospitals.”

Residents of Kawasaki can find more information about the service on a specially created website. Now, they too have a chance to discover how demand-responsive bus services are revolutionizing urban mobility across the globe.

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