12th September 2018
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and Mobility on Demand (MoD) are two emerging concepts that are disrupting the way we think about travel and how it is provided. The rise of connected travel ecosystems is being made possible by data, digitisation, and the ubiquitous use of smart devices.
If the first wave of smart travel was the introduction of smart fulfilment technologies like Cubic’s Oyster card, and the second was the rise of smart mobility providers for single modes of transport, such as Uber, the next wave of smart travel will be from mobility aggregators. These brands will use digital technology to allow customers to purchase and manage multi-modal journeys from different transport providers using a single account-based interface (MaaS). Increasingly, some transport modes, such as buses, will develop flexible routes and pickup points to match fluctuating demand (MoD).
In several countries and cities, this new reality is already with us. MaaS and MoD is a fast-growing sector, with new entrants and players emerging, each shaping the future of travel. We’ve taken a look around the world to find out who is doing what:
Bridj is an on-demand private commuter shuttle bus service. It helps commuters get to and from work in Wetherill Park, Sydney, and as of July 2018, Inner West too.
Passengers can book a shuttle between home and work during commuting hours through a smartphone app. Bridj initially provided services in its city of origin Boston, MA and later also in Washington, D.C. and Kansas City, but these American services ceased operation in April 2017.
Whim, dubbed ‘The Netflix of Transport’, is the leading the way in MaaS provision. Its subscription-based integrated mobility app is also currently being trialled in the Midlands (UK), including National Express and Metro Trams. The app offers users access to a variety of transport options, from taxis to rental cars, public transport and bikeshare. The app learns users’ preferences and syncs with their calendars to intelligently suggest ways to get to and from work.
Moovel, developed by Daimler, enables users to search, book, and pay for rides within a single app. Users can book and pay for car2go, mytaxi, and Deutsche Bahn, as well as use its parking aggregator solutions Park2Gether, in a single experience. Public transportation mobile payments are available in Stuttgart and Hamburg. This is also being testing in Boston, Portland and Helsinki.
Qixxit, created by public transport provider Deutsche Bahn, has access to more than 21 services and enables users to plan routes according to their needs. It offers carsharing, ridesharing and bike-sharing options; it identifies ideal train connections and shows all travel possibilities for users to compare and choose from.
Beeline was the first digital marketplace and location tracker for private bus services in Singapore, sponsored by Singapore Transit Authority. Anonymous traveller data is made available to bus companies, allowing them to offer services for high demand routes. In addition, new routes can be requested by users.
UbiGo is a fully integrated mobility service that combines public transportation, car sharing, car rentals, taxis and a bicycle system – all in one app interface - with 24/7 support and bonuses for sustainable choices. It is part of project Go, funded by Lindholmen Science Park, with partners from industry, academia and government.
The latest mobility aggregator is a new transportation start-up Shift, a private transit system in Las Vegas which has a fleet of private bicycles, tiny smart cars, Teslas, shuttles and on-call valets, which are used to offer unlimited short trips to subscribers, with 20 minutes free per trip, pickup and drop-off. The company guarantees that users can be on their way with the most efficient transportation means within five minutes of interacting with the app.
There’s no denying that mobility as a service across a choice of transport modes is the future of personal travel and at some point, transport companies will need to be part of it in order to survive.
The nirvana for the digitally enabled traveller is to be able to get on any type of public or private transport as part of their daily commute, without the need for tickets, barriers or to make any payments and be charged the cheapest fare for their journey after they have arrived at their office.
However, in the UK it’s going to be a while before this vision becomes a reality, nationally at least. The fragmented, franchise-driven model of public transport and the competition between both franchises and different transport modes has historically hampered co-operation. Often network and legacy transport providers’ technology isn’t advanced or joined up enough to allow them to track passengers across the entire journey whether it’s one or several modes – let alone attributing what proportion of journey revenue goes to which. Blockchain could provide the technical solution to the latter challenge, if transport providers agree to use the same ledger.
In cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham where the influence of local government and public-private partnership is more apparent and the network area is bounded, MaaS and MoD is a much closer reality. At a national level its important that each transport provider digitises its offering, moves to an open architecture and makes its travel data available to 3rd parties to enable this new wave of mobility services.
We’re working with some of Britain’s largest transport companies helping to ready them for the next phase in transport solutions. Come and talk to us about how we can help you.