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Reflections on Keolis Innovation Week

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At Keolis, we are continually developing new ways to improve the transit services we offer. Many of America’s metro regions are growing rapidly, which can often bring increases in pollution, traffic, and housing costs. At Keolis we don’t see these growing pains as liabilities but rather as opportunities to innovate and find new solutions that will push us into the next phase of public transportation.  


Innovation, itself, is a key enabler of the work Keolis performs daily. To underscore this commitment, Keolis recently held a global “Innovation Week” aimed at pushing our own boundaries in search for new systems, technologies, and ways of analyzing passenger behavior. Hundreds of employees from the 15 countries where we operate participated in workshops, conferences, and webinars to share these innovative ideas and best practices. This knowledge sharing across time zones is part of what makes Keolis stand out as a best-in-class employer and an close partner with public transit agencies. 


Below is a recap of some of these seminars.                                                        


Boosting Environmental Transition with Mobility Data 


In partnership with the Liberte Living Lab in Paris, this open meet up event brought together change-makers, pioneers, and innovators to share their knowledge and perspectives on further decarbonizing transit (environmental transition) with mobility data. Using geo-location data, transit planners can create more logical, effective, and data-driven bus routes. Similarly, the Bike Data Project utilizes user-generated data to analyze common behaviors to improve safety, convenience, and use for cyclists. Using this anonymized, granular, and high-quality data, Keolis networks can better understand exactly what passengers’ mobility needs are and adapt service patterns to them.  


Innovation for Low Carbon Mobility 


Together with The International Association of Public Transport (UITP), Mission Publiques (an agency specializing in citizen participation), and Keolis’ own energy transition experts, this panel analyzed the new ways the transportation industry can adapt to be leaders in low-carbon mobility – essential to combating climate change and meeting the demands of an increasingly carbon-conscious public. Having recently opened a center for excellence in energy transition, Keolis has set an ambitious goal to further increase the number of buses it operates using alternative fuels to 30 percent by 2030. In this panel, experts discussed the various alternative fuel technologies in use, their current costs, and even their scalability – like the ongoing development and deployment of hydrogen fuel cells.  


Can nudges really change travel behavior? 


With research presented by Nicolas Fieulaine, researcher in social psychology, this program included real-life feedback from the French cities and networks of Caen and Besançon. But first, what is a “nudge”? Nudges are positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions that influence the behavior and decision-making of groups or individuals. For Keolis, this is often passengers or prospective passengers. 


With the support of Keolis and Anateep (National Association for Educational Transport of Public Education), the BVA Nudge Unit (a global psychology consultancy) designed and tested five nudges which proved to be highly effective in triggering the desired behavior change. For example, by implementing highly visible seatbelt sleeves and cartoon seatback covers, Keolis was able to more than double the number of teenagers wearing seatbelts in certain French school bus networks.  


The world needs public transport to continually improve and innovate to meet the demands our growing populations are putting on urban centers and even smaller to medium-sized cities. “Innovation Week” is one example of our commitment to helping improve everyday life for our fellow global citizens.