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Understanding Station-Based vs. Free-Floating Shared Mobility

By 25/06/2024No Comments
A highly photorealistic and futuristic urban scene showcasing both station-based and free-floating shared mobility systems. The cityscape includes sleek, modern buildings with advanced AI technology elements integrated, designated bike and car sharing stations, people using free-floating bikes and cars, and digital interfaces displaying data analytics."

In the dynamic world of urban mobility, shared mobility solutions are becoming increasingly popular. This sector primarily uses station-based and free-floating shared mobility systems. At SWITCH – The Street Witcher, our innovative platforms, Urbiverse and Urban Copilot, support both models seamlessly, enabling fleet managers to create efficient and sustainable transportation networks.

Free-floating car sharing and free-floating bike sharing offer flexibility and convenience, allowing users to pick up and drop off vehicles anywhere within a designated area. Our free floating bike sharing system ensures a user-friendly experience, adapting to the diverse needs of modern urban environments. Whether it’s car sharing free floating or station-based bike-sharing systems, SWITCH provides the tools to optimize fleet planning and fleet management.

Station-Based Shared Mobility

Station-based shared mobility systems require users to pick up and return vehicles to designated stations. These stations are usually strategically located near public transit hubs, commercial centers, and residential areas.


  1. Predictability: Users know exactly where to find and return a vehicle, reducing uncertainty and search times.
  2. Order and Structure: Organized vehicles minimize clutter in public spaces.
  3. Maintenance and Charging: Charging infrastructure for electric vehicles ensures stations are ready for use.
  4. Integration with Public Transit: Stations near transit hubs facilitate multi-modal transportation, encouraging public transit use.


  1. Limited Flexibility: Users must plan trips around station locations.
  2. High Initial Investment: Setting up and maintaining stations can be costly and require significant planning.

Free-Floating Shared Mobility

Free-floating shared mobility systems, including free-floating car sharing and free-floating bike sharing, allow users to pick up and drop off vehicles anywhere within a designated operational area.


  1. Flexibility: Users can start and end their trips wherever convenient, enhancing user experience.
  2. Ease of Expansion: Expanding the service area is simpler and less costly, as it doesn’t require additional physical infrastructure.


  1. Management and Regulation: Managing and regulating vehicle parking to avoid obstruction in public spaces can be challenging.
  2. Maintenance and Charging: Keeping track of vehicle locations for maintenance and charging purposes requires advanced monitoring systems and logistical planning.

How SWITCH Supports Both Models

At SWITCH – The Street Witcher, our platforms, Urbiverse and Urban Copilot, cater to the specific needs of both station-based and free-floating shared mobility systems, including free floating car sharing and station-based bike sharing. SWITCH excels in managing these systems through our advanced Supply Model in PULSE-AI, which creates a digital twin of fleets and vehicles, accurately representing their unique attributes. This model also incorporates policies and infrastructure, creating a comprehensive replica of both types of services. Modeling infrastructure beyond policies is crucial, as it allows you to simulate Stations or Virtual Hubs if they are present.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this module is its policy algorithms. These algorithms address critical questions related to vehicle placement, efficient relocation strategies, and optimal recharging times.

For example, you can set Policies to recharge all vehicles with battery levels below 20% between midnight and 5 AM. Other examples include respecting city or business rules related to vehicle distribution, such as ensuring a minimum number of vehicles at specific stations or capping the number of vehicles in particular areas. For instance, you can set policies to maintain at least 10 vehicles at a key station or to limit a maximum of 20 vehicles in a different area.

Urbiverse: Shared Mobility Modelling and Planning

For station-based systems, Urbiverse:

  1. Identifies optimal station locations using advanced data analytics and simulation models.
  2. Plans integration with existing public transit networks to maximize accessibility and convenience.

For free-floating systems, Urbiverse:

  1. Defines operational areas that balance user convenience with city regulations.
  2. Analyzes user behavior and travel patterns to optimize vehicle distribution and availability.

Urban Copilot: Operations and Monitoring

For station-based systems, Urban Copilot:

  1. Monitors station occupancy and vehicle availability, ensuring balanced distribution across the network.
  2. Schedules regular maintenance and charging to keep the fleet in optimal condition.

For free-floating systems, Urban Copilot:

  1. Tracks vehicle locations and user activity, enabling efficient fleet management.
  2. Implements dynamic pricing and incentives to encourage responsible parking and vehicle availability in high-demand areas.


Whether considering a station-based or free-floating shared mobility system, SWITCH – The Street Witcher provides the tools and expertise to support your needs. Our platforms, Urbiverse and Urban Copilot, enhance the efficiency, convenience, and sustainability of urban transportation networks.

By leveraging our advanced AI Simulations, cities can create transportation systems that meet diverse resident needs while promoting environmental sustainability. At SWITCH, we drive the future of urban mobility, one innovation at a time. To learn more about how SWITCH can help transform your fleet planning and fleet management, get in touch with our team, explore our innovative products, or request a demo today.

For a detailed analysis of AI simulations’ impact, check out Gartner’s comprehensive report.