With continuous and fast-paced growth of US cities, the rise of the sharing economy, and a heightened demand for convenience, efficiency, and thoughtfully designed solutions, the transportation industry is ripe for change.
Southern entrepreneurs have taken note, revved their engines, and launched new transportation startups that are changing the way we get around. In this edition of the DIG 500, we’re sharing 12 companies with innovative ways to get you here, there, and everywhere – whether by bike, bus, foot, or even a three-wheeled bicycle-car hybrid.
- Founded in Miami, Dropbyke wants to create the “ultimate urban freedom” through an on-demand, stationless bike rental service. Through the mobile app, users can search available bikes in their area, and receive bike lock information once they’re granted access. After cycling around town, Dropbykers can, well, “drop” the bike at any public bike rack, lock it up, and tag its new location for the next urbanite in need of wheels.
- Durham-based Transloc is makin’ moves in mass transit, aiming to take it from “a last resort for some to first choice for all.” How will they do it? Through solutions such as “Rider,” a mobile app with features like map-based bus tracking and customizable arrival alerts; “RealTime,” a control center to help transit agencies manage fleets; and “Traveler,” a visualization tool to help agencies understand their riders’ experiences. The company also recently partnered with Uber. More on that here.
- Imagine if a service like Waze could be customized to your daily commute. Launched in DC, RouteHero is kind of that idea. The mobile app provides personalized traffic and transit alerts for commuters in metropolitan areas. Users enter their travel time and normal driving, metro, or bus routes; RouteHero then sends text or email alerts with any delays or traffic along that path.
- Founded by faculty and students at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, ecoPRT is engineering Jetsons-style “revolutionary transportation.” Currently in the prototyping phase, the personal rapid transit system features lightweight, 2-person cars that navigate an aboveground guideway to get riders from Point A to Point B. The system is much more cost- and energy-efficient than a “normal” transit system.
- Fred, meet your futuristic Flinstone mobile. Durham-based Organic Transit has developed the “ELF,” a solar and pedal powered vehicle that gets the equivalent of 1800 MPG (yes, we said 1800!). The ELF, which only weighs 160 pounds, can carry up to 350 pounds and has an electric motor in case you need some extra pickup.
- Atlanta-based Rydes App is a pre-scheduled and on-demand transportation booking application for iPhone and Android. How is it different from, say, Uber? Users can favorite and request specific drivers or vehicles and Rydes promises never to have surge pricing. Test it out if you’re in the #ATL.
- Passport is a Charlotte-based software company that builds simple, easy-to-use mobile payment and operations apps for the transit and parking industry. One example is their Mobile Pay app, which allows customers to extend parking sessions, get alerts before their session expires, and pay by phone, and provides the parking company with backend analytics and payment reports. Win-win.
- DC company, Riide designs, builds, and sells connected personal transportation for city commuters. Their first offering is the Riide electric bike, which riders (or shall we say Riiders) get through a monthly subscription. For $79/month, users receive their e-bike, plus maintenance and theft insurance. Keep pedaling for 2 years, and the Riide bike is yours!
- Also based in DC, Urgent.ly has developed an on-demand roadside assistance app. If you get a flat tire or your car breaks down, the app shows you a map of service providers nearby, lets you request a specific service, track the providers’ location and estimated arrival time, and alert loved ones of your location and status. The company has been featured by TechCrunch, FastCompany, and more.
- Greenville, SC-based RidePost is an online ridesharing marketplace to help reduce the cost of travel while also increasing access to available transportation. The platform is centered on events; users search for or post an event and find fellow travelers who are open to carpooling there. Save on gas and maybe make a new friend while you’re at it!
- Headquartered in Raleigh, Walk [Your City] lives by the mantra that “it’s not too far.” The platform helps communities improve walkability through simple informational signs and a web-based dashboard; with their quick and easy sign builder, users can create lightweight directional signs to install in their city, neighborhood, or campus. Once installed, pedestrians simply scan the signs to get walking directions to a particular destination.
- Memphis startup, Cabsolutely is giving a tech upgrade to the taxi industry, helping cab companies stay competitive in the world of Uber and Lyft. Through their mobile app, users can easily request a ride, get picked up by a trained taxi driver, and pay their fare sans sketchy card reader. Find out when they’ll launch in your area.