Smart mobility information refers to the collection of platforms and apps that provide information on the transport infrastructure of a city. This includes multimodal transport options, traffic & road safety conditions, and parking facilities.
These platforms address several challenges in city travel that commuters, transport planners, and operators face, aiming to enhance the experience and convenience of commuting by saving time, reducing congestion, and improving safety.
Transport planning apps, the hardest-hit; park and go apps bounce back to pre-pandemic levels by June 2021
Transport planning apps saw a 38.7% drop in usage, as of June 2021, compared with January 2020 due to reduced public transport usage caused by stay-at-home orders and the perceived risk of infection from using mass transportation.
While park and go apps were similarly impacted at the onset of the pandemic, with the easing of restrictions, app usage grew 6.2% by June 2021 compared with 2019.
Product updates and new services to provide Covid-19-related information
Optibus: Offered free licenses to its “Build Back Better” travel planning tool for companies and institutions impacted by the pandemic (July 2021).
Vivacity Labs: Was awarded a grant to develop a system that leverages its traffic information system to anonymously monitor adherence to social distancing measures via camera feeds in the UK (May 2020).
Accelerated demand for contactless travel leading to new product innovations and services
Smarking: Introduced SmartPass, a contactless parking access pass through which users can choose from a variety of flexible parking options (October 2021).
Flash: Introduced a free cloud-based valet parking solution for parking operators, allowing customers to make contactless payments (June 2021).
Micromobility witnessed renewed interest, creating demand for mobility information and services
Citymapper: Added 194 micromobility integrations in 2021 to its transportation planning app and introduced a turn-by-turn navigation feature with a focus on walking, cycling, and scooters.
Zoba, RideReport, and Populus: Startups specializing in micromobility information and management secured seed and early-stage funding in 2021.
Multimodal mobility management and parking inventory management platforms are the most popular segments. This may reflect the fact that they are provided on a B2B basis and typically follow a subscription-based model —a more stable revenue model compared with their B2C counterparts (transport planning apps as well as park and go apps), which follow a freemium or pay-per-use model. A number of incumbents from the automotive sector, along with traditional parking operators, also operate in this segment.
Traffic flow management systems are dominated by a few startups that have secured funding. Meanwhile, there are only a handful of disruptors in the road safety alert segment, with a number of them at an experimental stage. This may reflect the higher competition faced by satellite navigation systems (SatNav) and in-vehicle information systems , which also provide alerts on road safety and traffic conditions. The majority of disruptors across most segments are at an early stage of development , while many disruptors at the pre-seed/seed stage in the multimodal mobility management segment are focusing on emerging modes of transport like micromobility.
Based on the startups we have identified, multimodal mobility management is the highest funded segment. Via, a platform with a wide range of use cases, is the highest funded disruptor and is an outlier in terms of the volume and frequency of fundraising (accounting for ~68% of the segment’s funding). Several other startups such as Waze and Moovit, which raised significant funding, were subsequently acquired by established players like Google and Intel.
Most disruptors in the transport planning apps segment, such as Citymapper, compete against well-known mapping platforms like Google and Apple maps by offering purpose-built solutions for multimodal city transport. The segment is relatively fragmented and has faced challenges in terms of its revenue model. Some firms like Trafi have pivoted toward B2B solutions, while others like Citymapper, Transit, and Spotangels have introduced paid subscription-based models.
Similarly, the park and go apps segment features a large number of disruptors, with those that offer wide geographical coverage and a range of features having an edge over their peers. For instance, in 1H 2021, the top five most popular parking apps—Park Mobile, Passport, SpotHero, PayByPhone, and Arrive (formerly known as ParkWhiz)— accounted for 90% of the market share.
Early entrants to the traffic flow management segment INRIX and Miovision account for the lion’s share of the funding for traffic, while Waze, the most well-known road safety alert system, was acquired by Google in 2013.
MaaS Global is the developer behind Whim, a mobile transport planning app. The app is an all-in-one multimodal mobility app covering public transport, taxis, car rentals, ride-hailing, and micromobility including e-scooters and city bikes. By October 2021, the app had facilitated 20 million trips made via the app.
A key appeal of the app is the discounts and added benefits available to those who purchase season or serial tickets, including discounts on ride-hailing and micromobility services. In July 2018, less than a year after its launch, it reached one million trips taken with the Whim app, which doubled within three months, which is reflective of the app's appeal.
Key customers and partnerships
Since its public launch in November 2017 in Finland, the Whim app has grown the number of cities and counties it covers. It is available primarily in cities across Western Europe including in Finland, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, UK, and Japan. In March 2022, the firm entered the Latin American market via the acquisition of Quicko, a leading MaaS player, which operates in 100+ cities in Brazil with a user base of more than 500,000. In April 2022, the firm entered into a strategic partnership with Capitello Move to launch its Whim app in France in anticipation of the 2023 Rugby World Cup to be held there.
Funding and financials
In August 2021, the firm raised EUR 11 million (~USD 11.7 million) in Series B funding led by Vaudoise Assurances. The firm planned to use it to mitigate short-term impacts on the business due to Covid-19 and to further scale its operations in terms of its service offerings and global expansion.
Transport planning app:
Multimodal mobility management:
Road Safety alert:
Several global technology firms such as Google and Intel have entered the smart mobility information space via the acquisition of well-established startups . Tech firms hope to apply their artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to provide enhanced mobility-related solutions.
A few vehicle manufacturers including Volvo and Volkswagen have invested in this space with the intent of providing better services to their customers . They also hope to l everage data from connected vehicles to provide additional data and insights for traffic management and other mobility-related applications.
In terms of parking-related solutions, many well-established, large-scale “traditional” parking firms (firms that own parking real estate and typically use non-tech-based parking management techniques), such as Ace Parking and REEF, have developed in-house tech solutions. These include parking apps and cloud-based parking management platforms, which complement their industry expertise , helping them compete directly with startups in the smart parking segment.
With respect to mass transport such as buses and trains operated by public transport agencies, a number of them have developed smart mobility solutions either in-house (such as TFL Go, a mobility information app developed by Transport for London) or in partnership with third parties. As these are public entities, which have purpose-built these solutions for their specific requirements, they are excluded as competitors.
No investor data is available