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Re-enchanting the car at a time of multi-modal transport

Home » Re-enchanting the car at a time of multi-modal transport

Spotiz simplifies parking in the city: faster, cheaper, more ecological!

Spotiz launched in January 2022. This Swiss application, available throughout the country, aims to contribute to the fluidity of personal transport within cities by simplifying access to parking spaces in the city.

The objective is to reduce the travel time of motorists in a political context of reduction of the place given to the car in the city centers.

Indeed, the concept of multi-modality is gaining momentum in transportation policies.

Multi-modality refers to the presence of several different modes of transport between two locations. For example, multi-modality between two cities refers to the existence of both a rail line and a highway.

In the field of transport policy, the multimodal approach increasingly refers to the desire to develop alternative transport chains to the road or to the use of private vehicles whose environmental impact is considered too negative.

Why are governments focusing on a multimodal vision of transport? Is this trend sustainable? How does Spotiz fit into this vision of the future of transportation?

I/ Multi-modality, a sustainable restructuring of individual transport

The development of the concept of multi-modality in public transport policies responds to an imperative: to fight against automobile traffic congestion. The latter is indeed a source of many inconveniences (see article) and has led public authorities to take action to structurally modify the distribution of transport modes used by urban dwellers.

Transport can be divided into three categories:

  1. Short-distance transport within city centers or neighborhoods
  2. Medium-distance transport between the inner suburbs and city centers.
  3. Long-distance transport between the periphery and city centers.

If the private car naturally triumphed in the first phase of urbanization, it is because it inherently has a double advantage:

  • Flexibility: the car is suitable for all three types of trips (and even for any type of trip).

  • Delegation: the car is the easy solution for public authorities. Each driver is responsible for his or her own trip, and the role of the state and local authorities is limited to building the urban infrastructure that is a prerequisite for the free expression of the flexibility benefits of the private car. Once these infrastructures are built, the role of the public disappears.

Thus, the private car seemed to be the perfect embodiment of the adequate means of transport, combining freedom for citizens and simplicity for the public authorities. The size of the French car fleet increased from 2.3 million in 1950 to 30 million registered vehicles in 1995. Nevertheless, the 1990s marked a break in the order of things.

The perception of the individual car gradually began to change among citizens. From an ideal of freedom, the car gradually became a constraint under the weight of the price of gasoline, the increasing costs of vehicles and the length of journeys.

The separation of workplaces from residential areas, which has been implemented since the 1970s in public land-use planning policies, has had visible negative effects on the quality of life of the inhabitants of suburbs and outlying areas. This population, which is now in the majority, depends on the car and the main traffic routes to get to work.

The negative effects are clearly identified:

  • Longer travel times cause stress, reduced sleep and increased costs for the driver.
    Traffic congestion in city centers causes air pollution and noise pollution for local residents.
    Real estate prices in city centers are exploding due to two effects: 1) the desire of households to move closer to the centers to limit the negative effects of automobile transportation 2) the multiplication of the use of land for parking (in Paris intra muros, the surface area of parking lots represents the size of the 13th arrondissement).

In addition to these causes, the ecological pressure against the use of cars will create a stigmatization of motorists, who are judged guilty of contributing to global warming through their transportation.
A cultural contrast is being forged between the inhabitants of the city center, with their so-called cleaner modes of transport (bus, bicycle) and the inhabitants of the suburbs who are dependent on cars. This contrast was perfectly illustrated in France during the Yellow Vests crisis.

Faced with these new constraints, public authorities have adapted their land-use planning policy in terms of public transport:

  • For short trips, bicycle lanes and bus lanes have been considerably expanded.
    For medium and long distance trips, large cities have developed new train, metro and streetcar stations to accommodate more passengers.

However, these policies remain largely imperfect:

  • Beyond the inner suburbs, the territorial network of train lines remains too weak to transport most of the population. In addition, the cost of transport is often uneconomic compared to the use of the private car.
    The price of parking in the inner suburbs is often prohibitive and not suitable for permanent daily use. Residents cannot afford to leave their car all day near the station and then go to their place of work by public transport.
    The cleanliness and safety of public transportation is a major deterrent for many users who prefer the stress of traffic jams, driving in the city, and finding a seat to the discomfort of public transportation that is often crowded during rush hour.

For all these reasons, the private car is not about to disappear as the primary mode of transport for users. A useful approach is therefore to make car travel more fluid for users for whom multi-modality is not feasible, economically sustainable or desirable.

In this perspective, Spotiz is a relevant solution to simplify the end of car trips.


II/ Spotiz, an opportunity for drivers.

As we have already said, the private car remains a constraint for a large number of people who do not have access to credible alternatives.

In addition, the rising price of gasoline is a strong constraint on the budget of these car-dependent households.

Spotiz helps these households to reduce the bill through:

  1. remuneration of parking space owners who make their spaces available to other users.
    the upstream reservation of spaces which reduces the final fuel bill for the user.

In addition, driving in congested, high-traffic environments is a stressor for motorists. Thanks to Spotiz, drivers can take away that stress and focus exclusively on the journey! By reserving your spot on Spotiz, you know right away where you’re going to park, and at what price.

Moreover, Spotiz was designed as a community application: the more you play the game and participate in making the application better for everyone, the more you are rewarded. 

Indeed, this is a great opportunity for drivers who are more sensitive to the values of mutual help and sharing.
Spotiz allows you to notify the presence of available spaces, to make your private parking spaces available, to invite friends on the application. If you multiply these types of actions, you will accumulate points that will give you advantages in your future use of the application.

Finally, if you own an electric vehicle, Spotiz will show you the charging stations available in real time: no more charging problems, you can drive with peace of mind thanks to Spotiz!

Spotiz has been designed to help you and to promote virtuous motorist behavior. We are only at the beginning of the adventure, but our ambition is already clear: to simplify the life of users thanks to a collaborative vision of relationships between individuals.

Want to know more?

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Read our article in the newspaper 20 min

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An app that will help you park but not only”