SCP E79: Smart Shared Mobility, with Alex Girard

SmartCommunityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode79 Alex Girard

 

In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I have a really great conversation with Alex Girard, the CTO of Liftango. Alex tells us about his background and what he’s passionate about, and also what a Smart City means to him. We also talk about what’s happening in France and Australia in terms of transportation as a pillar for society, and the differences between the two. Alex then shares about what Liftango does, including carpooling and on-demand bus solutions. We then talk about how open data is a means of integrating across the different disciplines. We finish up talking about while the spotlight is on EVs and AVs, electric and autonomous vehicles, we need to start talking about how they fit into the shared mobility space. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Alex’s background creating ride sharing apps and how that led him to being involved with Liftango
  • What a Smart City means to Alex and why he believes it’s so important
  • The similarities and differences between Australia and France in their approach to public transportation
  • The two main projects Alex is currently working on with Liftango
  • How Liftango came to be, and how the two solutions work
  • The importance of open data for enabling integration and collaboration across different disciplines
  • The opportunities and challenges of the emerging Smart Mobility space

Quotes:

“A Smart City is a concept that is a series of ways to tackle and/or use technologies for more behaviours that are born from them, and to reuse them in a way that is way more efficient.”

“The obvious enabler that Liftango is leveraging is the Smart phones and the hyper-connectivity that came with it.”

“The concept of Smart Cities is going to provide a new vertical for cities to [solve] some of their problems such as congestion, such as parking issues, such as pollution, using existing or at least maturing infrastructure and maybe improving a little bit on them.”

“Compared to Europe and more specifically to France, I think Australia has something that is unique, because when we look at cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, it’s low density. Compared to a city like Paris, where the buildings are actually quite high, Sydney is actually spreading, so it’s not an easy comparison but I think Australia is doing great work to improve on their transportation, especially the public system…and that’s exactly what France is doing as well because we share some of the same beliefs that transportation is a pillar for society and [that it’s important] to give everyone the same chance.”

“[Sydney is] looking at innovative ways to solve the problems of congestion and also their kind of unique challenges in terms of geography, with the bays, the bridge.”

“Looking at the stats, Australians prefer to drive their own car [because it’s convenient] but it’s actually causing some drama [with congestion] nowadays. So things need to change and I think Smart Phones with internet is providing a very good platform to plug some good solutions such as carpooling, on demand buses and also some parking solutions, and reducing the number of cars on the road.”

“The [Liftango] car pooling solution, also known as corporate rideshare, allows any organisation—such as universities, hospitals and large businesses—to set up their own private network where every employee, staff or student will exclusively carpool with one another, thereby guaranteeing some security. We incentivise this behaviour by leaving some rewards and also locating bays in car parks.”

“[The founders of Liftango] were struggling with commuting and thought ‘there must be an app for this,’ but there wasn’t… So Kevin decided to solve this problem.”

“We select the top 10 of each company and distribute some prizes such as fuel vouchers. This way, not only do we increase engagement, but also we make sure that people actually have a good time.”

“[Data] is crucial. Data is driving decisions and with the data we accumulate, we can actually make concrete decisions not just gut feeling kind of decisions and therefore you can back up any kind of initiative with data analysis.”

“We need to create bridges between those disciplines and government agencies…The obvious one is open data, and by that I mean giving people and agencies the access to some of your data, if you’re an agency or business working in the Smart City environment.”

“I believe that it’s really hard to anticipate what other [agencies] will need, therefore you’re better off opening your [data] as much as you can to the rest of the world and let them pick whatever they believe is useful for them.”

“In our [Liftango] case I believe that the autonomous vehicle is the one that will compound very nicely with our solution.”

“Any transporation network companies, like Uber and GoCatch, make it more affordable to travel around but it’s also creating congestion, so unless we start having some shared mobility companies and to reduce the number of cars I think it’s an issue.

“I think the public transport system is ripe for an update and that’s where we [Liftango] intend to play a part. [People] are not talking enough about it, I’m sure.”

Connect:

Connect with Alex via LinkedIn or email him alex@liftango.com

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.