Openness in Paying for Transport – TravelSpirit White Paper 7

Transport users have long sought to be able to buy transport in one purchase to cover all aspects of their end to end journey. Over the past 50 years there have been many attempts to offer users these services, but most have survived for only a short time or in restricted markets. Technology now offers many new possibilities for more widespread joint ticketing approaches. This paper reviews how opening up payment systems could overcome many of the most important barriers to enable seamless payment for transport across all modes of travel.

Download White Paper

TravelSpirit submits evidence on MaaS to UK Parliament

TravelSpirit recommends openness in written evidence to the UK Transport Committee.

TravelSpirit submitted evidence to the Transport Committee call for evidence on Mobility as a Service last month recommending that the Committee seeks the most open implementation of MaaS possible. Only this approach will accrue the broadest economic and social benefits and ensure access for all, so that those living in rural areas, the disabled, the elderly and the poorest in society — are protected from narrow, self-interest service implementations.

Whilst there are competing definitions of exactly what MaaS comprises, Travelspirit sees that, regardless of what the end state of MaaS looks like, it needs to be based on values of:

  •         Universality, where integrated and connected systems provide a path to sustainable and equitable transport;
  •         Open innovation that rewards sharing information and solutions, to everyone’s benefit;
  •         Global community working to tackle mobility and transport challenges;
  •         Local benefit where positive change is demonstrated at a community level.

In a similar way to the development of the current internet – which would not have been possible without openness in the coding and protocols underpinning it – MaaS requires openness in both technical implementation and business models to allow interoperability, be trustworthy for its participants, and reduce costs and network latency for providers.

Whilst there is significant economic potential from MaaS, with some studies estimating the global market opportunity being up to $1 trillion by 2030, government needs to ensure that an ethos of social and community benefits are embedded within the UK approach to MaaS and its delivery.

Full submission

More about the Transport Committee Inquiry into MaaS

 

image: Wikimedia

Assessing Openness and Maturity in MaaS – our index developed in conjunction with UCL MaasLab

In 2017 TravelSpirit developed an index to asses transport networks’ openness as they move towards Mobility as a Service. This index has been further developed by Richard Goulding at the UCL MaaSLab to assess the readiness of metropolitan areas for the implementation of MaaS systems.

Various characteristics which affect the likelihood of a successful MaaS implementation are assessed to determine an aggregate score showing how ready a city is to implement MaaS.

The calculator can be used to demonstrate what improvements are needed to make a city ready for MaaS. Scores can be compared across cities, showing 
where MaaS providers could have the greatest impact.

Below is a summary of the index to download.

MaaS Maturity Index

For further information email info@travelspirit.io.

TravelSpirit Second Annual Conference

Practical approaches to embedding Mobility as a Service

26 September 2017

Our engaging and thought provoking conference brought together people from across the sectors which are part of MaaS systems including operators, data providers, local and national authorities, consultants and academics. Explore the resources available including workshop summaries and presentations.

Key Resources

Welcome: Chair’s Welcome, Si Ho, TravelSpirit

Keynote: The Opportunity of Open, Peter Wells, Open Data Institute

Case study: Openness in MaaS – UK perspectives

  • Stephan Anescot, MaaS Global
  • Chris Lane, TfWM, James Gleave, Transport Futures
  • Maria Kamargianni / Richard Goulding, UCL Energy Institute Questions

Workshops: Applying openness

Conference papers:

Further resources:

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Presentations

Presentations from the second annual TravelSpirit Conference (26 September 2017) can be viewed below:

Welcome

Developments in MaaS and the framework for the second annual TravelSpirit Conference

Si Ho, TravelSpirit_______________________________________________________________________

Keynote

The Opportunity of Open

Peter Wells, Open Data Institute
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Case Study: Openness in MaaS – UK perspectives

Mobility as a Service, the End of Car Ownership

Stephan Anescot, MaaS Global

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The Openness Index in the West Midlands

