Workshop: Policy making for open Mobility as a Service

Discussion from the TravelSpirit Conference, 26 September 2017

James Gleave, Transport Futures and TravelSpirit UK Board

Mobility as a Service poses a significant challenge to policy makers. Transport has traditionally been approached in a siloed mentality. Buses have their approach to ticketing, rail has another, aviation has yet another. That works for those industries, and in some cases extremely well for customers, if considered within the confines of that industry. After all, few can say that nobody has benefitted from a policy decision to liberalise air space, bringing on the boom in low cost airlines.

Mobility as a Service looks across these silos and looks to deliver a good service to the end customer. To realise its benefits not only requires policy interventions, but a new approach to how transport policy is developed.

There are a variety of ways that governments can intervene in markets in policy terms, but a big challenge with Mobility as a Service is that the future of this emerging field is uncertain. Policy making, by design or by accident, seeks to provide certainty or is dependent upon it.

In the words of a civil servant participating in the workshop:

Mobility as a Service is fast emerging, so the traditional policy making procedures are not up to keeping up with this pace. We need to explore new ways of making policy.

The workshop discussion was framed by these developments. Participants were introduced to OneTeamGov, a community led by civil servants across Whitehall with the close engagement of outside organisations. It focusses on changing and reforming policy and public services for citizens through practical action. They are guided by a set of principles, which are:

  • Work in the open and positively
  • Take practical action
  • Experiment and iterate
  • Be diverse and inclusive
  • Care deeply about citizens
  • Work across borders
  • Embrace technology

The focus of their work is on quick, practical actions, and developing policy through engagement and experimentation. Hence why this is ideal for developing policy for Mobility as a Service.

The TravelSpirit workshop session started off by identifying the challenges policymakers face in developing and delivering an open mobility as a service. What was great about this discussion was that out of a group of 20, only 6 actually identified themselves as ‘policy people’, with just one in central government. So policy makers were able to share their challenges with non-policy people, and those people in turn were able to provide their perspective on the challenges.

In the second part of the session, the group focussed on practical actions. In such discussions, it is easy to get side-tracked into large-scale interventions like changes in law, or be very general in the solutions (e.g. do more experiments). Instead, the group was prompted to think of more creative, and short term solutions.

The group discussion was also useful in terms of ‘flushing out’ the large scale interventions and general solutions, so that the group could focus on more detailed, practical action. To finish with, all members of the group wrote down an action that they and the group could take in the short term to meet the challenges discussed.

The discussion and findings were very broad and diverse – a flavour is set out below.

What we found

A big challenge is that policy making is too solution led, rather than being open to solutions. How does public policy keep up with this? Or does the public not understand, through a lack of knowledge? There is a specific link to MaaS here. How to determine what the solution is can be an easy sell, but not good for policy making.

If you have to explain it to a policy maker, does it exist? Mobility as a Service seems to be a policy maker’s idea, with policy makers looking to will it into life.

Perhaps we (transport planners) approach MaaS from too much of a public policy approach. MaaS could be led by consumer choice, and so it is up to regulators to interpret and be flexible.

Everyone at the conference and in this group has their own definition of MaaS based on our own objectives, and what we want MaaS to achieve. The current consulting framework is not only slow, but is suited to those who are willing to write in and who want to be consulted.

Reflecting this, perhaps a critical challenge is to develop an ongoing, flexible roadmap for the policy making for MaaS process? Trying to visualise this is a huge challenge in itself, but is critical in helping to sell the process and the means of developing policy accordingly. Not all policy makers are sold on the concept of MaaS remember!

There is a danger that we could be seen as too anti-car. That leads to the question – are we trying to get people out of cars as an objective of MaaS? Instead, the focus could be on realistic solutions for local authorities and other policy makers. Focus on economics, social impacts, and policy making instead?

MaaS also needs to understand how it meets the wider policy need. This then allows for a more realistic policy discussion. Ask not what policy can do for MaaS, but what MaaS can do for policy! What opportunities does MaaS bring in the likes of health policy, economic policy, social policy to name a few?

Critical to a lot of this is developing a convincing story. Identifying what the compelling narrative is, so that the proposition of MaaS for policy makers of all levels is overwhelming. There is a risk with this that it won’t deliver to those level of benefits, however. So what can government of all levels do to kick start this debate on what the compelling narrative is?

