Race for best multi-modal mobility app is on
While local JoynJoyn sheds its skin to become ‘Jeasy’ in Brussels and Namur, and ‘Smart Ways to Antwerp’ (Slim naar Antwerpen) is adding personalized advice in the race for the best multi-modal mobility app, the shadow of Google is glooming. Google Maps is going flat out for multi-modal in 30 countries worldwide, it announced last week.
JoynJoyn, created by a Belgian cooperative in September 2018, aimed at integrating all the mobility solutions and services in one app for Brussels, and Namur as a second city. The mobility assistant helps users to visualize in real-time the best mobility options available. The ambition reaches further than those two cities though, even to go European.
Changed into Jeasy
But apparently JoynJoyn didn’t sound right for that; hence the name is changed now into ‘Jeasy’. To become the public’s favorite, the app needs to take into account the personal preferences of the user, including his own car, bike or other private means of transport, Sébastien Cumel, CEO of the start-up explains.
The challenge is to include the total offer of mobility solutions – which are changing almost day by day – with those private transport means. To do that, you need to crunch big data in real time and use artificial intelligence (AI) to make the process more efficient.
The intelligence Jeasy found in a partnership with professor Hugues Bersini, co-director of the AI-lab Iridia at the Brussels ULB University. “Multi-modality requires a fast and efficient search by optimizing algorithms through ever-changing and massive amounts of data,” Bersini says. “Artificial intelligence also allows to archive extensive user data and use it to offer that user more appropriate mobility solutions.”
All this costs money, so Jeasy managed to raise another 525.000 euros with its investors, like finance.brussels, Be Angels business members, Securex and the investment fund of Bruno Vanderschueren, co-founder of energy supplier Lampiris, now owned by Total.
Smart Ways to Antwerp
At the other side of Belgium, Antwerp is investing in ‘Smart Ways to Antwerp’ multi-modal app too. Several options were added, including an individual user profile that allows getting personalized mobility solutions served. All options that include tickets to be bought now have direct links to buy those tickets.
The new mobility map on the website includes all transport means in the vicinity of a location you searched for, going from shared Velo city bike stations to tram and bus stops over car sharing to charging points for electric cars.
Google Maps goes multi-modal
Everybody is sparing no trouble or expense to court the favors of the user. But a dark shadow is glooming for all these local players. Somebody well equiped and having deep pockets to seduce the user is internet giant Google, that with it’s free Google Maps is one of the few players able to go global.
Last week it announced to expand the multi-modal capabilities of Google Maps in the next months in 30 countries worldwide, including all kinds of local transport means. It will propose not only routes by car, train, bus, bicycle or on foot, but also alternatives by ride-hailing services like Uber’s or the bicycles of Lyft telling you on the fly how much this will cost you.
Beginning this summer, Google added in the US also transit crowdedness predictions, indicating how crowed your train, tram, bus, or metro will be. Buying train tickets directly within the app is not an option yet, but it is, for instance, in some areas like Denver possible with the Uber app, another big competitor that wants to go multi-modal. The race is on.