SPARE: Future of mobility by creating the next wave of transit software


Vancouver, April 22, 2020: Spare is a Vancouver-based startup that specializes in the future of mobility by creating the next wave of transit software that can shift transit agencies away from mass transit to a focus on on-demand microtransit through autonomous vehicles (it can also serve as a complementary option to mass transit). In light of COVID-19, it’s a solution that maximizes the safety of riders, drivers, and wider communities while still efficiently getting users from Point A to Point B. Furthermore, Spare has the ability to enable a city-wide microstransit launch in just 48 hours.

According to recent data released by Transit, a trip-planning app, demand for transit in Canadian communities dropped 83% in late March, compared to the same period in past years. Cities in Quebec and Ontario saw the biggest drops, with B.C. following them, according to the app which tracks schedules for 50 transit agencies across Canada in 31 metropolitan areas, covering buses, subways and commuter rail.

Spare has a potential solution for Canada’s transit woes amidst the restrictions of COVID-19 that can help Canadians relying on public transportation to commute safely while physical distancing recommendations remain in place indefinitely. These innovative transportation safety measures include:

  1. Selectively moving people: Shift away from moving lots of people (mass transit), and scale up on-demand microtransit options to selectively move groups of people – such as healthcare workers and other essential workers – from Point A to Point B. 
  2. Segmenting services by risk group and need: Reduce social mixing during pandemic times that exacerbates the spread of the virus and prioritize critical personnel by segmenting riders into groups that minimize their risk of contracting or spreading the virus. Dedicated services can then be assigned to each group, and even according to particular medical needs (e.g. respiratory services or A&E).
  3. Rapid in-app screening and on-vehicle testing: The relatively small size of microtransit vehicles can result in riders sitting in close proximity to each other. Spare has designed a solution to rapidly screen and test riders, and includes behavioural and educational nudging that may also play an important role in tackling the spread of infection.
  4. Built-in contact tracing: In spite of the precautions mentioned above, some infections could potentially slip through the net. In such cases, it is crucial to be able to identify chains of infection. Spare’s in-app technology implements contact tracing to better understand the spread of the virus and intervene appropriately when infections are detected. 


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