US Startups Changing the Transport Sector with Applications

Discover how US startups are disrupting the transport industry with cutting-edge applications, revolutionizing commuting, shipping and logistics, and mobility.

Dean Spooner
June 8, 2023
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Innovative Startups Powering the Transportation Revolution

The transport industry has been an essential part of people’s daily lives as they commute to and from different locations, or enable the movement of goods. In numbers, the U.S. transportation industry equates to roughly $1.36 trillion as of 2022. However, it is also an industry that has been slow to innovate and adopt new technologies. This has created opportunities for startups to disrupt the status quo with revolutionary applications and business models. In recent years, startups have emerged as disruptors in this traditional sector, in departments such as autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, ride-sharing, and freight shipping. We will explore how these startups are reinventing the transport industry and reshaping the future of transportation.

Ride-Hailing Services

An application-centered service that disrupted the traditional taxi industry for less than 10 years and has already accumulated much of the market share. According to projections, the revenue in this market is expected to reach a staggering US$165.60 billion by the year 2024. Furthermore, the annual growth rate (CAGR 2024-2028) of 6.83% is expected to result in a projected market volume of US$215.70 billion by 2028 worldwide. This growth is likely fueled by a significant increase in user numbers, with projections indicating 1.97 billion users by 2028. User penetration is also expected to climb, reaching 24.6% by 2028 from an estimated 22.6% in 2024. 

It's no wonder that companies like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the mobility industry by connecting passengers with drivers through their user-friendly mobile applications. By utilizing GPS technology, advanced algorithms, and cashless transactions, they’re able to offer convenience, transparency, and safety in a way that wasn’t possible with traditional taxis. Resulting in a seamless and more secure ride experience for consumers. Going forward, the startups will be looking to integrate autonomous vehicle technology through partnerships with companies like Motional, paving the way for self-driving taxis.

China is expected to be a major driver of this growth, generating the most revenue in the Ride-hailing market with a projected US$63,280 million in 2024. Looking ahead, startups are actively exploring the integration of autonomous vehicle technology through partnerships with companies like Motional, paving the way for a future filled with self-driving taxis.

Electric Scooters

In the same vein as ride-hailing platforms, micro-mobility solutions like electric scooters and bicycles have emerged as popular alternatives for short-distance travel. Startups like Lime and Bird have revolutionized transportation by introducing dockless electric scooters that can be easily rented through their mobile applications. These user-friendly apps allow you to find, unlock, and rent e-scooters, providing a convenient, low-cost, and eco-friendly way to get around.

E-scooter sharing offers several advantages:

  • Convenience: Easily locate and rent an e-scooter on the go, eliminating the need for car ownership or public transportation wait times.
  • Affordability: Enjoy a cost-effective mode of transportation compared to taxis or ride-hailing services.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Reduce your carbon footprint by opting for an electric alternative to traditional vehicles.

This mode of transportation has also gained traction as a way to address traffic congestion and air pollution in urban areas. As a result, we're witnessing significant growth in bike-sharing and scooter-sharing services across cities worldwide.

The global e-scooter-sharing market is projected to reach a staggering US$2,041.00 million by 2024. This growth is expected to continue at an impressive annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.53% from 2024 to 2028, resulting in a projected market volume of US$3,046.00 million by 2028. Furthermore, the user base is anticipated to climb to a substantial 143.50 million users by 2028. User penetration is also expected to rise, reaching 1.8% by 2028 from an estimated 1.3% in 2024. E-scooter sharing's rapid rise in popularity across countries like the United States, Germany, France, and China underscores its potential to transform urban mobility.

Autonomous Vehicles

The development of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and self-driving technology is one of the most exciting advancements in the transportation industry. Startups like Waymo, Cruise, and Aurora are leading the charge, conducting extensive research and development to make AVs safe, reliable, and accessible to the general public. These vehicles utilize advanced sensors, AI, and machine learning algorithms with the goal of revolutionizing transportation. Potential benefits include:

  • Reduced Accidents: Autonomous vehicles, programmed to follow traffic rules and avoid obstacles, have the potential to significantly reduce accidents caused by human error.
  • Improved Traffic Flow: AVs can communicate with each other and infrastructure, optimizing traffic flow and reducing congestion.
  • Enhanced Passenger Experience: Passengers can relax and be productive during their journeys without the stress of driving.

Waymo recently launched the world's first commercial autonomous taxi service, with Cruise not far behind. However, despite the backing of tech giants, self-driving cars still face challenges in convincing transit operators and the public of their safety compared to human-driven vehicles.

The global autonomous vehicle market is projected to experience tremendous growth, with a market size expected to reach $13,632.4 billion by 2030, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.3% from $1,921.1 billion in 2023. This significant growth indicates the immense potential of AVs to reshape the transportation landscape in the coming years.

Freight and Logistics

For freight shipping and logistics, startups like Convoy, Flexport, and Transfix are applying technology to optimize routes, automate paperwork, and provide real-time shipping visibility. Their digital platforms connect shipping carriers with those who need to move freight and streamline the entire freight shipping process using data and algorithms. Their applications benefit shippers and carriers in cost savings, faster delivery times, and reduced environmental impact. However, there are still thousands of smaller freight forwarders running on outdated software. The startup GoFreight wants to help them compete by providing backend software that makes their operations run more efficiently, and a frontend that lets them set up a storefront and provide quotes in less time. 

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platforms are revolutionizing the way we travel. These platforms integrate various transportation modes, such as public transit, ride-hailing, car-sharing, and bike-sharing, into a single application. This creates a seamless and integrated mobility experience for users, allowing them to plan, book, and pay for their journeys through a single platform.

Startups like Moovit and Citymapper are leading the charge in this space, providing users with comprehensive transit information, real-time updates, and multimodal trip planning functionalities. By empowering users to make informed transportation choices based on factors like cost, convenience, and environmental impact, MaaS platforms are playing a crucial role in shaping the future of mobility.

The global mobility as a service market is expected to witness significant growth, with projections indicating a market size of $774.93 billion by 2029. This impressive growth, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.5%, highlights the increasing demand for integrated and user-centric transportation solutions.


The traditional transportation industry, known for its high capital costs and barriers to entry, is being reshaped by a wave of innovative startups. These disruptors are leveraging software and cutting-edge technologies like autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, and big data to revolutionize personal transportation, ride-hailing, electric vehicles, and freight shipping.

At the heart of this transformation lie user-friendly mobile applications. These apps seamlessly connect users with services, streamline logistics, and optimize resource allocation.  By making transportation more convenient, efficient, and sustainable, these software-driven solutions are not only changing how we travel today but also reimagining the future of mobility.

As seen on FOX, Digital journal, NCN, Market Watch, Bezinga and more

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