close

Interview

Discussion with Laurent Chevereau, “MaaS” research director at Cerema

MaaS - système d'information intermodale

In 2019, the Cerema (French Centre for Studies and Expertise on Risks, Environment, Mobility and Urban Planning) created the MaaS Observatory, which lists all the MaaS or intermodal systems initiatives on French territory on a single platform. The aim of this platform is to share knowledge about MaaS.

To explore further the issues of Mobility-as-a-Service, we wanted to share views with an expert on MaaS in France. Laurent Chevereau has been Director of “MaaS ” research project at Cerema for nearly three years.

What is Cerema’s approach to MaaS? 

Laurent Chevereau: As with many issues, Cerema has a vocation to provide knowledge. This is why we produce a lot of intelligence and good practices and why we launched the MaaS observatory, in partnership with national partners who bring together all the MaaS players. The idea is to facilitate sharing without necessarily comparing in order to avoid everyone reinventing their own model. Knowledge about MaaS must be a common resource.

For us, as for many local authorities, MaaS must be used to meet specific public policy objectives. In concrete terms, it is not necessarily easy to implement. At Cerema, we are trying to push the need for evaluation: some research has been done on the evaluation of the impacts of MaaS and there is not much, even at international level. In Europe, we see that the impacts are not necessarily positive. The example of MaaS Whim in Helsinki is quite eloquent because it develops the use of public transport but, on the other hand, the modal share of walking and cycling is reduced in favour of car hire.

What kind of advice do you provide for the deployment of MaaS solutions in rural or peri-urban areas?

L.C: To set up a MaaS project, you first have to prioritise the objectives that the territory wishes to address. This is very important, as well as the choice of the target audience, because I don’t think you can make a MaaS for everyone that meets all the objectives.

To sum up, the idea is to define one or two objectives, a main target and then the product: type, ergonomics, pricing policy and support.

In less densely populated areas, there is more of a need for exchange and acculturation to this type of tool, because very often, local authorities do not have as many skills in-house. The financial means are also lacking.

MaaS can have the power to bring together and connect different territories, including the most fragile. For this to happen, digital services must be developed to provide quality intermodal information. However, what are the other major challenges facing MaaS?

L.C: I think there is a major marketing challenge behind this. In large cities, everyone knows the name of the network, but in sparsely populated areas, people do not necessarily know who is in charge of transport and do not necessarily know the name of the network. It is not enough to develop an efficient digital service, it is also necessary to make it known and used, which is not easy in rural areas where digital use is less widespread. On regional intermodal system, we also see that usage is quite low compared to the cost of implementation.

Our publication supports a vision of a sustainable MaaS that should be closer to the territories in order to position itself as a catalyst for mobility offers, including for the most vulnerable populations. How can the development of intermodal logics benefit the territories? Is MaaS the right tool for this?

L.C: I think that we should first of all dissociate regular users from occasional users. In rural areas, alternative solutions to cars (DRT, carpooling, etc.) are going to be difficult to generalise in the short term for everyday journeys. In Saint-Etienne, the interface of the Moovizy application differs depending on whether the user is a regular or irregular user. The proposal of intermodal solutions can be a plus for these areas, but it is above all the multimodal aspect that is important for these areas. These tools can help to identify the right mode at the right time.

The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is one of the main objectives of MaaS. Between noise and pollution, the car is often blamed, especially in city centres. Does the use of the car have a place in a MaaS system?

L.C: At Cerema, we defend the fact that each form of mobility has its rightful place in space and time. To put it simply, in the city, the car has its place especially at night, where there are no more relevant offers or for specific needs of accompaniment / voluminous shopping.

In sparsely populated areas, the car does not have the same negative externalities as in the city. In terms of climate, the impact is roughly the same, but in terms of inconvenience and congestion it is not comparable.

Thus, reducing car use must be an objective, but not necessarily the primary one in all types of territory. In less well-served areas, the primary objective is to enable everyone to have a mobility solution. This may involve solutions that may generate more emissions, but which are largely compensated by modal shifts in dense areas.

MaaS brings together a wide range of actors and raises the question of governance. Taking into consideration the social and environmental role of MaaS, what would be its ideal form of governance?  Who are the most appropriate actors to develop, control and integrate?

