Rethinking Downtown Mobility with Joseph Kopser of RideScout

Joseph-Website-195x175Downtown Austin CEOs have a unique perspective regarding traffic concerns and how they impact local businesses. Joseph Kopser is the founder and CEO of RideScout, an Austin-based technology start-up that developed an app that allows a user to see all the ground transportation options around and choose the best on-demand ride. Kopser hopes RideScout helps to reduce the waste, cost, and pollution associated with inefficient ground transportation in such a way to solve individual problems and improve daily lives.

Q: How do you see RideScout impacting transportation?

Consumer demand for convenient transportation alternatives has given rise to solutions such as Uber, Sidecar, Lyft, and Car2Go. But those companies are focused on providing information and services for only a single type of transportation – taxis, ride sharing or car sharing – in isolation. With RideScout, I hope to show people all their options so they can reduce the amount they need to drive in their cars. Our aggregation platform ranks ride convenience factors such as cost and time to recommend a “best ride” from all ride options available: public buses, transit, subway, taxis, limos, shuttles, car2go, pedicabs and peer to peer ride sharing. My goal is more efficient use of existing systems and infrastructure. It will also serve as a new model for public/private partnerships.

Q: How do you see RideScout challenging Austin to rethink mobility in downtown?

We are a popular city. In fact, so much so that we are a victim of our own success as 100 new people move here every day. We won’t maintain our quality of life if we cling to car ownership and usage like the past. We need to move to a more sustainable model.

ridescoutQ: As Austin grows it wants to become more compact and connected. Do SXSW participants, using many options, show us something about Austin’s preferred future regarding transportation?

During SXSW Interactive last week, the RideScout app offered festival goers multiple ride options in one simple user interface including bus/rail, Car2Go, pedicabs, and low-speed electric vehicle cabs. Additionally, we offered free sponsored shuttle rides for RideScout users. As technology gives people more and more options, there is a new problem with too much information. Our experience shows us that people appreciate an easy way to compare all their options in real-time to sort by cost/time.

Q: What would you like to see Movability Austin, Cap Metro, or someone else do to help with transportation into and around downtown?

I think the key is for all the groups you mentioned (as well as large employers and the Downtown Austin Alliance) to work together in trying to make better sense of the transportation ecosystem. We have the transportation assets — we just need more efficient ways to present the solution, which was our goal with RideScout.

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