Congestion in the cities are making people crazy. One day I had to move from one place to another in my city, normally I took me about 15 minutes but that day, the traffic was crazy and took around 55 minutes. That day I realized that the congestion was mainly caused by the people in their cars, because around a 90% of these were occupied by only one person. As soon as I realized that, I started to work next to a group of friends in these project so that we could promote a more sustainable mobility.
What it does
Wheels is a social network for mobility, where members offer and demand routes with their friends or colleagues to share their cars, taxi services or bicycle plans. Thus, in this network users can take, for each route, a role: passenger, driver, taxi sharer or cyclist. This social network is a platform that serves to enable people to share their vehicles, taxi services or bicycle plans for its recurrent trips such as going from home to work or college and vice versa routes. However, unlike the various initiatives of carpooling in the market, we guarantee to the users conditions of safety and security because people never interact with strangers, but with known people of confidence from three main groups: friends (Facebook or friends who are in your contact list), colleagues (the university or work, can interact by having active institutional mail) and contacts (private groups for neighbors, private groups for people doing sports on weekends, etc). Thanks to Wheels cars, taxis and bicycles in the cities can increment the occupancy rate because the more we promote initiatives like carpooling, more people will start to shift their mobility patterns to start a new way of travelling. Also, we are aiming to work next to transportation agencies so that they can use our data to generate solutions in the cities.
How I built it
Wheels was created using the most advanced technological tools on the market (digital maps, mechanism digital confirmation of the information, algorithms to match, etc.) to offer a service that aims to improve the welfare of the society. In that sense Wheels operates for each of the different existing operating systems on the market (Android, IOS (iPhone), and in Web version. Thanks to the Wheels design, you can create a route specifying how much are you willing to walk, how much time will you spend traveling and how much CO2 are being saved by the users thanks to the use of Wheels.
Challenges I ran into
The challenges Wheels is running into are to massify our services in all the cities around the world, especially in the cities located in the emerging countries because it is there where there are big concerns with the mobility. As well, another challenge Wheels is running into is to work next to local transportation agencies so that together supplying our data so that we can improve the mobility in each city.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
With less than two year in the market, Wheels have received the attention from different institutions such as national media and private corporations in México and Colombia, thanks to our fast development and adaptation to the market, in the last year Wheels have been nominated as one of the most innovative new products for the Accenture innovation prize in Colombia, was selected to represent Latin America in the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and was selected as a key player in the "Red Optimo" of sustainable mobility in Mexico City, directed by ctsEMBARQ and the World Resources Institute. Also, something that we are very proud of is the fact that our product differentiates of the other products in the market because we promote a sustainable mobility always in safety conditions.
What I learned
We have learned that the most important thing to promote carpooling in an emerging market like Mexico, you must guarantee safety conditions to the users so that they feel motivated to interact and share their car, taxi services or bicycle plans.
What's next for Wheels
In Latin America, the economic growth in recent decades has led to a sharp increase in the rate of motorization, which has not been offset by the expansion of road infrastructure. This imbalance is heightened by the fact that during peak hours about half of the vehicles are mobilized with a single passenger, and cars generally move with a low use of installed capacity. Indeed, more than 400 million empty chairs in vehicles moves per day in the region. This allows to explain that the average speed of journeys has been reduced by about 50% over the past three decades in the main cities of the region. As a result, mobility has become a major economic, political and environmental problems, since in a manner harmful impact on productivity, adoption of public management and air quality.
Looking ahead, this the mobility would worsen in the emerging economies since the planned expansion of the road infrastructure will not achieve the motorization rates significantly stimulate by this 3 causes: i) a sharp increase in global urbanization rates from currently 50% the population inhabiting the cities to 70% by 2030; ii) a significant increase in per capita income and iii) an acceleration in the transition to single-person households. Knowing that the problem will increase and that emerging countries are increasing the connectivity to internet and the access to smartphones, from Wheels we believe that there is a lot of potential out there to be reached.
However we believe that technological products like Wheels will change dramatically the industry and will change the experience of the commuters.