Following recent mega-trends in the mobile and sharing economy, and thanks to the latest ITS developments, Mobility as a Service schemes are seen as the way citizens will use to move themselves and their goods in the future.Jaspal Singh, Head, UITP India writes on iMove project, funded by the European Commission within the H2020 framework, that aims to accelerate the deployment and unlock the scalability of MaaS schemes in Europe
Although some “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) initiatives have been piloted across Europe, so far most of them had problems reaching a significant scale and stable business operation, and there is still a lack of a solid MaaS experience replicable at the EU level. Achieving the appropriate balance between public and private components in the combined mobility scheme is a major issue, with the need of compromising between different business roles, objectives and attitudes within the same ecosystem. The adoption of viable policies for information and service sharing is also a barrier to overcome. Handling business-sensitive data, commercially exploitable user-related information and privacy aspects present at the same time opportunities and threats for the MaaS success.
MaaS INTEGRATION WITH PUBLIC TRANSPORT
In order to be successful and sustainable in the long run, a MaaS scheme should scale up fast to reach a critical mass of addressed customers’ segments and volumes, and to offer customised and competitive mobility packages to users. This growth will generate additional opportunities to expand the coverage of the MaaS and, in a further step, to consolidate it to become globally accessible similarly to roaming in communications.
Today, MaaS schemes are often seen as disruptive start-up initiatives with great potential, but due to the implied challenges of public/private mobility integration, information handling and sharing, service interoperability and scalability requirements there is a need for specific actions to be taken to accelerate an appropriate and sustainable take off.
To remain the “backbone of mobility” for livable and sustainable cities, Public Transport should embrace the emergence of those new mobility services and concepts, together with the development of the autonomous vehicle, as great opportunities to enhance the efficiency and capacity of its services and systems and to gain new customers.
The cooperation between traditional mobility players and new ones is then essential to address new mobility needs and the necessity for even more integration and seamlessness between all modes and services.
iMove PROJECT – MaaS IN EUROPE
iMove project, funded by the European Commission within the H2020 framework, aims to accelerate the deployment and unlock the scalability of MaaS schemes in Europe, ultimately paving the way for a “roaming service” type for MaaS users at the European level. iMove concepts and solutions will be investigated, validated and evaluated in 4 different Living Labs: Berlin, Gothenburg, Manchester and Torino.
The following key operational tasks are needed to reach the overall IMOVE objective:
- Create solid and resilient business models, adapted to the specific segments of mobility users, local frameworks, transport operator cooperation models, able to adjust service offering and business operation in response to behavioural changes and tendencies detected through continuous monitoring and real data collection about user needs, habits and preferences.
- Develop Open APIs enhancing the interoperability of MaaS proprietary platforms with other relevant third-party ITS services (e.g Journey Planners, Travel Booking tools, mobile Apps) and allowing users to keep using their preferred applications when interacting with MaaS services, thereby widening their accessibility and outreach.
- Enable roaming between different MaaS schemes by supporting business cooperation between MaaS operators through the exchange of an “agreed minimum amount” of information, and improving user experience through enhanced user profiling and unique identification across multiple services, applications and MaaS providers.
- Unlock the potentials of a very valuable set of integrated information about mobility choices and behaviour obtained connecting existing data (e.g. across a journey, a day, months, etc.) that today can be hardly related to the same user and used to improve MaaS operation and provide value-added user services.
There is need to create integrated mechanism that enables commuters to use public transport providing higher convenience, thus increasing the ridership in public transport. MaaS can build a common platform to allow utilization of all modes keeping passenger in the center of things.
In order to implement the above mentioned key operational tasks, the EU-funded project IMOVE will boost the MaaS concept and initiatives through two main strands of activities and corresponding results:
- Investigating and developing a set of Scalability Unlockers, as sets of measures, organisational frameworks, operational and business models enhancing the framework conditions for MaaS development and operation, behavior change strategies, user engagement schemes, long-term roaming strategies and support.
- Designing and implementing a set of novel Software Enablers that will significantly advance current MaaS supporting technologies enhancing interoperability and integration of MaaS schemes in the landscape of ITS and other mobility services.
Both Scalability Unlockers and SW Enablers will be deployed in all participating pilot sites and will be validated and assessed in reallife conditions involving users and stakeholders through the set-up and operation of local Living Labs. As an additional validation element, a particular attention will be paid to roaming between different MaaS schemes, with organizational and technical elements being identified and selected to set-up and run cross-site experiments and validation in Roaming Living Lab.
Both areas and sets of results will be developed and implemented during the project and their transferability will be ensured in order to support other existing as well as future MaaS initiatives beyond IMOVE. Both sets of results will be complementary and interconnected: the SW Enablers will allow monitoring the performance and improving the relationships among the three main stakeholders involved in a MaaS (the users, the MaaS Operators and the Transport Operators); this information will be exploited by the Scalability Unlockers to support the deployment and development of the MaaS schemes.
IMPLEMENTATION OF MaaS PROJECT IN INDIA
The mobility demand is growing in India owing to rapid urbanisation, as well as, economic growth. The number of private vehicles has quadrupled in last decade and growing at double digit. There is need for huge investment to upgrade public transport sector in India. However, the government does not have resources to meet increasing mobility demand. Startups are trying to build new ecosystem to serve this demand, but still facing lots of regulatory challenges.
The following three key factors can create right environment for MaaS in India:
- Mandatory implementation of Vehicle Location Tracking and Panic Button in all Passenger Transport vehicles by 01 April 2018
- Greater push by the government to adopt cashless and mobile payment methods
- The growing smartphone penetration as there are 300 million smartphone users in 2017, which will increase to 450 million users by 2022
There is need to conduct pilot in some Indian cities in line with IMOVE project in Europe, to design organisational framework, operational and business models. However, the project will require participation from both public and private players as they can complement each other strength.
As a partner, UITP (Union Internationale des Transports Publics), the International Association of Public Transport, looks in particular at the role that Public Transport will play in the implementation of this service. UITP wants to create a momentum and will take the opportunity of its participation to IMOVE to accelerate the required actions to ensure this cooperation.
(The article is originally published in TrafficInfraTech Edition January 2018)
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