Chris Lane, TfWM, James Gleave, Transport Futures

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MaaS Maturity and Openness

Maria Kamargianni / Richard Goulding, UCL Energy Institute
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 Workshops: Applying openness

  

Workshop: Openness and paying for transport

Discussion from the TravelSpirit Conference, 26 September 2017

Derek Halden, Loop Connections and TravelSpirit UK board member

Presentation:

Workshop:

The technology revolution offers huge potential for connected, flexible and better travel opportunities but global companies battle for power to carve out the monopolies through which the greatest future profits could be delivered. Which company will run the default software for autonomous cars, or the ‘go to’ place to make new types transport purchase?

After housing, in developed countries, transport accounts for the largest element of spending in household budgets. There are very large potential prizes for the winners in transport markets.Technology enables transport services to be bought and sold in an online marketplace, but online purchases still make up only a very small proportion total sales for some types of transport. Travelspirit has been looking at why bus and rail transport, for example, remain so closed. A restaurant, retailer or event provider cannot easily offer promotional free bus or rail travel.

At the workshop representatives from the bus and rail industry got together with policy makers, researchers and technologists to identify a roadmap towards more openness. How could bus and rail travel be sold alongside other transport, other services and retail purchases?

The workshop identified three main things:

The message from transport operators to customers remains that the best value, when travelling on their services is from buying direct. What they don’t tell customers is whether another company could provide a better alternative, or even if the customer has made the best choice in their direct purchase. For rail travel, many ticket prices are are regulated, so there are restrictions on how tickets can be retailed which also constrains openness. Government has cast itself in a consumer champion role, but its initiatives to promote multi-operator ticketing and payment systems and information about prices (including rail ticket price anomalies on non regulated tickets), lack the flexibility that has enabled open user friendly systems in other sectors.

Travelspirit could take on a stronger role to highlight gaps in openness and score bus and rail operations according to their level of openness. The Travelspirit ‘openness index’ is one way to achieve this with specific scoring for the openness of payment systems.

There is a need for an “open internet of mobility” where mobility services by bus, rail, taxi, parking, cycles, car hire and other travel can be traded under clear terms and conditions defining the rights of customers when purchasing through an intermediary. Transport legislation will need to be refreshed to clarify customer rights and responsibilities such as what happens if a service does not meet a defined level of performance. If a taxi is held up in road congestion so a customer misses a train losing out on a cheap rail ticket then is the additional cost paid: by the customer (as at present), by the roads authority (for failing to keep the roads congestion free), or the taxi operator (for failing to complete the journey as scheduled). The potential terms and conditions in the open internet of mobility are immensely complex and it can only be built step by step.

Given that taxi, car hire, bike hire, air services and parking all have current levels of openness and commisson structures for third party sales above that for bus and rail, the promotion of mobility accounts and mobility as a service (MaaS) could tend to boost the competitiveness of the more open options. Progress in making bus and rail ticketing more open will be needed to avoid MaaS being a competitor to potentially more socially efficient transport services.

Travelspirit’s survey of the industry identified that everyone wants a payment system that allows one purchase for all modes of transport. Online marketplaces like Ebay and Amazon have shown that purchasers can find better value when offered more choice, provided the sales are backed up with a clear customer service promise. It may be that if all customers were perfectly informed and all transport operators of equal quality then buying direct would offer better value but they are not. There is value to be added from packaging and bundling transport to help people lead more rewarding lives. The barriers to a more open marketplace for transport are less about technology than about the embedded business models for current transport operation.There were many companies like Loop Connections at the workshop looking to bundle and retail services in new ways. This is a potentially very large market, so collectively all of the companies do better if payment systems can become more open.

Once other consultations have taken place with partners, Travelspirit will publish a roadmap to open payments later in the year.

Further resources:

Open Payments Discussion Paper

Further discussion:

Derek Halden Blog

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.