Exploring Jerusalem’s Living Lab ride-pooling innovation

Exploring Jerusalem’s Living Lab ride-pooling innovation

Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, is culturally and historically significant for Jews, Muslims, and Christians and attracts significant tourism including pilgrimage. The city’s population of nearly a million inhabitants, daily influx of commuters, and visiting tourists produce considerable traffic six hours a day. City planners intend to reduce the number of private vehicles by pedestrianizing streets and expropriating parking spaces for light rail expansion. At the same time, they intend to introduce designated bicycle lanes, reduced tariffs for specific groups, HOV lanes, park-and-ride facilities, and promote walking by adding trees for shade. Since Jerusalem’s hills make walking challenging, the city plans to introduce elevators and conveyors as well. Public transit is high quality but certain neighborhoods remain poorly served.

Jerusalem’s Living Lab, centered in Yuvalim-Ganim, a rapidly growing residential neighborhood in southwest Jerusalem, is at the forefront of these efforts. This neighborhood currently has access to various modes of transportation, including buses, light rail, bike-sharing, car-sharing, and carpooling. However, it faces escalating congestion due to rapid residential development.

The Living Lab’s mission is to explore and evaluate multiple operational approaches for an on-demand ride-pooling service. This includes analyzing shared fleet availability predictions, on-demand fleet management, and seamless intermodal trip planning. Data sources for this study include smartcard validations, surveys, real-time public transportation monitoring, and ridership data from TikTak, a local, now-discontinued ride-pooling service.

In collaboration with project partners Tel Aviv University and Sigma6, the City of Jerusalem is leading data collection, modeling, and simulation tasks. The team has already gathered relevant data, conducted preliminary analyses, and developed a customized SUM survey in Hebrew for Jerusalem residents. The focus is now on defining scenarios for an optimization-based simulation framework for ride-pooling services, a key component of the SUM project.

In the upcoming months, the team will conduct the SUM survey, analyze its findings, and further refine the case study. This initiative represents a critical step towards realizing a more sustainable, efficient, and accessible urban mobility landscape in Jerusalem, addressing the unique challenges and leveraging the opportunities of this historic city.

Jerusalem light rail stop at a rail station