Maltese drivers are ready to consider not using their car—if only they had an app that helped them plan and simplify their trips.
Project Aegle—the independent think-tank with the mission to improve mobility—has carried out a survey asking people for their reactions to a smartphone application that would simplify trip planning and travel in Malta. The app would help them broaden their travel options—from public transport to car sharing—for that trip’s route.
Two-thirds of the respondents were positive or very positive towards the idea of using such an app. Some of the results are no surprise but others give food for thought.
Of the 150 respondents, 84.46% are car users. Their biggest concern is traffic congestion (76,71%). But only 60% would use the app to improve their car journey by route planning, avoiding roads with traffic and sites of accidents, etc.
A significant 40% would use the app find alternatives to using their car. This includes information and booking of public transport, route planning and car sharing.
These numbers suggest that many people use their cars because they don’t know (and currently have no means of knowing) the practical alternatives. They would in fact be ready to use alternative means of transportation if there were a simple, reliable way to find out about them.
In the absence of such information, the car is currently the easiest default option—but with increasing traffic congestion, its reliability is declining. Many respondents recognise there may be better choices.
Indeed, alternatives like car sharing would be of high interest to 58.9% of the interviewed group. The 25-34 age group is particularly open to alternatives (65% would use the app for car sharing), whereas the 55-64 age group is the least likely to consider it.
Nicoletta Moss, Manager of Project Aegle, is happy about this positive development. “Given the high rate and increasing use of cars in Malta it is very good to see that people are starting to take alternatives into consideration. Having an app in place that enables you to plan your trip much better would greatly improve Malta’s traffic situation.”
Ranier Fsadni, an anthropologist and contributor to Project Aegle, said the results raise questions for further research. “It’s evident that an increasing proportion of car-drivers want more choice—but the only real choice is an informed one. As for those who don’t see themselves using the app, we should not jump to conclusions about their reasons. An older group of drivers might not be as fluent in the use of apps, or feel less safe car-sharing with younger drivers they don’t know, or any one of several other reasons. What’s important is to develop an approach to mobility that recognises the particular needs of different age groups so that they can all have a wider, real choice.”
The survey took place between June 1-25. It was carried out online and shared through social media. A total of 150 valid respondents answered questions related to the introduction of a mobility smartphone app.
Traffic congestion and parking problems are today linked to massive costs for the Maltese economy, healthcare, and well-being. Project Aegle is a foundation with a simple but powerful mission: to advance the quality of life in Malta through improved mobility. The project brings together a mix of collaborators from academia, business and civil society with the aim of developing workable proposals based on research, innovative technologies and education. www.projectaegle.com.mt