Providing Sustainable Mobility for All Through Open Innovation: The Case of Hopping.De
39th World Congress of the International Institute of Sociology, Yerevan, Armenia, June 11-14, 2009
Posted: 31 Jul 2010
Date Written: June 11, 2009
National and transnational mobility is a basic need for today’s citizens. People have an increasing demand for mobility both privately and for work. This is, besides other reasons, due to internationalisation of businesses and jobs, increased cultural exchange, and the related fragmentation of families, and other parts of personal networks (Hay, 2005). At the same time, mobility is a great challenge in times of demographic change, energy shortages, environmental issues, increasing divide between rich and poor, and economic downturn – both in developed and developing countries. 'Sustainable Mobility for All', thereby, aims at providing affordable mobility for all citizens, rich and poor, old and young, disabled and healthy, and urban and rurally located, whilst minimizing environmental harm caused by resource consumption and emissions. However, such aims probably cannot be met solely by existing public and private transportation services, neither by individual transportation. This is because they are either scarce, due to limited funding for public transportation, or because personal incomes do not allow for private transportation services or individual mobility. In order to improve this situation and to satisfy the rising demand for mobility, all existing 'mobility resources' need to be used much more efficiently. For the latter capacity utilisation plays an important role, which was already considered in public and private transportation services in the past (Lasch et al., 2005). In contrast until to date individual transport remained largely distinct from such developments. This is also true for car sharing (e.g. Belz, 2001, 2004), which only addresses shared (resource) ownership, but neglects shared mobility in the use phase. Still, one promising approach for higher capacity utilisation in individual mobility is ridesharing, a concept first developed in the mid 1950ies (Hartwig & Buchmann, 2007). This concept is experiencing an immense renaissance in the age of web 2.0 communities and technologies like, for example, GPS-powered smart phones (Walbridge, 1995; Hartwig & Buchmann, 2007). The principle of ridesharing is as simple as effective: A person planning a long distance trip by car offers one or more free seats in his or her car. People seeking to travel apply for a seat and pay a small financial contribution to the travelling cost at the end of the travel. Even though a large (semi-official) market of people interested in ride sharing exists (Buske, 2009), to date, however, ride sharing remains a rather inefficient, intransparent, and underutilised mode of transportation. We argue that this due to the inability of leveraging local knowledge of users, missing interaction tools, and the absence of adequate security mechanisms. To overcome these challenges and to build a 'mobile community for all' In order to solve these challenges, we propose the strategy of open innovation.
Keywords: sustainable mobility, open innovation
JEL Classification: L9, L91, L92, R4, R41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation