Mobility-as-a-Service: roaming throughout Europe
Launched in 2017, The IMOVE project comes to an end late 2019. Testing the feasibility of implementing Mobility-as-a-Service on a European scale, Marco Boero, IMOVE Project Coordinator, explains some of the key progressions that the consortium has seen.
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is still the relatively new kid on the block. With ambitions to re-shape the future of mobility and transform the way people travel, MaaS builds on recent advances in ITS technologies and the rise of the mobile and sharing economy, in order to extend the “as a service” paradigm to the mobility sector.
MaaS is all about providing combined mobility packages and seamlessly integrating networks and different means of transport to overcome the existing market fragmentation and go beyond the car ownership model.
Mobile applications are the ideal tools to deliver a door-to-door service within a single subscription, slowly breaking down the walls between different modes of transport
Today, MaaS schemes are disruptors with great potential, but a series of factors have hindered industry-wide take-off, with challenges including public/private mobility integration, information handling and sharing, service interoperability and scalability requirements. For MaaS to truly change the way people move, nurturing actions are necessary, and this is exactly where the IMOVE proposition came in. This H2020 project started in 2017, and planned to accelerate deployment and unlock the scalability of MaaS schemes throughout Europe, ultimately paving the way for a roaming service for MaaS users at a European level.
The IMOVE consortium, featuring 15 partners from eight countries, aimed to bolster the MaaS uptake and promote a selection of targeted initiatives through different strands of activities:
- Investigating and developing a set of Scalability Unlockers as sets of measures, organisational frameworks and operational and business models that enhance the framework conditions for MaaS development and operation
- Developing strategies to facilitate behavioural change towards sustainable mobility concepts
- Designing and implementing a set of building blocks (software enablers) to significantly advance current MaaS supporting technologies, complement existing ITS systems and to enhance interoperability between different MaaS schemes.
IMOVE addressed a broad spectrum of stakeholders across the whole value chain: transport operators, transport authorities, MaaS providers, travellers, data and service providers, ITS experts and companies. The project is currently investigating the envisioned solutions in five demo cities, or ‘Living Labs’: Turin, Greater Manchester, Berlin, Göteborg and Madrid – all of which are currently engaged in MaaS development.
The IMOVE Living Labs
Turin is an important business and cultural centre in northern Italy and the capital city of the Piedmont region. The municipality is a member of the IMOVE consortium, strongly supporting the project and the deployment of MaaS schemes in the Living Lab, in cooperation with IMOVE partners 5T and Urbi. During the project, two pilots were launched. One pilot focussed on corporate mobility management, targeting employees of the local General Motors branch. Employees could use a mobile application to access different mobility options for their trips, including public transport and shared vehicles. For the home to work commuting they were charged privately, while the work trips between two different premises were billed to the company. The second pilot leverages on the same technology platform and mobility choices mix, and was initially designed to target employees of Turin’s municipality, but was finally opened to common citizens upon invitation. With this and other supported initiatives, Turin is managing to foster the business conditions for public and private players to improve the overall mobility offer in town.
Offering a comprehensive mobility mix with a large number of providers: Berlin does it better than anyone. In this Living Lab, an application was developed and marketed by IMOVE partner Urbi. The application already integrated many mobility providers, although users still had to pay each single provider separately. In the Living Lab, Urbi designed mobility packages proposing different services bundles, aiming at providing an improved MaaS experience through a subscription model.
The Gothenburg Living Lab focused on exploring different MaaS business models, agreements and services, mainly through enabling third party reselling of digital tickets, and measures to promote behavioural change and sustainability. The first pilot is a park and ride initiative to stimulate the usage of public transport among motorists. In the second pilot, 132 families in newly-built apartments were provided with a selection of mobility services through a mobile app, instead of a parking spot to discourage private car use.
In Manchester, the Living Lab is coordinated by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), the local transport authority, which operates in a highly deregulated and fragmented market. In such an environment, innovative business models, further studies and integration are the key to empower travellers in choosing and using sustainable, flexible and reliable transport options. The MaaS pilot in Manchester focuses on the airport area and builds on a platform, accessible on the web and the relevant mobile app, integrating different transport modes and operators. It is providing remarkable insights into the commercial appeal and cooperative partnerships required to develop a sustainable MaaS system in a diverse and growing city area.
EMT, the public transport company in Madrid, joined the IMOVE project in 2018, by winning the Open Call for an additional Living Lab – making it the last demo city. EMT is developing a public sector driven mobility ecosystem centred on the development of the “MaaS Madrid” mobile app. As in many other big cities across Europe, in the Spanish capital road traffic is a key issue which presents challenges related to air pollution and congestion. With help from IMOVE, EMT aims to make a big step towards simpler and more sustainable ways of moving around for urban citizens.
Roaming services for MaaS users validated at European level
IMOVE contributed in defining and piloting use and scalability of MaaS schemes in Europe, ultimately paving the way for a “roaming” service for users at a European level. To put this into practice, IMOVE interconnected two of its Living Labs – Berlin and Madrid – enabling a customer of the MaaS operator Urbi in Berlin, who is travelling to the Spanish capital, to purchase mobility services and public transport tickets with the same trusted mobile app they use at home.
Outcomes in IMOVE show that the rollout of full-fledged MaaS schemes is still a demanding challenge, but the project’s multifaceted and flexible approach proved to be an effective way to cope with this complexity
Beyond the IMOVE project
To ensure that the innovations tested by the project are transferred effectively and EU-wide, IMOVE launched an Open Call aimed at selecting Innovation Pathfinders willing to learn from experiences carried out in the project’s Living Labs and be advised in their future implementation of MaaS schemes.
Cities, regional authorities, transport operators, ICT companies already engaged in a MaaS schemes or willing to explore this market and interested in experimenting new solutions, were invited to submit their application to join the IMOVE project and become an IMOVE ‘Innovation Pathfinder’.
The selected applicants, Aeroporto “G.Marconi” di Bologna SpA (Bologna Airport, Italy) and CERTH (The Centre for Research & Technology in Thessaloniki, Greece), will benefit from dedicated training programmes, or so-called Transferability Exercises, aimed at:
- Assessing sustainable business models for MaaS and learning about the drivers and barriers when it comes to their implementation
- Presenting the potentials of Software Enablers (the technical components developed by IMOVE) and improving and extending MaaS functionalities
- Illustrating relevant aspects related to data sharing and analytics, and their impact on commercial sensitiveness and privacy compliance.
The Transferability Exercises will be delivered online with public webinars, dedicated call conferences and email exchanges in which IMOVE experts will assess the current status of the selected Innovation Pathfinders and will provide tailored suggestions on how to refine and improve aspects of the relevant MaaS schemes.
Join the final event
The IMOVE project will be completed in November 2019. To take stock of the project’s main results and communicate its achievements, a final event will be organised on 26 November in Brussels – the day before the Annual Polis Conference. The event proposes a rich agenda that will span from lessons learnt in piloting innovative MaaS schemes to cross-fertilisation between sister EC-funded research projects.