José Monterroza
Country Manager Mexico
Wheels
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Insight

Fixing Mexico's Mobility, One Company at a Time

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 13:09

With over 5 million vehicles on the streets, Mexico City is among the worst cities in the world for traffic. According to TomTom’s Traffic Index, commuting time increases approximately 66 percent during peak traffic periods compared with commute times off-peak. In zones like Santa Fe and Polanco, access is limited and traffic jams can last for hours. All these factors contribute to the need for contingency measures and made Wheels realize the city might benefit from sustainable mobility planning between companies and neighborhoods.

The company entered the Mexican market in 2015 presenting a carpooling platform that would take advantage of the more than 31 million empty seats moving daily through the city. Wheels targeted large communities like companies and universities, offering its solution at practically no cost. The company has moved forward to become a consulting partner for companies that want to implement a healthy mobility plan for their employees. “In 2016, we focused on attracting users to our platform, primarily to identify the needs of the national market,” says José Monterroza, Wheels’ Country Manager for Mexico. “Now that we have understood how Mexico City moves, we can charge companies for the implementation of our services through an annual subscription.”

Wheels sustainable mobility plan is based on three services. First, the company performs a mobility diagnosis that allows it to understand how employees or members of a community usually move around the city, detecting preferred routes and approximate commuting costs. After that, the company implements its mobile platform called Wheels Social, optimizing time, environmental damage and monetary costs. “We create a closed group for each company within the platform, so all members can interact to work out the best ways to share their commutes,” says Monterroza. “People log into the platform, they register their commutes and their preferred method of transport.” Members can participate as drivers, passengers or register as willing to share a taxi or cycle together. All commutes are defined with a date and time, point of origin and destination. That way, the platform can calculate the optimal route and the estimated time of arrival, and it can look for other users that could also share this journey. “Security and reliability are two of our main priorities,” says Monterroza. “Employees can join the platform with their corporate mail account or we can build a closed server, depending on the company.”

Wheels already has 10 companies affiliated in Mexico and 30 globally. Its goal for 2017 is to close the year with 25 corporate deals, building a network of 25,000 corporate users. But the company has a much more ambitious target to solve Mexico City’s mobility problems altogether. “Mexican clients are aware of the mobility problems in the city and the environmental risks of an expanding automotive market. The government is also looking for solutions in terms of mobility and infrastructure,” says Monterroza. “That led us to the conclusion that Wheels could work with the public sector to implement its mobility plans on a larger scale, connecting whole neighborhoods at a time.”

Monterroza expects to attract more companies to join Wheels’ network and tackle mobility issues in the most congested zones in the city. “With a sustainable mobility plan, we could gather all companies located nearby and find a solution that involves all residents and commuters,” he says. “As more companies participate in the platform, road conditions will improve and commutes will be more effective.”

Monterroza expects to attract more companies to join Wheels’ network and tackle mobility issues in the most congested zones in the city. “With a sustainable mobility plan, we could gather all companies located nearby and find a solution that involves all residents and commuters,” he says. “As more companies participate in the platform, road conditions will improve and commutes will be more effective.”

In Queretaro, Wheels is focusing on promoting the use of bicycles after the implementation of the Quebici program. “We are also exploring how to integrate routes for pedestrians and how to include public transport routes to the platform. We see an opportunity to grow our services to help the corporate buildings in these areas,” he says.