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Dynamic transportation networks, imagined: See what’s possible

  •   2 min read

Use this tool to design and build an on-demand public transport network, selecting your fleet size, passenger demand, vehicle capacity, and more.

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Jump to the tool

Introducing our toy model that can help bring microtransit to life: the on-demand microtransit builder. By identifying the main considerations a transport operator or agency usually asks before investing in microtransit, our team created a simplified modeling tool, animating a fleet of on-demand vehicles. To get a glimpse at what your community’s transportation could look like with on-demand technology, adjust your fleet size, vehicle capacity, level of demand, and more.

First, the basics. Let’s dive in. 

Let’s start with the simplest scenario: Sam wants to go to the grocery store, so he hails a ride. Sam is picked up, dropped off, and the vehicle proceeds to pick up its next passenger, Violet. Wait a minute — Sam and Violet are headed in the same direction. Why can’t they ride together?

Microtransit makes this trip more efficient by allowing Sam and Violet to share their ride.

Check out the routes below. The lighter circles represent pickup locations; the darker ones are dropoff locations. On the left, Sam and Violet each ride on their own. On the right, the algorithm pairs them in the same vehicle, and since they’re headed in the same direction, everyone wins:

  1. Violet is picked up and dropped off sooner than if she had ridden solo. 
  2. Serving both rides with one vehicle rather than two means less traffic, and produces half the emissions.
  3. Sam and Violet’s trips are less expensive because they share. The only cost to Sam is a slight deviation from the most direct path. 

Ta-da! More efficient rides. 

Imagine the massive impact of these little efficiencies, multiplied to scale, pooling not just Sam and Violet, but many people headed in similar directions. Using the tool below, you can see what a basic on-demand microtransit service could look like at various supply and demand levels, with representative limits on detours and vehicle capacities.

Your fleet, your rules.

  • Supply: How many vehicles are in your fleet? 
  • Capacity: How many usable seats do you want on each vehicle? 
  • Demand: How many requests do you expect potential riders to make? Naturally, we want to be able to serve as many ride requests as possible.

So, how’d you do?

Based on the choices you made when exploring the models, did you learn anything about how they affected the service? Here are a few things to consider:

  • Wait time: How long did passengers have to wait for a ride given the level of demand and number of vehicles in your fleet
  • Rides served: How many people who requested a ride were given an option that they accepted, and then completed? 
  • Utilization (rides per vehicle hour): How efficient was your use of vehicles?

Now that you’ve scratched the surface, ready to learn more? Using Via’s proprietary transportation modeling engine ViaViewer, we can work together to simulate a real microtransit deployment in your city. Combined with your knowledge of your community and our experience powering the most rides in the industry, we can build a real-world microtransit network that works.

Let’s start building.

50% % Served
50% % Unserved
0 Rides served
50% Riders / Van hours

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