• How can Darmstadt’s public transport and new on-demand services complement each other? Darmstadt wants to be prepared for the future of mobility. For this reason, the city commissioned PTV Transport Consult to develop various service concepts in order to demonstrate the potential and effects of mobility as a service.

Project description

  • Darmstadt has an attractive public transport system with tram and bus lines. Would it make sense to complement these services with new flexible on-demand services? Should the public transport system be replaced within selected areas at certain hours? Various supply scenarios were simulated and the respective demand potential was estimated on the basis of a PTV Visum model. The PTV MaaS Modeller was used to plan the routes and calculate the operational KPIs.  

  • Impact on traffic and transportation
    • There were widely varying scenarios and effects. On the one hand, the scenarios revealed that it is possible to avoid driving in urban areas, but on the other hand, on-demand vehicles generate considerable traffic, depending on the pooling factor that can be achieved.

      Based on these effects, it is important to create appropriate service areas in order to be able to reduce the overall traffic volume. We analysed the traffic situation with services covering the city centre – one scenario with and another one without pedestrian zone, including various last-mile concepts. Moreover, different planning parameters and constraints were examined in order to assess the respective impacts.

  • Fare policy
    • The fare policy, which means the rates for on-demand services in relation to the public transport fare system, is of particular importance. The level of parking fees in the service areas also plays a major role. However, demand must not be constrained and kept too low by regulatory or fare-related measures. This would reduce the pooling factor, which in turn would weaken the traffic relief effect and reduce the system’s economic efficiency. With the help of simulation, these effects can be well assessed, and the advantages and disadvantages of the scenarios evaluated quantitatively.

  • Ecological effects
    • The study was carried out as part of Darmstadt’s Green City Plan. Its aim was to assess the environmental relief effect. For this purpose, emission calculations were carried out in accordance with HBEFA (Handbook on Emission Factors from Road Traffic) The impact on the level of emissions was positive. However, these effects were mainly due to the fact that electric minibuses were used for on-demand transport, which do not produce any local emissions. This can be an interesting option for cities, especially for busy city centres. Further thought could be given to electrically operated on-demand services as part of a general prioritisation concept for low-emission vehicles in inner-city areas.

      On-demand services for the last mile can strengthen public transport, while offering an ecologically sustainable solution. Here, too, the level of demand pooling plays a significant role in reducing the negative impact on traffic and the environment and ensuring efficient operation.  

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