What if you could get around major urban centers in a way that best helps you determine more carbon friendly ways to cover longer distances than one might normally walk or bike? Such a system is being slowly tested in Japan by Toyota in cooperation with the Toyota City municipal government, transportation companies and others. It is called Ha:mo by the Japanese automaker, which it coins to be “representative of a ‘harmonious mobility’ network, suggesting mobility that achieves harmony among people and where they live.”
The Ha:mo system, according to Toyota, was brought online this month and is designed to help urban commuters select the most “optimal means of transport for users based on the operational status of public transport systems and traffic conditions.” It consists of two components – one of which focuses upon public transportation options and the other of which is electric vehicle focused – that are being brought together through an app on one’s smartphone.
The Ha:mo Navi component is said to provide “transportation alternatives and encourages use of optimal transport methods based on forecasts of transportation supply and demand,” while also linking to independently operated public transportation and cars. The app one uses with it is described as a multi-modal route guide that “searches for the optimal combination of multiple means of transport—such as trains, buses, cars and taxis—while taking into consideration traffic congestion.” It also provides information on park and ride facilities, such as parking space availability.
The other component of this new system is known as Ha:mo Ride. It is designed to provide so called “optimal use” of vehicle and public transportation for short-distance (within a few miles) travel from a train station to the user’s destination through the sharing of ultra-compact electric cars. In the case of Ha:mo, these cars are Toyota’s “COMS” ultra-compact, single-occupant electric vehicles. These EVs will be placed at unmanned vehicle-sharing stations around Toyota City. To promote what is hoped will be wide and regular use, there will be no charge for the first year of service.