Written by Eric Bruun Ph.D. Senior Researcher, Kyyti Group
Mobility as a Service makes it possible for transport agencies to make their service more customer-oriented and effective. Agencies can broaden their service with door to door travel chains to attract new travellers.
In this article, we want to highlight three issues that transport agencies should consider in order to get the most out of their service.
- Which potential riders you are trying to attract?
Many transit systems have gaps where service is poor. Not just for the first and last mile, but sometimes for large pockets. These might be brought into an integrated network if a mode with lower capacity can be inserted.
Many new modes have proliferated and should be studied for their suitability for filling these gaps. Furthermore, long-existing modes have been made easier to order and use their own apps. Many new mobility companies have APIs which make them ready candidates for integration. Others would take some time and effort.
Once an array of unmet needs by geographic locations has been assembled and the array of candidate modes has been inventoried, the possibility of pairing them up can be investigated. Usually, there will be no one mode to address all needs. For example, even if there are lots of young people willing to try e-scooters, there will still be some older people for whom it doesn’t seem so enticing.
2. Which modes you should be connecting and in what order?
Inhouse transit services
Generally, transit agencies have built and promoted their networks to use more than one mode. Transfers are encouraged. Thus, it would make no sense for a MaaS platform that didn’t use this as their starting point. Otherwise, there is actually regression in service quality.
Interconnecting transit services
Some regions have services that are based on municipal boundaries but nevertheless services overlap and have major connecting terminals. including these interconnecting transit services, the usefulness of MaaS would be much improved.
First/last mile modes
Modes based on smaller vehicles do not have major spatial planning and allocation needs. They can be brought into the MaaS sphere readily if the institutions are agreeable.
Parking, e-cars, car share, etc.
These modes are very dependent upon the layout of transfer points and may or may not be ready to connect. Furthermore, if MaaS is to provide valuable information like the number and location of parking spaces remaining, some sensors and their related software applications must be in place as well.
Tolled highway lanes
Tolling has largely been performed by RFID tags mounted in car windows. But the first app versions have started appearing. This allows for highways to simply be one more mode choice on the MaaS app. The price of lane use can vary with demand. When information about price and availability of parking is also available, a combined price can be offered to compare with the public transport options.
Flexibility to absorb new providers and pricing options
To absorb new providers and pricing options should be easy to if they have a suitable API. In fact, the MaaS app can function as a research aid if pricing of particular mode offerings is varied to test consumer response.
3. What sort of passenger information and ticketing infrastructure is already in place?
Inventory of what is already in use
It is important to know what travel planning services are already available, ticketing options, which terminals and stops have real-time information, what kind of information is available from any automated scheduling and dispatching platforms, and so on.
What is the vintage and integration possibilities for systems with remaining utility and life the state-of-the-art?
Some legacy systems might make sense for an entire replacement anyway. They simply will not be worth the effort to connect with other subsystems replaced with the installation of a MaaS platform. For example, a CAD/AVL from twenty years ago that was based on using a digital radio could be operating on obsolescent servers and field hardware that is now hard to maintain. Unless one is operating a large fleet, cellphone communications to be put in place for MaaS might well have sufficient capacity for reporting vehicle locations as well. As another example, the real-time passenger information might be able to draw its information from the MaaS platform instead of a standalone computer system in the control center.
What was planned for the next few years even without MaaS?
Are there ITS technologies, software packages and field hardware that were scheduled for replacement? These should be reviewed to determine if they should be bundled within a MaaS procurement, or revised in some fashion to be able to integrate.
Are there B2B operations in place?
If some major employers are already using B2B versions of MaaS, these should be studied. Perhaps they might be the building blocks of a regional system. Their existence should be mentioned in any public procurement process, in any case.
We hope you found this article helpful. Read more about Kyyti MaaS Platform and if you have any further questions regarding this topic please contact Kyyti Group MaaS experts.