There has not been much discussion on local authorities. For them, a huge issue is risk. How can you develop new, innovative policies where there is no evidence, or business case for doing so? There is an urgent needs to get smaller towns and cities to have the power and confidence to deliver MaaS style solutions, and to make a difference.

It is also concerning about the breadth of representatives in the MaaS discussion. There are a lot of policy makers and businesses. What about community groups? Volunteers? Under-represented socio-economic and demographic groups? A priority should be to get out there and listen much more.

The UK Government Digital Service is an excellent model for engagement. There is a need to do much more revealed preference research, with good quality data and use of ethnography. Real data, based on real behaviours, not what people tell us that they do!

There is also a need to move the general conversation in transport away from the commute. Not everything is about providing for commuters!!

More discussion of these issues on James Gleave’s Transport Futures blog.

Smarter Travel LIVE! 2017

MKArena, Milton Keynes, 19-20 Oct

Practical Applications of Intelligent Mobility for Sustainable Towns and Cities

Smarter Travel Live! is one of the highlights of the packed 2017 innovative mobility calendar. TravelSpirit is very much on the agenda. Dr Maria Kamargianni, UCL MaaSLab, will be chairing the session on MaaS in practice, with Chris Lane from TfWM speaking about the development of Whim in the West Midlands.

Book now!

#smartertravellive

Sponsored by: ATKINS | Innovate UK | SYSTRA | TS Catapult

What’s on:

  • Street of the Future Exhibition – a live indoor demo of the latest products that will showcase the future of intelligent transport and street design. See more here.
  • Project Showcase – discover the Smart Mobility projects that are driving progress across the UK and Europe through 80 ‘bar table’ presentations. See more here.
  • Speakers – Over one hundred expert speakers to be announced over the coming weeks (see programme). Keynotes include:
  • David Bragden, Chief Executive, NYC Transit Center
  • Ian Meikle, Director of Infrastructure, Innovate UK
  • Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Transport, DfT
  • Paul Campion, CEO, Transport Systems Catapult
  • Geoff Snelson, Strategy Director, Milton Keynes Council
  • Stan Boland, CEO, FiveAI
  • Karine Dognin-Sauze, Vice President, Lyon Metropolis
  • Iain Forbes, Head, Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles
  • Philippe Crist, Project Manager, International Transport Forum at OECD

Agenda:

  • Mobility as a Service
  • Intelligent Mobility
  • Accessibility & Integration
  • Customer Experience
  • Data and Applications
  • Smart Ticketing
  • Walking & Cycling
  • Cyber Security
  • EVs and EV Infrastructure
  • Air Quality, Safety and Healthy Streets

PROGRAMME | SPEAKERS | EXHIBITION | TICKETS

 

Conference Latest: TravelSpirit 2nd Annual Conference: Date and Venue Announced

TravelSpirit has opened bookings for its next conference:

Practical approaches to embedding Mobility as a Service in the UK

26 September 2017 | The Atrium, London NW1

Interested in Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and want to know more about issues around ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’, that will impact the spread of MaaS?

This conference showcases practical approaches to embedding Mobility as a Service in cities, towns and rural areas.

If you would like to explore issues around Mobility as a Service provision, and understand how to evaluate potential MaaS services, book now!

Speakers include: Jeni Tennison, OBE, Open Data Institute, Maria Kamargianni, UCL Energy Institute, Chris Lane, Transport for West Midlands, Chris Perry, MaaS Global, Gary Stewart, WayraUK and Si Ho, TravelSpirit Foundation.

Find out more

 

Whitepaper 3: Autonomy: The role of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in Public Transportation and Urban Mobility for Cities

A range of autonomous vehicles (AVs), enabled by Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (RAI), are necessary for the evolution of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) as a global resource.

This white paper sets out our initial position and frames the debate around developments in autonomous mobility and how it can shape the new mobility frontier. It identifies concerns about autonomous transport solutions being developed by technologists, without a broader public policy framework. We highlight the risks that this direction of business development poses and how technology-driven innovation may present a serious threat to the vitality of our society.

Whitepaper 3: Autonomy: The role of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in Public Transportation and Urban Mobility for Cities

Authors: Giles Bailey, Si Ho, Beate Kubitz, Sophie Peachey

TravelSpirit publishes first white paper on openness in Mobility as a Service

12 May 2017

The TravelSpirit Foundation published its first white paper today. Titled “Open or Closed? The Case for Openness in Mobility as a Service”, the paper looks at the components of Mobility as a Service and the positive role that the open Internet of Mobility can play. It discusses how open systems and data will improve journeys and ensure new forms of mobility have a positive impact on the public realm.

DOWNLOAD: Whitepaper 1: Open or Closed? The Case for Openness in Mobility as a Service

For further information:

Beate Kubitz, Director of Policy and Communications

beate.kubitz@travelspirit.io  | 07974 369240

Whitepaper 1: Open or Closed? The Case for Openness in Mobility as a Service

There are many elements involved in building the Internet of Mobility. The MaaS ‘ecosystem’ requires contributions from road and rail at the core of public transport to the new disruptors in bike-share and on-demand taxis; to the platform providers which serve up travel options to individual travellers. And in between are various forms of data collection, provision and aggregation, along with the many components of back office payment systems.

In this context what we mean by ‘open’ is many layered. Open can be via the provision and use of open data or open source code. Or, via the growth of local eco-systems of providers who use these open tools to create new businesses and business models. Or through the sharing of data.

‘Closed’, on the other hand, creates proprietary systems which, often as not, will not work with other functionally similar systems within the same sector. Yet convergence is often desirable for efficiency.

This white paper explores the case for openness in Mobility as a Service.

DOWNLOAD TravelSpirit White Paper 1: Open or Closed | May 2017

UCL offers Fully-funded PhD studentship in transport modelling and Mobility as a Service

UCL-Energy invites applicants for a fully-funded four-year PhD studentship in transport modelling

The Urban Transport & Energy Group at UCL Energy Institute invites applications for a fully funded four-year PhD studentship covering UK/EU fees plus stipend to focus on the development of the supply components of an advanced transport and energy activity based model able to simulate the multidimensional impacts of new mobility services on travel behaviour, traffic congestion, and energy consumption.

Application details

Vision for Shared eCAV Opportunity Launched

“We are heading towards a chaotic approach to public transport that will work because MaaS operating through size and cost-appropriate electric vehicles (AKA buses) will deliver high definition mobility” says Steve Reeves, Head of Business Development at Woodall Nicholson, one of the oldest established coachbuilding companies in the UK, based in Bolton, Lancashire. It dates right back to the 1820’s, when its major market was the building of horse-drawn hansom cabs and carriages. Known nowadays, locally for their UK market leading production line of hearses and limousines, the firm has been placing significant investment in its growing accessible mini-bus business, Mellor Coachcraft, which produces the vehicles out of their factory in Rochdale.

Steve’s full article is provided below:

“My work with Mellor Coachcraft, alongside some amazing people working together on the Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) Grand Challenge, and in particular Ben Davis, founder of robotics systems firm, GOBOTiX, has led me to believe that bus autonomy is not as far away as people think. A recent tour of University of Salford’s Robotics and Artificial Intelligence capabilities has also, simply, ‘blown my mind’.

Within the parameters of a public-transit/private-operation collaborative agreement; autonomous public transport systems are possible soon, through Shared CAV.

The idea behind Shared CAV is not new. In 1852, Elisha Otis invented the modern elevator as a form of autonomous transport.

In some ways, Shared CAV can be compared with the elevator. People will be carried safely without a driver along a fixed route, and the service will be on-demand. When related to the conveyance of passengers we call this idea the Horizontal Elevator and the path along which it runs a Virtual Tramway.

Just as the Otis elevator made skyscrapers possible, elevators being the enabling technology, similarly, Shared CAV will revolutionise public transport by enabling ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS) to scale outside of London, New York and Berlin.

The UK Government recognises the potential contribution CAV can make to economic growth through the enhanced ability to transport goods and people more efficiently and effectively. By deploying emergent technologies and encouraging collaboration across different sectors, the opportunity exists to generate the required improvements in a sustainable manner.

