Alternative mobility and identity verification

An analysis of the status-quo of urban transport and where user verification becomes crucial

A new mobility ecosystem is upon us. Cities are changing at a pace like never before, largely made possible through technological advancements. Even now, during a global pandemic, alternative mobility solutions are enabling people to move across cities safely. But as car sharing, truck sharing, bike sharing, and other sharing economy platforms continue to grow, the best and most secure user experiences will differentiate the leaders in a competitive market.

As alternative mobility and car-sharing platforms have gained popularity, users have also become increasingly demanding. Trust and safety are paramount, leading to companies like Uber introducing a “No Mask No Ride” policy enabled by facial scans to detect masks for Covid-19 health safety. For automakers such as BMW and Daimler that offer a joint car-sharing service, providing a smooth user onboarding that checks off regulatory compliance (such as checking for a valid driver’s license) is key to driving adoption. Despite Covid-19 restrictions in around the world, alternative mobility providers are still in a market that is only poised to grow. “Generally, the interests of business (mobility providers) and city authorities coincide, with both parts aiming to reduce the number of cars on the roads,” according to a report by IPSOS. To weather the global pandemic and continue to grow their market share, urban mobility and sharing economy services need to build user identity verification into the core of their user experience design.

The status-quo of urban transportation is rapidly shifting

98b4431f341b4ed5ad658540eff8b161 Source: World Economic Forum

The mobility landscape is changing. In recent years, enabled by robust technology solutions, we are looking at a rise of alternative mobility which include more efficient means of transport mushrooming across the globe including ride sharing, autonomous vehicles (AVs), mobility as a service (MaaS) and some of the biggest automakers developing electric vehicles (EVs). This caters to the rising number of customers that demand clean and sustainable solutions to travel, and the need to build trust with these customers and assuring them that their data is safe.

Digitalization welcomed a new wave of mobility services that included app-ordering services, peer-to-peer car sharing, ride-sharing, free-floating services and car-pooling. This has prompted many customers to resort to alternatives like electric scooters and bikes, and other ride-sharing services instead of relying on traditional public transport or taxis.

“Challenging the economic efficiency of car ownership is exactly what is at the heart of all mobility services offers. And consumers are convinced with this message.

Thus, more than 50% of current car owners predict that instead of owning a car, people will use shared mobility services in future, as it will be the cheaper option,” a research report by IPSOS highlighted.

6e9ae20f21d04808a63437b772779c56 Source: IPSOS Research

A game changer: Alternative mobility gives rise to advanced technologies

With alternative mobility slowly but surely replacing the ownership culture, ride-sharing has shifted its dynamics. From a time when customers touted ride-sharing to be a novel experience, it has now becoming a base expectation - all of it largely enabled through technology.

The boom birthed electric scooter startups like Bird and Lime that expanded quickly, acquired a significant number of customers and soon penetrated into markets such as Bogota and Mexico City. Startups like Lime and Bird, valued at over $1.1 billion and $2 billion respectively in just under 14 months after founding, have captured a sizeable market.

5ee49c3653cb4df1a2531cba2e5444fb Growth Metrics Micro Mobility Provider

Investors are betting big on several players in the bike sharing sector, a space that’s now witnessing billions in funding flowing in.

e1091d501c9e4289bd9b40e89a8fbff8 Investment Landscape Micromobility Provider, Source: CBInsights

Many of the startups have spearheaded alternative forms of transport for users, helping reduce the negative impact non-electric vehicles have on the environment be it carbon emissions, greenhouse gases and higher fuel usage.

Creating a frictionless mobility experience through identity verification

To deliver a seamless service, alternative mobility service providers use a multitude of technologies including real-time GPS, identity and access management, IoT, insurtech and mobile computing Shared mobility, like most services, relies heavily on its users. The entire ecosystem is kept buoyant by its users and critical mass for adoption. This extends the age old access management issue - is the user allowed to access the vehicle and legally able to drive? Even more importantly, Is the user really who he or she claims to be?

The future of mobility is centered around the user, and the secure management of their identity.

For the alternative mobility sector, it is not enough to connect the data with an online pseudonym. For example, tracking a bike might be important for anti-theft purposes, but if something were to happen, the insurance claim should be addressed to an actual person. Moreover, to provide alternative mobility services, a service provider needs to gather  sensitive user data such as their location  and the places they visited. Here’s where trusted digital identity becomes increasingly important.

Passbase offers ID verification for over 150 countries. Strong Identity Access Management (IAM) solutions bolster platform security without compromising the user experience.

To begin with, enterprises must check whether a person is eligible to access the vehicle. In the past, this used to be an arduous process involving an image upload and manual verification for a document’s authenticity and validity. With smartphone cameras, registering a new user and verifying that they can use the platform’s services  can be done through a quick, seamless process:

  • The user takes a picture of required documents such as their ID card and their driver’s license
  • The user takes a short selfie video to match their face to the  picture on the document

Passbase's Youtube user identity verification demo video on Youtube

Once the user has performed these two steps, identity verification is performed image recognition. Machine learning algorithms can extract the necessary data when performing document verification:

  • Text data such as a person’s name, date of birth, ID number
  • Document validity by finding the expiry date
  • Document authenticity through security features such as watermarking
  • Facial features of the person in the photo document

Next, ID verification is cross-referenced with the biometric features (facial features) in the real-time video that the user just uploaded.

Combined, these two verification steps enable a mobility service provider to know who a user is and whether they should be able to use your platform’s services.

Once the identity of the user is verified and he/she is eligible to use the service, access to the vehicles may be granted. Once this initial selfie as biometric authentication has been introduced to a user, a service provider can build it into future logins. In the same way that iPhone users make use of Face ID to access their phones, vehicle drivers can quickly verify their identity with a selfie to gain access to a vehicle, doing away with frustrating experiences with lost passwords.

Integrating a robust identity verification into an online service has never been easier. Rather than building a solution in-house from scratch, which requires extensive investment to verify official documents and handle data securely, using a trusted identity access management solution can allow you to be compliant and focus on product development.

You can try Passbase’s verification platform right away and explore our documentation for supported integrations.

Secure identity verification is the foundation of trust in sharing economies

The rise of the sharing economy gives an average person the opportunity to start their own venture - be it running a cab business or renting out their properties. Customers today have a lot more options at hand through companies participating in the shared economy - a space that largely hinges on trust.

It’s high time enterprises rethink their approach to identifying their users and authenticating that they are who they claim to be.

Verified and reliable digital identities are vital for the future of shared mobility. Digital identity and access management platforms can connect dozens of government or official IDs from across the globe to prove true identities and build trust between the enterprise and their users.

We encourage alternative mobility solutions providers to explore identity verification services to understand how they can be integrated into an existing product. You can also sign up with Passbase today.

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Passbase is an identity verification solution that makes facial recognition, liveness detection, ID verification and KYC and AML compliance accessible through a suite of flexible developer tools. A zero-knowledge architecture ensures that companies using Passbase can securely verify users from over 190 countries without having to store their data. Built for developers, it can be integrated with just a few lines of code on iOS, Android, and Web.