Solent Transport selects consortium for delivery of UK’s first multi-city MaaS scheme

Posted: 27 October 2021 | | No comments yet

Solent Transport has appointed Trafi, Unicard and the Behavioural Insights Team to deliver the pioneering UK-first multi-city £2.4 million Mobility-as-a-Service scheme, which will launch later in 2021.

Trafi bus image

Solent Transport continues to make rapid progress with its Future Transport Zone (FTZ) programme for the Solent region in the UK, most recently awarding a £2.4 million contract to a consortium for the development of a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solution.

The new MaaS product will make it easier to access transport services in the Solent region (population: 1.3 million), which includes Portsmouth, Southampton, South Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The successful consortium – led by Trafi, in partnership with Unicard and the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) – has already started work on developing the MaaS app, which will make travel in the Solent region easier, more accessible, more efficient and more customer focused. The first version of the product will be launched in autumn 2021.

MaaS provides journey planning and payment across every mode of transport in a convenient and compelling way. By integrating the various modes of transport in the region into the app, as well as the systems behind them, Solent Transport hopes to maximise the positive impact of more sustainable travel choices on outcomes such as car dependency, access to employment opportunities and emissions.

Solent MaaS sets new template for FTZ 

The MaaS project is part of the £28.8 million of funding allocated to Solent Transport from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) FTZ programme. The regional MaaS app will be the first multi-city product in the UK and will set a new standard for how to provide future transport services. Building on recent DfT projects, including the Bus Open Data Service, it will align with the vision for all rail and bus services outlined in 2021 in the recent Bus Back Better and Great British Railway (GBR) strategies.

The app, powered by Trafi, will consist of a journey planner, smart ticketing and a payment system, and will experiment with incentives to encourage travellers to use more sustainable modes. It will also include a carbon footprint calculation to help people to make choices that benefit their environment. Rail, ferry and bus connections, as well as bikes, e-scooters and car rental services, will all be available from the MaaS app.

The Solent Go smart travel system, provided by Unicard, will be essential to ensure that the new scheme successfully integrates with existing travel and ticketing options and regional transport operators. The easy use of smart card ticketing within MaaS, which Unicard enables, will help to promote Solent Transport’s mission of transport equality by providing viable options for users without smartphones.

Measuring the impact of MaaS

Solent Transport and the winning consortium will work with the Universities of Portsmouth and Southampton to carry out research into how MaaS changes travellers’ behaviour. Unicard are assisting with the research goals of the project by providing data on existing travel patterns in the region. This will enable the positive impacts of the new MaaS scheme to be quantified and potentially applied to other regions of the UK.

The Behavioural Insights Team’s role will be testing how the MaaS product changes travel behaviour, relative to a ‘control’ group of non-users, and assist in developing the product to make it easier and more helpful for customers to use.