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Multi-modal app provides ‘fastest, cheapest or best’ route

Developers claim it regularly delivers up to 40 per cent faster trips in some areas of the city

The app gives commuters more choice and allows them to track emissions
The app gives commuters more choice and allows them to track emissions

A multi-modal transportation app for the Canadian city of Vancouver, which has been in beta development since March, has launched in the App store. It aims to radically change urban mobility, ease congestion and reduce greenhouse gases from transportation.


Cowlines claims the app has been consistently beating Google Maps when it comes to car-free travel time around Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, regularly delivering up to 40 per cent faster trips around the Lower Mainland.


Tracking verifiable emissions


By providing three route options: fastest, cheapest, best, it gives commuters more choice and allows people to track verifiable CO2 emissions so they can choose the most environmentally friendly transportation options.


“We chose to launch in Vancouver to support the Greenest City 2020 initiative and because the environment here is geared towards environmentally conscious policies,” said David Oliver, Greenlines co-founder and CEO. “Vancouver is a living city, it’s transit-friendly and is also considered the car-sharing capital of North America.


“Cowlines enables a modal shift, from private vehicles to shared mobility, which is key to help the city achieve its strategic targets in emissions reductions in transportation.”


Greenlines’ GHG modal shift optimisation methodology enables transportation providers as well as governments to track and report on achieved GHG emissions reductions in the diverse transportation sector. By doing so, it opens up the opportunity for a cost-effective evaluation of transportation solutions towards strategic GHG emission reductions targets in the transportation sector.


In the Lower Mainland, Cowlines currently integrates TransLink, West Coast Express, BC Transit, Modo Car Co-op, Mobi bikes, Aquabus, False Creek Ferries and taxis. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are already integrated in the platform and will be available in the app once BC approves them.

"Vancouver is a living city, it’s transit-friendly and is also considered the car-sharing capital of North America"

In preparation for expansion across North America, Cowlines has integrated hundreds of public transit agencies, bike sharing programmes, car-sharing, ride-hailing, taxis and many others. Cities around the world, from Jakarta to New Delhi have reportedly expressed interest in deploying as soon as possible.


Seamless integration for commuters


Cowlines is run by the Vancouver start-up Greenlines Technology, which wants to revolutionise the way people move around cities by seamlessly integrating transportation options offered by multiple providers. The company Greenlines is also participating in the Smart Cities Challenge with several BC municipalities.


“It’s the first time someone has put all the transportation pieces together. This technology is a creative way of viewing mobility and it’s what sets Cowlines apart from other transportation innovations,” said Greenlines co-owner and chief strategy officer Jonathan Whitworth.


“Cowlines does two simple things, it makes peoples’ lives easier and it reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and those two things really have a global impact.”


Within six months, the Cowlines app will be available in cities with a cumulative population of more than 60 million people, including the metro regions of Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, San Diego, Toronto, and NYC. An Android version is also slated to be available next year.


The name Cowlines comes from the term “cowlines” or “cowpaths” used by city planners to design the optimal paths in places such as park, mimicking the behaviour of cows when they roam across an open field.


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