Every new technology creates its own language and not all terms are consistently used. Here are some common terms and their meanings. But be aware: the terms listed here might not be consistently used as described here. This glossary is also not meant to be set of academically correct definitions. It should just help to understand terms and abbreviations in articles not commonly know outside of the Transport and Mobility domain. Feedback and suggestions welcome using the comment function.
- Autonomous Vehicle (AV)
Vehicle which does not require a driver – or at least assists the driver depending on the level of automation.
- Car Pooling
Ride Sharing using cars. Common sub-types of Car Pooling are: Peer-to-peer (P2P) Ride Rharing. Taxi pooling, Hitch Hiking. Not to be confused with Car Sharing and Pool Cars.
- Car/Bike/Scooter Sharing
Offers access to self-driven vehicles provided and maintained by a fleet operator. Car Sharing is commonly referred to short-time car rentals as offered by companies like ZipCar, Share Now (Car2Go/DriveNow) or peer-to-peer car sharing companies like Getaround. There is no clear distinction between Car Sharing and rental cars. Sixt Share has even combined long and short-term car rentals into one offer.
- Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT)
A form of transport where vehicles adjust their routes and/or times based on a customer’s demand rather than using a fixed route and timetable. Depending on the allowed flexibility DRT systems allow door-to-door transport. DRT is commonly used for on-demand shared shuttle services.
- Electric Vehicle (EV)
Vehicle powered by electricity instead of a combustion engine. EVs may include battery-powered vehicles as well as fuel cell-powered vehicles using e.g. hydrogen as fuel. Sometimes also Hybrid Vehicles are also subsumed under EVs, which is not strictly meeting the definition. Only if powered with regenerative energy, EVs can be considered carbon-neutral in operations (not including production and disposal)
- Global Distribution System (GDS)
e.g. Amadeus, Sabre, Travelport
- Inter-modal Travel
Traveling using multiple means of transport during one trip, e.g. use your car to get to the airport, then take a plane, then a shared shuttle to the destination. Also see Multi-modal Travel.
- Hybrid Vehicles
Vehicles using multiple energy sources for propulsion. Common combinations are muscle power and battery-powered electric drives are Pedelecs or electric drives in combination with combustion engines for hybrid cars.
- Micro Transit / Mirco Mobility
Usually referred to as short distance transport on the Last Mile. It can include walking. Common services dedicated to micro mobility are bike and scooter sharing.
- Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
A system in which a range of mobility options are provided to customers as a service, i.e. tailored to their needs modes of transport, curated, managed and billed by a mobility service provider.
- Mobility Service Provider (MSP)
Public or private companies that deliver transportation services. Synonym to Transportation Service Provider (TSP)
- Mode of Transport
The way how people or goods get moved from A to B. Common modes of transport are walking, cycling, driving by car, bus, train, sending goods via trucks or ships or planes.
- Multi-modal Travel
Traveling which allows to select different means of transport for the same ride – but using only one means of transport per trip, e.g. either one time take a bike, next time a car, another time a bus. Also see Inter-modal Travel.
- Mode Split or Modal Split
This described the percentages of transportation types used. This usually refers to certain geographical areas or use cases, such as commuters in the Paris area.
- New Mobility
This is a buzzword describing new and upcoming mobility options and their combination into an integrated traffic system. Not everything labeled as “new” is really new, e.g. ride sharing is as old as the use of horses and buggies. New Mobility is sometimes also referred to as Smart Mobility, which emphasizes more on the use of IT systems to make it happen.
A bicycle where the rider’s pedaling is assisted by an electric motor.
- Peer-to-peer (P2P) Ride Sharing
Examples: Flinc, SAP TwoGo, BlaBla Car
- Pool Cars
Cars from a pool of cars, usually within a organization’s fleet
- Ride Hailing
On-demand chauffeured ride. This term is usually used for rides with TNCs like Uber or Didi although it could also be applied for any Taxi ride or DRT ride. Ride Hailing is NOT Ride Sharing! Usually you share the ride only with the driver, which is a chauffeured ride but not a shared ride as you don’t share it with other passengers. It can be combined with Ride Sharing in case the driver picks up passengers along the way, like with UberPool, CleverShuttle, IOKI or MyTaxi Match.
- Ride Sharing
Shared use of a vehicle. In the wider definition this can even be the shared use of a plane, train or bus. Common sub types are Car Pooling, and Taxi Pooling.
- Taxi Pooling
Shared cab in which the first passenger sets the direction and other passengers might join either the whole ride or parts of it. If passengers hop on or off during the ride, some taxi pooling systems allow for short detours.
- Transportation / Transport
Conveyance of passengers or freight from one place to another. To be distinguished from Mobility.
- Transportation Network Company (TNC)
Connects paying passengers via websites and mobile apps with drivers who provide transportation in noncommercial vehicles (e.g. Lyft, Uber, Ola, Grab, Careem, and Didi Chuxing)
- Transportation Service Provider (TSP)
Public or private companies that deliver transportation services. Synonym to Mobility Service Provider (MSP)
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