Israeli Smart Mobility

Daniel Zucker
Smart Mobility Consultancy Services

Israel is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Israel also has more than its share of traffic accidents: Israel’s police received 11,554 reports of traffic accidents resulting in casualties during 2021, a 6.6% increase from the previous year. As a result of its high incidence of traffic accidents and congested roads, Israel is making tremendous investments in smart mobility.

This unique podcast covers the gamut of Israeli Smart Mobility. Listeners will learn about Israel’s shared mobility, scooters, light-rail initiatives, electric vehicle policies, autonomous vehicles, and connected cars. Among the specific issued addressed in the podcast are:

  • What is the schedule for the roll-out of light rail services in Israel’s largest cities?
  • How do Israeli scooter sharing companies balance the deposits and availability of scooters?
  • Why is the availability of electrified bicycles especially important given the heat during Israeli summers?
  • Why is charging of electric vehicles especially challenging given typical Israeli living situations?
  • What incentives for the adoption of electric vehicles exist in terms of taxes on new vehicles and fuel?
  • How do Israeli shared ride hailing services differ from those in the United States?
  • What is the thinking behind launching autonomous driving with public transport?
  • Which factors account for Israel so quickly becoming a hub of automotive innovation?
  • What can be learned from the demise of Better Place?

Daniel Zucker was a leader for the Smart Mobility Initiative within the Office of the Prime Minister. Daniel formulated and orchestrated the Israeli national plan for smart mobility, a governmental resolution allocating 250 million NIS in order to make Israel a world leader both in R&D and implementation. He also led complex regulation and legislation processes regarding Electric Vehicles, Autonomous Vehicles and Ride and Car Sharing.




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Smart Mobility Consultancy Services

Speaker 1    04:45

Ok, so, so there is. There is a one line of the light train in Jerusalem that is that is already operating since I think. 2000 For few years I can’t remember the exact day that it was open, but now they are not working on on few other lines in Jerusalem, but I don’t know when it expected to be completed in Tel Aviv. They’re working at the moment on 3 lines. They are not all underground nor on land, so it’s like a and. Two models in the same train, it goes underground and then it it goes above the ground. The first line is really supposed to be completed very soon in in four months from now. The red line and the two other lines I think are going to be completed in 2027 And 2028 although David, as we can see, I think we see the same. Things around the world. It’s a very heavy project with very with many constructors. Uh, and we see delays, we see the budget goes up. So if it was planned? To to the the cost will be 15 billion shekels. The real cost today has almost doubled. And even the the timeline to operate the line has been extended for few times but. Especially in Tel Aviv area, the three lines when there will be completed. It’s gonna be a big revolution in the public transportation sector in Israel.

Speaker 2    06:46

Right, right. So Israel is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Without the negative, I think it would be the most densely populated country in the world. So you mentioned that more and more people are using bicycles and scooters on. Are are are a lot of these bicycles and scooters shared? Are their services in Israel where you can rent the bike and scooter?

Speaker 1    07:14

Yes so, yeah, I mean, I mean. Share they’re not shared is is a big phenomena in Israel in the last few years, I think in Tel Aviv, the numbers are about 40 % of the rides are in shared modes. Mostly in scooters. So at the moment we have five different scooters, shared scooters operated by operating Israel. So we have bird lime as as you know them from the states we have thought tier and and the angle. And so those are the scooters shared their mobility and we and and and it’s an interesting fact that in Tel Aviv it has been started by the municipality. So they they were the first to present a share bicycle scheme like in Paris. So the same thing they did here in Tel Aviv. It was I think in 2011 A very. I mean, it’s still it, it’s not dockless like the scooters. It has a docking station. It is still operating. But that was the first today because of the competition. By the shell scooters, the municipality service is getting less and less traction. And, and I believe, I’m not sure, but I I believe it will be closed someday. Um, but except for the shirt, the operators, of course. There’s the private owned. And personal means of transportation and and that’s the majority of rights in Israel of micro mobility. And if you take if you think about it from from a general perspective, so the operators themselves. Operate usually in the most dense and the most populated cities that are not operating evenly through all Israel. So especially in places where they’re not operated, people should buy their own. And the interesting thing about that? Israel for for those who don’t know. So the Israel weather is very. And it’s quite good. I mean, the winter is not so cold. If I would say that it’s a cold day in Israel, it would be probably sunny for for the Northern Americans or the Europeans. And in the summer it’s quite hot. And the thing that the electrification of those personal means did for Israel, it made it very easy to go longer distance of commuting in your electrified scooter or electrified bicycles. And so if, let’s say, you know, 10 or 20 years ago, you could have done, you know, if you were healthy and in a good shape, so. 3 kilometers by your bicycle is is not easy for everyone. And today when it is electrified and if you have the right infrastructure in your city, it became easier to do that. So I I think that’s the most important. And from that we have started to see that cities and municipalities. I’m putting glow more attention and of course. A capital. To build those special lanes for dedicated lanes for bicycles and personal misappropriation. And I I think that’s maybe the most important thing that happened in that regard.