The UK Gov’s Innovate Programme and the official autonomy policy unit (Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles) has actioned considerable support through grants for collaborative agreements between companies that can deliver a combination of 3C capability, security, vehicle platform technology, robotic interfaces and Artificial Intelligence, all leading to vehicle autonomy.

Without the full support of local transit and public authorities, roadways cannot be prepared for near-time vehicle autonomy. Colleagues from Mouchel explained during Shared CAV development workshops that roadways selected to host the virtual tramways will need a degree of light infrastructural support to work safely. In some instances, a council, even a parish council might be able to access this potential though their active involvement.

Who will be Shared CAV’s early adopters?
We expect there to be high demand for a turnkey solution from:
• Urban areas that are in current grid-lock.
• Industrial estates access through parking lots
• Airports optimising passenger flow
• Feeder routes for hospitals and resort complexes

Shared CAV is for people and the places who understand that the only important ‘driver is ‘access’, not ownership! As the UITP report, Autonomous vehicles: a potential game changer? describes, these places will benefit from the creation of a flexible on-demand system will tackle congestion head-on, by reducing the number of single-occupancy vehicles on our roads, by connecting to and strengthening radial mass transit routes and meeting orbital travel needs that are often less well served by public transport.

The time is right for a new approach to mobility. An interconnected world needs a transport network delivering mobility options that offer services far exceeding current driven platforms.

Manchester has a benchmark tram system. It brings many parts of the city together and is generally regarded as a success by those that use it. However, new trams come with a massive cost burden and considerable disruption in their construction. Indeed, this may well be the last metropolitan tram project of its size in the UK again?

The Virtual Tramway, a new concept developed by GOBOTiX, does not have guide rails or tracks, it is created using GIS mapping tools and relies on predictive analysis data embedded within the maps supported by on-board analytical capability delivered through industrial computers sensors, cameras and CCTV. Integration with the urban traffic systems is achieved using wideband width communications platforms connected to a resilient command centre.

The development teams at Woodall Nicholson engaged with key industry partners and specialists believe that early Shared CAV vehicles will consist of appropriate-sized buses (between 8 and 16 seats) that can work alone, or, as part of a platoon. These buses may be traditionally driven too! A truly three-for-one proposition.

We already have a ground transport mix of rail, trams, buses, taxi, private hire, cycling, walking, etc. Introducing to the ground network autonomous capability and MaaS technology will create widely diverging outcomes, rendering long-term prediction of the behaviour of the system challenging, to say the least. This becomes even more evident when you consider the direction Airbus is taking the single-occupancy travel market, with its intention to test a self-flying taxi by the end of the year.

We are heading towards a chaotic approach to public transport that will work because MaaS operating through size and cost-appropriate electric vehicles (AKA buses) will deliver high definition mobility. Therefore, I have decided to join the TravelSpirit Foundation, which has been established to accelerate the adoption of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) systems that integrate discovery, booking, and payment of multi-modal transport service offerings under an open marketplace, which will give my clients, like Woodall Nicholson, a far greater access to this evolving new market opportunity.

The time may come where costly mass transit delivery platforms such as the 110 passengers ‘bendy buses’ or even the iconic London Double Decker will be on our roads simply to manage peak ‘rush’ hour transportation, particularly when platooning smaller buses cannot cope. Size appropriate Big-Taxi and LiteBus will carry the load during normalised traffic periods.

We should dispel one myth; the proponents of Shared CAV are concerned about enabling new on-demand services, not removing drivers from existing scheduled service routes.

Ben Davis tells me that the Virtual Tramway system will operate without stations and without a timetable, be on demand. He explains that its frequency will be managed by need.

The main advantages of this first-step, flexible platform are low implementation costs and high replicability. To guarantee the safety of such a new system, similar signage and painted “rails” as would be deployed for Trams will be used to alert people and road users to the fact that an autonomous bus runs on the route.

The system will be safer as people will treat it as a tram and not take the kind of risks they might with a small pod. Think along the lines: how do you drive when next to a bus vs. a car? You exercise more control and provide it with more room.

Crossing a multi-lane junction is challenging even for drivers. CCTV will be installed to stream data in real time to the vehicles navigation system, this will give the vehicle the advantage of seeing around corners. A Virtual Tramway track does not need stations, overhead power or rails but it does need some on-the-ground support, all of which can be managed by councils as small integrated projects. The more Virtual Tramways we create, the lower the costs and better return on investment.

