5 core functions of a people movement platform
There are a lot of moving parts involved in people transport management, figuratively and literally:
- Stakeholders: On a daily basis, transportation providers coordinate with drivers, passengers, and brokers.
- Planning: Managing trips commissioned by multiple brokers, working around driver schedules and optimizing routes all requires precision synchronization.
- Execution: Last-minute route additions, unforeseen roadway complications, inclement weather and other extraneous factors demand reflexiveness.
- Billing: While all of the above is happening, providers are expected to track their spending and appropriately bill brokers.
Out of a need to bring order to this chaos, many providers have turned to an up-and-coming class of digital resource known as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). This booming market has significant potential to streamline people movement, regardless of whom you’re transporting (students, taxi customers, Medicaid/care patients, etc.).
Specifically, a strong MaaS solution will provide the following core features:
1. Multi-source trip management
For most providers, trips will trickle in from multiple funding sources (e.g., transit agencies, brokers, etc.). Each of those sources may leverage a different trip management platform or utilize a separate method of communicating those requests. Consequently, trip management becomes somewhat fragmented over various tools and communication channels.
A strong people movement platform accounts for every trip, regardless of its source in a single platform, either by integrating with other digital resources or by making it easy to log new requests. By making all trips viewable through one easy-to-use web interface, providers gain access to a single point of truth for transport management.
2. Dispatching and route planning
Uncertainty is pervasive in people movement. In the middle of the day, a new stop might be added if an NEMT passenger needs to fill a prescription at a pharmacy. Alternatively, a passenger might expect a call when they’re ready for their return trip; how do you ensure a driver will be ready to pick up that passenger? Not to mention, cancelations are common in this industry – the elimination of one stop can leave a driver idle, which isn’t the best use of anyone’s time.
Dispatchers know the city and environment they work in, and they have a good sense of which drivers will be where, and when. But with MaaS, this information is intuitively visualized. With everything you need right in front of you, it’s much easier to plan routes and develop contingencies in an efficient manner.
3. Automatic vehicle location
On a normal day, dispatchers will call drivers multiple times to find out where they are. With automatic vehicle location (AVL), those calls are moot, because dispatchers can see not only the vehicles’ real-time location but also the location of the people being transported. This makes it easy to calculate an ETA and automatically assign trips to the right driver based on his or her location.
Furthermore, each driver will receive a color based on status (on-time, delayed) and availability. This means dispatchers are kept in the loop every second of every day.
4. Driver-facing app
In many cases, drivers will receive a paper manifest documenting the day’s trips, which doesn’t help them if they run into traffic or a trip gets canceled. Comparatively, MaaS gives drivers a real-time interface that updates throughout the day.
On the other end, the transportation providers have a way to keep tabs on the driver. How can a dispatcher handle exceptions, after all, if they don’t know where the driver is?
5. Billing management
Last but not least, whether you’re a taxi driver, an NEMT provider or a ride-share service, you need to track trip times, the amount of gas used during those trips and the cost to pay a particular driver for billing purposes.
A robust people movement platform records all of that information in real time but also integrates with contracts and SLAs to automatically generate billing estimates the moment a trip is completed.
More money, more problems? Not anymore.