Speaker 2    11:24

Ok, so the the introduction of electric bicycles reduces the need for showers at the the workplace, right? So you know it’s a real, it’s a real issue. You know, it’s it’s a real thing. If you ride your bike for three kilometers in the middle of the summer, you’ll probably be pretty sweaty and need to take a shower. But if it’s an electric bike, you don’t have that that problem anyway for the rentals of bicycles and scooters in some places. The scooter companies have witnessed a lot of damage to their scooters. People don’t really care and they just kind of throw it on the street when they’re done. And then the other problem of of deadheading or having to the company, having to move the scooters or bicycles from where they’re dropped off to where there’s demand. So sometimes trucks go back and forth moving things around. How are how much of a problem are these? Issues in Israel.

Speaker 1    12:28

So again, a good question and I think in Israel, if I’ll do it short, we don’t see a lot of damage. To the school terms themselves from. People, we don’t have this thing. I mean, usually people behave quite nicely in that manner. But we did see. A lot of or many problems or many conflicts between. The shared scooters users and other users of the roads. So you know if if it start, if we start in 2018 again, it’s a very new market. We think about it as, OK, it’s a long history, but you know, five years ago we didn’t have this thing in Israel or almost all around the world. And and it’s really flushed the world in in few years, but we see many conflicts and the main conflicts are between the the the users themselves and other people that use the street. And the municipality? At first the municipality of Tel Aviv. Not the central, not the central government, but rather the municipalities themselves. Did most of the regulation and the discussion. And with the shelled scooters operators and today if if at first it was you know Blue ocean no regulation at all. So today there is a. And increased regulation and increased attention to the negative results. Of of those scooters. And so, for example today Tel Aviv, you have some polygons that the municipality gives to the operators of which speed, which velocity they should A operate in so in crowded places your scooter yourself. Shared Scooter will be a decreased in speed by by its own. And there are some other places that you are not allowed to ride. And you have a fixed places that you could put your shirt scooters. You’re not allowed to throw them everywhere. Of course you have a technological challenge then, because you need a very accurate GPS in order to know that you are really in that you know 2 meter by 1 meter Polygon of of parking your your shirt scooters and. And there is, there is an ongoing public debate and I think it will, it will proceed with the use of what is the right way. And maybe even what is the even way? To regulate these companies. And who owns the streets? So I know this is a public discussion that is happening in Europe as well and in the in the US and so, so I think we we have the same problems.

Speaker 2    15:57

Ok. And anything about having to to move the scooters from one place to another? so. People take them from many different places and go to the big buildings to work. Do they have to bring them back to other places?

Speaker 1    16:16

But yeah. So we have the same, I mean balance between the demand and the supply. You know that’s probably one of the Holy Grail of of the companies and the ones who know where will be the supply are going to have a big advantage. Um, there are cuts that usually, uh, in Israel, and the transfer between those places is happening today, but quite small vehicles electric. So let’s say it’s not, you know, it’s not an SUV or a pickup, it’s rather light duty vehicles that take the scooters from place to place so their impact is less. And meaningful uh, for for the streets, of course that if again it’s something that you have balance between those two forces, if it will be too much or if people will feel it. In in a bigger way, bigger extent I I can assume that the municipality will regulate that as well.

Speaker 2    17:30

Ok. And just as far as the buses and trains in Israel, Umm, how would you describe their on time performance, their reliability and is there good coordination between the buses and the trains or from 1 bus line to another bus line?

Speaker 1    17:51

That’s that’s a hard question because the answer that it’s not, it’s not really operating properly, although of course my friends and colleagues in the Minister for quotation are doing. A tremendous job and a lot of efforts to to to to make it better, but still today and especially because there are no dedicated lanes for the buses. So the coordination and the accuracy of of the buses, which are the main, most of the most of the passengers are going by bus in Israel. I mean most of the passengers is not heavy, a heavy train and it’s not the Lt but rather the buses, the buses, most of them don’t have dedicated lanes. And so the coordination is not good enough and the accuracy is not good enough. If you compare it for example again the the the best comparison will be, you know with the metal and the underground trains. In those systems, you don’t really need to. Manage or you don’t need to plan your your your right because you know once you get there, in few minutes there will be a train and it will take you in Israel. It’s not the situation or the situation with passes especially, it’s not like that. And you always need to plan usually i think most Israelis today use some apps. And to to plan their right before they go out of their houses. And the main thing that the government is doing is first of all the the reason some big projects of dedicated lane for buses. And then of course, the problem is um. To make sure that. Private cars are not riding those dedicated day lanes and you need to enforce the regulation and there’s their fines and it’s not easy for the municipalities or the mayors. To put dedicated bus lanes because the other users or the private car owners feels that you took some road from them and they’re very angry. So it’s it’s almost, it’s a physical question as well as a political one.

Speaker 2    20:33

Ok. Israel has been at the forefront of innovation as far as a shared mobility. There’s Israeli companies like get and via and is there any difference in the experience a customer has with shared car services in Israel versus what we have in the US, Uber and Lyft? Whores are pretty much the same experience.