Workshop: The role of openness in commercial collaboration

Workshop: The role of openness in commercial collaboration

Discussion from the TravelSpirit Conference, 26 September 2017

James Datson, Transport Systems Catapult

Everyone in the transport system wants information – in increasing amounts of detail. From travellers’ expecting real time updates to their journey times to operators basing service provision on demand forecasting.

This session looked at the types of information valued by three key parts of a MaaS system; traveller, operators and transport authorities.

The workshop participants – drawn from a wide range of operators, authorities and planners – brainstormed the needs of these groups. Whilst some of this information is non-contentious, other elements are commercially sensitive. However all agreed that more open disclosure would benefit the transport system as a whole. At the end of the session the group rated how likely legislation would be needed to create openness and how likely the market would provide it spontaneously.

End User data needs

The group looked at the kind of information that travellers need – and the data that implies.

Real Time Information:

  • Journey information such as real time punctuality, departure time, duration, arrival time, time taken for journey, real time delay and alteration information;
  • Route planning information, forecast real time timetables (not just the next journey), real time journey options from A to B, and route planning that reacts to the network in real time;
  • Qualitative real time information based on traveller needs (and preferences) such as how busy will the train carriage be? Will a later train be less busy? Is it due to rain? Legroom and comfort? Will there be wifi and charging?

Quality, Usability and Reliability:

  • Simplicity: Does it meet my lifestyle and give me value? Does the app work with my diary and other systems? Does it provide door to door service (or at least ensure first and last mile is covered)?
  • Availability: Are services available not just to urban users but other groups e.g. rural users, low income users?
  • Personal and wider impact information is desirable e.g. calories consumed for each modal choice, impact on air quality, effect on the environment;
  • Reliable service reporting: This includes user feedback (c.f. TripAdvisor) and journey time reliability (JTR) reporting.

Pricing:

  • Pricing needs to be transparent and to provide confidence that that this is the cheapest option or best price, and at least clarity whether a railcard/season ticket is better (if not defaulting to cheapest option with use);
  • Total transport cost needs to be clear i.e the sum of all car-bus-train travel per month/year  (including interest);
  • Does it provide payment from one account?
  • Rewards for regular use.

Local Authority data needs

Information:

  • Movement information: Likely journeys, real journey data and the routes people walk/cycle along plus who ISN’T travelling;
  • Sentiment  information: Increasing happiness measures, what incentives work;
  • Actionable insights: Flexible user segmentation, benchmarking data;
  • Subsidies and pricing: Confidence in economic and social value of MaaS, lifetime costs (contract term, not each journey);
  • Service quality: Delays and robustness;
  • Tourism impact: For instance knowledge of who is arriving, when and onward travel options;
  • Efficiency for different groups: Including shoppers, people job sharing, low income groups.

Social and economic impact:

  • Demonstrating how MaaS enables access to education, healthcare, and employment;
  • Potential for partnerships – for instance employers offering MaaS as part of job;
  • Impacts on the area including the effect on public health, social benefits such as sustainable communities, equality and inclusion. How transport coordinates with housing policy.

Service quality:

  • Coverage at the margin;
  • Collision frequency;
  • Crime reduction/ personalisation of safety benefits;
  • Optimise business practices for mobility objectives;
  • Are the needs of the individuals well fulfilled? Are they happy?

Environment:

  • Air pollution/quality;
  • Noise complaints;
  • Impact on congestion.

Operator data needs

Customer Info:

  • Customer behaviour: who is travelling and why? what they are buying?
  • Lifestyle needs of users: What options/alternatives were open to user? What trips do people want to take, but can’t? What area their reasons for travel? How did someone reach their transport choice? Lost sales (& why);
  • Customer needs: What do users want from my services? What services/products can I offer? What creates added value? How do users choose between competing services?
  • Reviews

Service Information:

  • Route information: Trip times (Trip start time +- mins Trip end time +- mins). Is it important to be able to  have a stop off? Can I have more efficient routes?
  • Modal split: What modes a passenger is using over their entire journey and why. Are users using my service as point-to-point or hand-lift to other provider? Could people be on a better transport choice?

Market Information:

  • Total market: Overall passenger movements and market share;
  • Demand: What geographical area is covered and where is there demand for new potential services How are socio-economic changes causing impact e.g. change in shopping habits or working patterns What percentage of users are covered by the chosen operation model? Does the MaaS model provide everything that was provided before its deployment? Information to help identify USP/new USP;
  • Elasticity of demand: Including pricing and price sensitivity – what are my customers willing to pay more for? What incentives change travellers demand?

Starting to look at partnership vs legislation

To round up the workshop, participants began mapping key data needs for each group against the impact and likelihood of partnership (without regulation).

The area in which the group anticipated legislation to ensure openness of data covered was in full operator provision of service information, followed by pricing.

Participants were more optimistic that other essential elements – customer information, and feedback would be shared.

Whilst some people anticipated that sharing information and collaboration would grow the market, other operators were unsure how to make a business case for do this proactively. The group indicated that requiring open service information and pricing would be most effective in creating a level playing field for all within MaaS.

More on open data from the Transport Systems Catapult here.