close

Padam Mobility

Padam Mobility Masterclass series – #1 A smart ticket to ride: Ask the experts!

Landor Links

Ticketer and Padam Mobility, together with Landor Links, have kicked off the three-part masterclass series to share current thinking about the potential for Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) in Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIPs) across the UK. 

The three-part masterclass series was launched mid-January by Padam Mobility in partnership with Landor Links. The aim of each of the engaging one-hour discussions is to draw out expertise on the integration of DRT into a  user-friendly, effective public transport service. 

In the first Masterclass, Antonio Carmona, General Manager International and Head of UK Sales at Ticketer, and David Carnero, Head of International Business Development and Partnerships at Padam Mobility, together with chair Matt Smallwood, Head of Digital Strategy, Transport for the North, talked about why – and how –  transport operators and public transport authorities should tackle the core problem of integrated ticketing. Below is a small excerpt of the questions and topics discussed during the webinar. The full video can be found on YouTube.  

Integrated Ticketing is key, is one of the main areas that you need to work on to remove those barriers to access the system.” Antonio Carmona

From the start, Antonio Carmona stressed the importance of a seamless payment and ticketing system to encourage people to switch to public transport. Combine with other measures – such as proximity of services, on-demand rides and pricing – it is essential for creating public transport that is more attractive and more used than private cars.

But how can public transport authorities and operators be convinced that an on-demand service can enrich the public mobility offer in a given region? 

It’s important to see DRT as a service improvement, according to David Carnero, rather than viewing it primarily as a profit-making business model. The overriding goal of on-demand transport is perfect integration into the existing infrastructure rather than competing with it – even if there are DRT services that are significantly more lucrative than maintaining fixed bus routes. DRT then has the potential to serve, for example, the first and last mile between the homes and larger transport hubs. People are thus offered a real alternative to their own car, without the DRT service competing with, but rather complementing, the existing public transport network. 

It’s about not competing with structural – fixed-line – transport, it’s about ‘adding to’ or giving more flexibility to the structural transport. To do this it has to have simple fares and integrated ticketing.” David Carnero 

Data sharing is an obstacle to an integrated ticketing system 

It’s clear that seamless travel – without tedious questions like “Which ticket do I need for which mode of transport?” or “Where can I buy my next ticket?” – is desirable. But why is it that the public transport offer in the UK resembles more of a patchwork quilt, and trips from A to B in many cases require more than just a single ticket? 

Antonio believes that there needs to be more confidence among operators to participate in a common system: 

In every beginning of integration processes you will see challenges about sharing data but in the end, once you have proven to the different operators that there is a benefit to them in participating in the system and sharing some data that is relevant, then those frictions will probably disappear. It is not a technical problem, lots of data is available. [The challenges are] more related to the agreements that are in place.”  Antonio Carmona 

One ticket – many payment options?

Transport-on-demand services are currently exceptional in most regions of the UK. People may have become accustomed to a neighbourhood service that they order over the phone. However, the technical booking options via app or website tend to deter older users in particular. Similarly, when it comes to the question of payment options. There are people who refuse to pay via an app or prepay card and prefer to pay in cash directly in the vehicle. Are these users going to be excluded from the ‘new’ transport services sooner or later? 

The simple answer is ‘no’. DRT services, as offered by Padam Mobility, are public services and do not exclude any user group. Providers need to ensure that people can use the service in the easiest way for them, for example, by ensuring that cash payment remains possible on board in addition to the booking option by telephone or online. Only then can it be guaranteed that the services remain inclusive.

How can the step towards more ‘on-demand’ succeed? 

One aspect, in particular, becomes clear during the discussion: the answers are there, DRT as a real enrichment of a region’s mobility offer does not have to remain a pipe dream, but can be successfully established with a well-thought-out approach.   