The solution is flexible enough to incorporate future changes and advancements in technology, unlike a real tramway. The vehicles will be able to deviate from their “Virtual Tramway” under certain circumstances only, when safe to do so. In the event of there being a problem the vehicle would stop, and a tele-operator will slowly move the vehicle out of the way of others to allow for transition from manned to unmanned once the system is proven.

All this means that as the system matures beyond the end of the project, it will increase its capability to deal with changing situations and run in a less constrained way as safety permits.
In Summary:

DFT compliant business cases, developed by Transport for Greater Manchester and Steer Davies Gleave and Alliance Manchester Business School have focused on the Virtual Tramway solution operating a 16 Seat Electric LiteBus with the necessary infrastructural support demonstrates a healthy return on investment of 2.6. This number does not include out of hours running and is solely based on new services. The actual number could be as high as 4.0

The key enabler and first step towards the outcomes predicted in the UITP report could be Virtual Tramways. They are low in cost and disruption, predicted to be inexpensive to operate and will be safe. Virtual Tramways is an idea that could open the Shared CAV potential to an infinite number of other vehicles delivering a myriad of functions. This solution brings CAV into urban environments and will not be limited only to electric buses.

The cost of laying and maintaining a tramway or guided bus route can be excessive compared to a Shared CAV solution that has much higher speed of deployment and is scalable. In other cases, Shared CAV can strengthen the business case for a hard infrastructure investment, by widening out the benefits.

The Government are right to promote CAV as an idea, and I am glad to see it feature highly in the consultation for a new Industrial Strategy for the UK. In my view, they may have to accept slightly more constrained (but still driverless) public transport solutions in a step-by-step scalable model. Smart transport and communication businesses are currently researching the platforms and technologies needed to deliver this exciting vision for the future, supported by growing clusters, industry-led consortia, such as, here in the North, the Northern Automotive Alliance and the Northern Robotics Network.”

Steve Reeves, Head of Business Development, Woodall Nicholson

International Association of Public Transport promote AVs as key enabler for MaaS

According to a new position paper from UITP, there is an opportunity to enable cities to function with 80% fewer cars, but this will only happen if AVs are introduced in fleets of driverless shared autonomous vehicles of different sizes that reinforce an efficient high capacity public transport network.

Shared fleets, integrated with traditional public transport offer the possibility of a better urban future, cutting noise and environmental pollution, improving traffic efficiency and parking and in the process liberating vast amounts of urban space for other purposes. “When 1.2m people around the world die each year in car-related deaths, 90% of which are due to human error, the road safety benefits are also significant,” said UITP Secretary General, Alain Flausch.

Public authorities must take an active role in the roll-out of AVs to ensure their shared use with measures to encourage shared mobility and limit single car occupancy (eg. road pricing or taxation) and provide ‘Mobility as a Service’ platforms (as whoever controls the platform controls travel behaviour). Trials should also begin on public roads to see how best to integrate AVs into the mobility eco-system and preparations made for the impact on employment as some driving jobs could disappear and others needing specific skills could arise.

For more information: http://www.uitp.org/autonomous-vehicles

Alstom step towards MaaS-on-rail, through acquisition of Nomad Digital

TravelSpirit Foundation ‘gold medalist’ partner, Alstom, have acquired Nomad Digital to strengthen their capability to help the rail industry migrate to Mobility as a Service. Nomad Digital employs around 230 people, and is headquartered in Newcastle (UK), with 13 offices worldwide, principally in the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Canada, Australia and the United States. Its turnover represents more than GBP 30 million.

Nomad Digital, founded in 2002 in the United Kingdom, is a world leading provider of passenger and fleet connectivity solutions to the railway industry. Nomad Digital’s solutions include passenger WiFi, innovative Passenger Information Systems and on-board passenger portals, entertainment and media platforms. Nomad Digital’s is an ideal position to fully leverage the integration and convergence of both Rail and Information & Communications Technologies (ICT) required to enable the MaaS revolution in an industry now ripe for disruption [more detail].

For more information on the MaaS Challenge for Rail – led by our CEO, Alex Burrows please read here.