Who uses MOIA, how and why? A long-term study on the effects of ridepooling

Already at the start of our ridepooling service in Hamburg in 2019, we set up the largest long-term study on ridepooling in Europe to gain insights into the use and users of our new mobility service and to analyse the traffic effects of ridepooling on an urban transport system.

A lot has happened since 2019. Since the beginning of 2023, we have been operating our service in Hamburg under a new concession as a self-operated scheduled on-demand service and thus as part of the Hamburg public transport system. With the new licence, our services have also changed. These include, among other things:

  • the integration of wheelchair-accessible vehicles into the ridepooling operation,
  • the expansion of the business area into districts that have so far been less closely served by public transport,
  • as well as harmonization with the local public transport tariff in Hamburg..

The aim of these service adjustments is to link MOIA's ridepooling service more closely with local public transport and thus strengthen multimodality and the overall system. The expansion of our service and the tariff dovetailing are made possible in part by the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport in the funding project "On the Way to the Hamburg Takt".

Scientific monitoring of the service adjustments by a renowned consortium

To better understand the impact of our service adjustments, MOIA is conducting a research project in collaboration with a consortium of renowned scientific and private institutions. It consists of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), the Berlin Institute for Technology Transfer (BIT GmbH) and the Berlin start-up Replan GmbH. The tasks are clearly distributed: Replan specialises in developing software for agent-based simulations to help cities and mobility providers develop better mobility services. BIT GmbH is a spin-off of several Berlin universities. The research team led by Prof. Dr. Kai Nagel (TU Berlin) is responsible for the simulation methodology. The team from the Institute for Transport Planning and Systems (IVT) at ETH Zurich, led by Prof. Dr. Kay Axhausen, is responsible for the two surveys and evaluation. In the coming years, the partners will support us in better understanding the effects of our service adjustments and scientifically accompany the further development of our ridepooling service.

What we want to know

The aim of the accompanying research is to understand who our customers are, why they use MOIA and how or whether their usage behaviour changes as a result of the new service. We will also analyse the impact of MOIA on the overall mobility system and how we can further strengthen public transport. For this purpose, the consortium will conduct comprehensive two-stage surveys of MOIA users and non-users to collect socio-demographic characteristics and behavioural data. These will be fed into a multi-agent model of the Hamburg metropolitan region, which can simulate the mobility of the entire population. With the help of the model, every mode of transport choice can be reproduced in detail and the effect of MOIA on mobility in and around Hamburg can be estimated.

First results: Who uses MOIA, how and why

The results of our current initial surveys show that the socio-demographics of MOIA users have hardly changed in the past three years. In detail, this means: 

  • The proportions of women (52 per cent) and men among the users are almost the same.
  • MOIA is a service for young and old: more than a third of the users are over 50 years old.
  • 40 per cent of MOIA users have a monthly ticket for public transport.
  • 15 percent of users travel with MOIA in intermodal trip chains in combination with public transport. However, the majority of these journeys are combined with long-distance transport.
  • The users are very satisfied with the new offer and occasionally integrate ridepooling into their everyday mobility, mainly for leisure-related trips. However, every fifth trip is related to a professional activity.
  • MOIA is also used for health-related trips such as doctor's appointments. Even though it accounts for a comparatively small share of about 2 percent of all trip purposes, it is an exciting result from the survey, as it was not actively asked about.

Implications beyond Hamburg

With our long-term study, we not only want to analyse the impact of our ridepooling service, but thereby also ensure that it contributes to a sustainable and inclusive urban transport system. At the same time, the results can serve as a basis for the development of similar services in other cities and contribute to the ongoing debate on the role of new mobility services in urban transport.

We are excited to see how our service with the new adaptations will be received by our customers in the long run and will keep you informed about the results here in our blog.