Nevertheless, at the moment, just before the launch of the Enhanced Partnerships within the Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIP), many public transport authorities and operators are faced with the major challenge of taking the first step. A reasonable, feasible plan has to be worked out to have a chance of securing some of the public funds. 

To have the best chance of success, careful data analysis and simulations before the actual service goes live is key to tailoring a DRT service for a specific area. There is not a standard service model for every region. In this context, David emphasises that Padam Mobility’s focus is on areas away from the big cities which need careful analysis.

Careful testing and data analysis will determine the best approach to serve a rural or suburban area. Where areas are unlikely to be profitable it’s important to provide a carefully designed service that supports the network and other fixed-line services. 

The next webinar will look at the topic of DRT and Data with Landor Links on 10 February 2022 at 10:30 am (UTC). You will find the link to the registration form further down in this article. 

A question of trust 

Can people who have become accustomed to a timetable just “change” like that? Certainly, the question of how to bring users along on the path to more flexible, demand-responsive transport should not be underestimated. Humans are creatures of habit. If the service does not work as intended or as they are used to, there is a risk that people will turn away and reject it. Gaining the trust of end-users may require introducing services in parallel, and will rely on full transparency, for example by guaranteeing real-time tracking of the journey or by providing users with push notifications on their mobile phones in case of delays and other problems. 

I think [the bottom line is] that the technology and the systems around that are a real key enabler for that integration piece, for that customer journey, and for I think [the issue of communication with users].” Matt Smallwood 

It certainly takes time to make new mobility services attractive to a broad population. Reliable support and transparent communication with operators and end-users will add to the eventual success of DRT.

Watch the entire masterclass with Matt Smallwood, Antonio Carmona and David Carnero on YouTube

We would also be very happy to welcome you on 10 February at 10:30 am (UTC). Then we’ll be covering in detail how the right data analysis contributes to a successful implementation of an on-demand service. Click here to register. You are also welcome to send us your questions in advance (use the dedicated text field in the registration form).

 

Find out more about Padam Mobility 

This article might interest you as well: Ticketer and Padam Mobility announce partnership to further develop the Demand-Responsive Transport landscape in the UK 

Lire la suite

How to ensure the success of your Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) service through targeted data analysis?

booth

 – Padam Mobility insights on  service data analysis at the Smart Transport Conference 2021

The basic premise of Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT): smart vehicle routes that group as many passengers as possible, matching trips to capacity is seen as a promising solution to establish emission-free transport. It’s both efficient and reduces the need for individual cars. 

However, DRT services are by no means the same. The deployment of an on-demand service does not follow a template that can be applied equally to all regions and areas. The key to successfully establishing a DRT in a given area is based on the analysis and correct interpretation of data collected before the service is introduced and whilst it is operational. Good data will show how the service is being used, and whether there is room for improvement. For example, data can show whether the fleet size is optimal for the service and how it works with the existing transport network (for example, whether the on-demand service ensures connections with train services,  or competes with high-frequency buses at peak times).

How does targeted data analysis help in establishing a DRT service? – Presentation by David Carnero at the Smart Transport Conference 2021 in London 

The Smart Transport Conference took place in London at the end of November. Bringing together, mobility experts, innovative transport companies and top politicians, including Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Trudy Harrison, the conference addressed the most pressing mobility issues of our time: how do we achieve the climate targets we have set ourselves, how can innovative transport concepts be promoted, or how should the infrastructure change in order to encourage the use of lower-emission means of transport?

The entire UK team of Padam Mobility was represented at the event in London. David Carnero, Head of International Business Development, spoke in the breakout session “Technology and Innovation” about the important role of data in the development of on-demand services. 

david
David Carnero, Head of International Business Development at Padam Mobility, speaking at the Smart Transport Conference in London on 30 November 2021.

Using specific examples, each showing anonymised real data scenarios from customers, David highlighted the importance of the skilled eye of Padam Mobility’s mobility experts in launching and sustaining DRT services. 

