Findings of the multimodal transportation pilot with the Cowlines app released; massive savings of CO2 emissions and other key learnings
VANCOUVER, BC - Greenlines Technology, Inc (Greenlines), makers of the Cowlines app, released today the report with the preliminary findings of their beta program across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. The beta program was an invite-only beta phase that lasted during the month of March with selected individuals from across the region.
David Oliver, Greenlines' CEO and Co-founder declared: "We launched a private beta to measure the level of interest from key stakeholders, as well as weight the potential of our multimodal platform. We've seen a great level of interest from both governments, transit agencies, private organizations and individuals. The results speak for themselves - multimodal transportation is one of the most cost effective ways to shift people away from private vehicles, helping reduce GHG emissions, congestion and improve people's lives. We're now ready to allow everyone to use it for free, starting in Metro Vancouver."
“I’m blown away. I think it will have a positive impact on the environment”.
- Andrea Reimer, Councillor City of Vancouver and leader of the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan
Greenlines allowed users to test the iOS app in the Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley region integrating real-time information from with regional public transit agencies, bike sharing (mobi bikes), car sharing (Modo car coop), and taxis. During a four-week period, Greenlines invited users to sign up to test the app while traveling around the region. The results of the beta and some key learnings are listed in the following pages.
Greenlines launched an invite-only private beta from March 5th to March 31st. During this four-week period, anyone visiting the app's site www.cowlines.com was able to sign up for free and receive an invite via email to download the Cowlines app in testing mode.
The primary goal of the private beta program was to validate the functionality of the app, understand user behaviour and obtain preliminary data as to how people move around the city. Overall, we achieved these goals while regularly improving and updating the platform and the Cowlines app.
Over 400 individuals signed up to test our app. The rate of sign ups accelerated exponentially over the course of the month once the word of mouth started, and has only continued to expand after March 31st.
Of the 400 participants, it included users from 37 organizations, including representatives from:
7 Canadian Municipalities
4 Transit Agencies
2 Federal Agencies
4 Economic Development Institutions
3 International Organizations
1 Political party
3 Venture Capitalists
3 leading Universities
3 Bike and EV Organizations
7 Major Private Companies
During the month of March, Greenlines encouraged users to use the app by creating a simple contest. The top users with the highest logged mileage received a MEC gift card. These are the winners of the Beta Contest. Congratulations!
“Cowlines’ seamless integration of bike-share and transit should prove most useful for our members visiting Vancouver from elsewhere in BC.”
Richard - BC Cycling Coalition
The private beta program helped Greenlines develop a deep understanding of how people move around the city, and critical needs that would ultimately allow users go car-free. These learnings came from both the data collected as well as customer feedback.
People moves a lot
The average traveling distance among beta users was 12.6km, while the average traveling time was over 30 minutes. Some users reported commuting distances of over 35km!
52% CO2 savings vs private vehicles
Users saved 52% of CO2 emissions compared to equivalent private vehicle trips. More importantly, the average user reduced its carbon footprint by 2 kg CO2 per trip!
People are hungry for choices
No transport mode showed clear preference, but users requested (even) more providers. The rate of signups to the beta program accelerated exponentially once the word got out.
Multimodal transportation rocks
Combining different transport modes (e.g. taxi & bus, bikeshare & bus, etc) regularly delivered up to 30% faster traveling times than single-mode apps.
The status quo is not okay
Users indicated that existing transportation options across the region are unsustainable. Private vehicles and public transit can’t solve the mobility challenge by themselves, thus combining forces among all providers ‘just makes sense’.
People move in unexpected ways
People’s movements around the city do not necessarily fit regular patterns; trips are many times unexpected and unpredictable, which makes transportation planning extraordinarily complex.
People want to go car-free
Users reported using their private vehicle less often once they were aware of their transport options. Others were actively looking to get rid of their cars, or to become a single-car family.
(Open) Data is everything
We are able to provide users with transport options thanks to our partners. More is needed, both in terms of providers sharing their data as well as better data, to enable new services, or enhance existing ones.
Transportation is deeply personal
Every user's needs are unique (e.g. price-sensitive, disabled, active lifestyle, etc). Users requested even more route choices, and to be able to fully customize their trips.
Visitors need directions too!
Vancouver’s more than 10 million tourists and newcomers require easy access to the different existing transportation options, making Cowlines a key tool to enable the freedom of movement.
Privacy is a must
Users indicated that privacy is rightly a primary concern. Cowlines only collects the necessary anonymized data to provide the service to users, and users appreciate that.
BETA PROGRAM RESULTS
NOTE: The Cowlines Beta Program ran from March 5th to March 31st across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Canada. A private invite-only program was put in place to limit the number of users and ensure a controlled environment to test the performance of the app and Greenlines’ system. Greenlines Technology has made every effort to ensure accuracy of the information presented in this report. No private user information was collected to produce this report.
Transport mode share by distance
Total CO2 emissions per transport mode
Average speed (km/h)
Greenlines is deeply grateful for the support received from both public and private institutions, not only in British Columbia but across Canada and the world. Governments around the world have identified multimodal transportation as one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce both congestion and emissions in cities. At the Federal level, the Smart Cities Challenge is a prime example of the vision and efforts our government is investing in providing its citizens with a better quality of life. Also, across the world, the European Commission recently named 2018 the “Year of Multimodality”, and the British Parliament launched an inquiry to explore “Multimodal transport solutions”.
Over the next months, Greenlines plans to expand its coverage across the US & Canada with over 250 integrated transportation providers, providing millions of people across the continent with the transportation choices they need to get there faster, save money, and minimize their carbon footprint. We couldn’t be more excited about the next steps!