Lisbon: Demand-responsive transport for persons with disabilities


Lisbon (Portugal)

Challenge area:

Accessibility & Inclusivity

Implementation period:


Lisbon from the sea

The Challenge

A major city in need of more inclusive mobility: you’re waiting for your ride, the seconds ticking away before an important appointment on the other side of town. You call for an update. Again. Finally, it arrives and you board. And then sit there helpless while it detours all over town picking up other passengers before delivering you to your destination. Late.

This is an everyday occurrence for persons with reduced mobility (PRMs). With regular fixed appointments to keep—hospital, social services, work—they rely on transport for PRMs to be reliable. Unfortunately, however, scheduling complex PRM transport requests and respecting pick-up and drop-off times is extremely challenging for bus operators. And while most of us can fall back on alternative transit modes if our ride is late or doesn’t show, PRMs just don’t have that luxury.

This was the case when Shotl was called in to optimize PRM transport for Lisbon City Council bus operator Carris. And Lisbon isn’t alone: with global populations ageing, demand for PRM transport is only set to rise. And with it, the costs of providing the service.

Lisbon is one of many cities in urgent need of more efficient and affordable PRM transport solutions.


The Solution

We adapted our on-demand solution to PRM transport, configuring a network of virtual door-to-door stops for maximum user comfort and convenience. For PRMs, respecting pick-up and drop-off times takes precedence over travel time, so we designed an algorithm and system that considers this balance appropriately. We also enabled bulk pre-programming of repeat rides. This saves time and improves efficiency for operators and ensures a more reliable service for passengers.

We provided the Passenger App, Driver App, Central Control Console, driver training, marketing materials and support. Lisbon City Council funded the service and, through Carris, provided vehicles, drivers and driver’s tablets.

Passengers get real-time pick-up and drop-off information from a reliable, personalized, door-to-door service that adapts to their needs, and a new channel to book, modify and cancel their routing needs.

Drivers can view all bookings in real-time and are directed to pick-up and drop-off points by the Driver App, which can also be used to control on-board capacity.

Algorithms constantly optimize all passenger bookings and vehicle routes to ensure punctuality and provide the best possible service for all users.

Transport operators schedule and monitor operations in real time via the Control Panel and get detailed data and analytics on user needs and behavior, taking the guesswork out of getting it right.