Choosing the right fleet size

The choice of the fleet size is crucial to the success or failure of an on-demand service. If the fleet is too large, it is costly to maintain, vehicles are not optimally utilised, and additional staff are required. However, if there are not enough vehicles to meet the demand, other problems tend to arise that damage the overall project. Users trying to book a journey who are repeatedly unable to do so because all vehicles are already fully booked may turn away from the service. This problem is illustrated by David in his presentation (see Figure 1). The chart shows the daily average refusal rate (blue bars) and the total refusal rate (orange line) are very high at almost all times of the day. In this situation more vehicles are needed to meet demand, and this will be suggested to the operator.

fleet size
Figure 1

Service optimisation – the “right” configuration can work wonders 

A further example shared by David illustrated how skilled interpretation of data can have an impact on services. Before the realignment of the DRT offer shown in Figure 2, rather low user numbers were recorded. This could be for many reasons, however, it would be wrong to jump to the conclusion that people in the region are not open to on-demand mobility. 

The service was adjusted, and from around August 2020, the data shows passenger numbers increasing rapidly. This suggests that the service change made about two months earlier succeeded and meets the users’ actual needs much better. In this case, several stops were added and the service area was enlarged.

Enlargement
Figure 2

Service optimisation – extensive possibilities of data analysis and evaluation   

David used further examples to make clear how extensive the analyses are that Padam Mobility conducts for their customers, and that careful data evaluation can be decisive for success. 

For example, he illustrated the possible reasons why trip searches might not lead to bookings. Figure 3 shows the point at which (around November 2020), the conversion rate of searches to bookings increases significantly compared to the previous period. User analysis indicated that people may have been unable to find suitable stops in their proximity or were not satisfied with the given service area. In this case, a service enhancement resulting from the analysis has helped to accommodate more user queries and thus increase the ratio of search queries to actual bookings. 

Conversion
Figure 3

Expansion of the service area, a larger fleet size or more stops are not the only possible adjustments. Service configurations which are matched to the individual circumstances and needs of each region are essential. Padam Mobility tests and measures the most appropriate models. For some areas, a free-floating model, which does not envisage a fixed routing, may make sense, for example, in order to save vehicle kilometres and offer passengers a flexible and individualised driving experience. In other regions, however, a feeder configuration may be more appropriate, for example, if a specific transport hub, such as a train station, is the main point of contact for most on-demand users. In very large areas, it may be beneficial to define zones in which a specific on-demand service operates. This helps the operators to keep a clear overview of the performance and the resources needed for each service. 

Figure 4

What steps can public transport authorities and transport companies derive from the findings? 

If cities, municipalities, companies, etc. have decided to tackle the project “on-demand mobility” and offer their citizens or employees a convenient, flexible transport service, the diverse implementation possibilities of DRT services can seem overwhelming at first. 

Where to start? Which configuration is right for my area? – Fortunately, Padam Mobility’s team of experts can help. 

We know what data is needed to make an initial assessment of the future service model of on-demand transport. We also offer simulations and pilots designed to closely monitor the service over a period of time and collect data that will make the service design as effective as possible. Of course, we also accompany our clients in the long term, closely assisting drivers and the management team to make decisions at short notice whether meeting acute need or implementing incentive schemes rapidly.  For example, at the beginning of 2021, we set up a service for the on-demand service TAD IDFM in the Paris area, which took vulnerable people to the nearest vaccination centre. A recent example is the “Christmas shopping offer” provided by the HertsLynx DRT. 

A reliable partner who has the capabilities to collect and analyse the data generated by an on-demand service in a professional and far-sighted manner is crucial for the successful implementation of a DRT service. The right choice can ensure that on-demand mobility not only becomes an important part of the modal split but is also financially viable.

 

This article might also interest you: With HertsLynx, Padam Mobility continues its expansion in the UK 

Learn more about Padam Mobility 

Lire la suite
1 2 3 4 11
Page 2 of 11