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Addressing the issues for sustainable Mobility-as-a-Service

Following the latest Intelligent Transport webinar supported by HERE Technologies, we put the audience’s questions to the speakers from HERE, MOIA and Bosch to understand how to overcome the hurdles for sustainable MaaS.

Smart seamless mobility and mobility-as-a-service representation

What is the biggest hurdle for MaaS? Is it the technology, infrastructure or simply a lack of consumer knowledge? What common data specifications are necessary to promote integration?

Remco Timmer, Director of Product Management, HERE Technologies:
Collaboration is probably the key aspect that needs to be improved. The best mode of transportation typically is an intermodal journey, but currently these can be very cumbersome and inconvenient for end users. Collaboration and the exchange of data between mobility operators can help to create more seamless and enjoyable journeys for users. This seamless experience must consist of seamless planning, ticketing, navigation and guidance – ideally, even on the inside of transit hubs where the modal shifts happen.

Sascha Meyer, Chief Product Officer at MOIA:
Part of the concept of MaaS aims to replace personally-owned transportation modes with a range of different mobility services that are tailored to customer needs. For this to happen, cooperation between different mobility service providers is essential to convince people that a transformation in mobility habits is needed.

People will only leave their own vehicles behind if they’re able to switch to a high-quality mix of different offers. MOIA’s own integration in the provider-independent mobility platform hvv switch (from Hamburger Hochbahn) is a good example. Hamburg citizens with the hvv switch app have a platform on which traditional public transport and other shared mobility service offers are bundled – a logical step toward a comprehensive and digitally-enabled mobility offer within Hamburg.

MaaS adoption is a chicken and egg situation between customer knowledge and technological hurdles. Outside the of the mobility industry, MaaS is a concept that few customers would have had a chance to witness or experience. Furthermore, mobility tends to be a routine-driven behaviour that consumers don’t question without specific reason to do so. Investment in technology and marketing/business development of MaaS is required to promote further adoption of the concept, alongside reducing the attractiveness of individual motorised transport.

Elsewhere, the standardisation of technical interfaces (e.g. APIs) can help lower the barrier to technical integration. However, in MOIA’s experience, the barriers of commercial integration are typically much higher than the technical ones. Crafting agreements on data ownership, revenue sharing and liabilities is both time and money consuming. Our advice on promoting MaaS is to first standardise contracts, and then technical interfaces.

After some considerable experience I am convinced that we cannot isolate urban from rural: a system that integrates all modes and caters for all in society is essential. What suggestions do the speakers have for such a system?

Remco Timmer: We should not artificially fragment the landscape into many local urban apps because people will move beyond a single urban landscape. The transition between non-urban and urban will be an attention point in the future, especially as many city governments will demand or incentivise a modal shift through policy decisions.

Sascha Meyer: Traffic-related problems – such as air pollution, noise and lack of space – are mainly found in urban areas. In the future, fewer vehicles will be needed in cities for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Further urbanisation
  • Political restrictions
  • Changing consumer values.

In contrast, rural areas face different problems. While mobility offerings are already expanding in urban areas, rural regions are becoming more and more dependent on their own cars, primarily due to the low availability of alternatives.

Another chicken and egg problem has arisen, too: rural public transport is experiencing lower ridership figures due to demographic change, urbanisation and increasing car ownership, and is therefore reducing services – but this equation can also be flipped around for the opposite cause and effect. Either way, the result is lower passenger numbers, and so on.

With this in mind, on-demand mobility services could become an important pillar for mobility transformation in rural areas. Both private-sector mobility providers and public transport companies are currently developing and testing approaches in suburban and rural areas.  However, the exact potential and the financing models are unclear, since new mobility services are often uneconomical due to low user numbers.

What data is needed to create the ultimate transport offering?

Remco Timmer : The data required would be extensive, but to name a few:

  • Live availability, status, price point and location of transport modes
  • The ability to book and purchase tickets or make reservations for these transport modes – ideally with dynamic pricing dependent on supply/demand (occupancy)
  • High-definition indoor (3D and radio) maps of transit hubs to facilitate intermodal journeys and provide indoor guidance
  • Environmental data, such as weather and air quality
  • Disruption information, such as accidents and events.

Rebuilding smart mobility: shared, safe and sustainable

Did you miss the live webinar with HERE, MOIA, Bosch and ABI Research? You can catch up on demand right now and find out what the panel thinks about the priorities for the urban mobility sector in the wake of the pandemic, the role that location services have to play, and the ways in which electric mobility can be prioritised to make cities greener.

WATCH NOW

What are the biggest challenges when electrifying high-usage fleets? How do you cope with them and are there any prominent/spread methods to automatically compose fleets?

Carolin Reichert, Vice President, Connected Mobility Solutions, Bosch:
One of the biggest challenges of an electrified fleet is optimising fleet utilisation and the avoidance of premature battery aging. Bosch’s “Battery-in-the-Cloud” can significantly reduce battery aging by optimising charging profiles – especially in connection with high-power charging. These cloud services are battery manufacturer independent, supporting a more standardised approach towards mixed fleets.

Sascha Meyer: The challenges MOIA faced were complex. When setting up our own charging infrastructure, one of the biggest challenges was to find the most centrally-located areas possible for our vehicles, while at the same time ensuring a high level of power availability. We realised relatively quickly that the high-power requirements of an all-electric fleet and the required connected load ruled out many locations. However, by calculating simultaneity factors and developing a sophisticated load management system, we managed to realise locations with low grid connection power.

Since 2019, MOIA has gained extensive experience in setting up and operating a decentralised charging infrastructure. In Hamburg, charging points with direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) are now available at three hubs spread across the city, which are supplemented by a decentralised charging point used for charging during shift breaks. In addition, we are increasingly setting up partnerships with companies, such as Vattenfall or Deutsche Telekom, whose charging infrastructure we can use.

Our goal is to optimally distribute our fleet in the service area, minimise empty trips and thus avoid uneconomical journeys as well as relieve traffic congestion. We achieve this through our self-developed fleet control algorithm. It sends the vehicles to the next free charging station depending on their battery status, distance and other parameters. In this way, we ensure that the vehicles are always sufficiently charged and that our infrastructure is optimally utilised.

What are your thoughts on battery lifecycle and the related sustainability issues?

Carolin Reichert: With appropriate battery management, we can extend the lifetime and performance of batteries and gain insights on battery health and residual value. This is the basis for the remarketing of batteries and their use in second-life applications. With this, we exploit another value pool during the battery lifecycle – reducing the refurbishment cost.  This is particularly relevant for used EVs and battery storage systems.

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