L.C: In general, even if private players offer solutions for a certain population, local authorities remain the most legitimate to develop a MaaS. In London, the PTA (Public Transport Administration) was recently obliged to propose a solution for PRMs itself.

Nevertheless, local authorities are looking for the best way to involve private actors, and several are thinking about new types of public-private partnerships.

Is the question of financing the most important issue for MaaS today?

I think so. Today, private players have not yet found a solid economic model, particularly because there is no standardisation yet, nor easy access to sales services.

For public MaaS, local authorities do indeed have financing difficulties. Nevertheless, some MaaS are beginning to emerge because technological solutions are beginning to be available at lower cost.

In other countries, there is more national funding to help deploy MaaS and federate the players.

Intermodality obviously raises the question of the integration of ticketing systems and I believe that this is something that you have studied in detail. Where do we stand today and what are the technical obstacles to the integration of the different operators’ ticketing systems?

Large urban and regional networks often have heavy card-based ticketing. This does not facilitate interoperability with other mobility solutions. However, in recent years, light ticketing based on a back-office has been increasingly developed, in which the support only has an identifier (QR code, M-ticket). On a regional scale, or in large cities, most MaaS will try to mix the two in order not to exclude large transport networks but still take advantage of the benefits of light ticketing, facilitating the integration of digital-based mobility services. In smaller cities, it is easier to base everything on light ticketing.

As part of the MaaS observatory, we have looked into the issue of carpooling and several solutions exist. In Nantes, for example, Klaxit uses the local transport network’s ticketing card: by entering the subscriber’s number on the application, an advantageous rate is offered.

The Dynamic DRT offer is often described as a MaaS enabler. What does the term MaaS enabler mean to you and what do you see as the role of on-demand transport in the MaaS product portfolio?

MaaS has a real vocation to integrate dynamic DRT in its product portfolio, there is a strong interest. However, I am a little surprised that the local authorities are not more involved. This is probably linked to the fact that the dynamic DRT tool is fairly recent


Cerema is a public institution dedicated to supporting public policies, under the dual supervision of the. French Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Authorities.

Cerema shares best practices and contributes to the implementation of accessible mobility policies and services adapted to the social and economic specificities of territories.

 

These articles might interest you:

 

 

 

Lire la suite

Crossed views on MaaS with Hacon

maas

There is no better than our trusted sister company, Hacon, to talk about the topic of Mobility-as-a-Service. The company specialises in developing software solutions that connect different modes of transport into an intermodal travel chain. We interviewed Svenja Katharina Weiß, Marketing Manager and Thomas Wolf, COO of Hacon on their experiences and future visions of MaaS.   

As a leading provider of mobility apps, what experiences have you gained with Hacon so far in the development and implementation of MaaS apps?

Thomas Wolf (TW) : We have noticed that the app is the part of the solution that everyone sees and gets in touch with so it’s of course an important aspect of the overall solution. But actually, we talk a lot more about MaaS platforms than MaaS apps. Why? The app is of course the customer-facing part, and again it’s very important to make sure that there’s great usability, but the intelligence is more in the back office. Implementing a mass project is all about the back office: it’s about gathering the right data connecting with a huge number of mobility service providers  and of course to have a back-office system that helps people to make smart decisions. I would also emphasise that the key aspect of Mobility-as-a-Service is using the system to get access to smarter and faster options. A trip not found will not be booked: MaaS offers a whole new range of opportunities for the passengers and makes people explore their options quicker.

Svenja Katharina Weiß (SKW) : I’d like to add that not only different modes [of transport] but also different actions or processes have to be integrated. We like to call it “Plan, book, pay and travel with one app and one account”. MaaS has to accompany the user through the whole trip and everything that is associated with it. I believe that is the great potential of MaaS regarding intermodal travel that it fits the individual demands even better than single modes of transportation.

What is your motivation to advocate for a stronger MaaS approach and to further develop shared intermodal mobility?

TW: MaaS has become more popular over the past years. One reason for this is that the public and politicians aim to reduce carbon footprint. If you want to achieve this goal, there are all kinds of things you can do and need to do, but one thing people want you to do is to eventually abandon your own car. On the other hand, if you want to abandon your car, then the problem is you need mobility services for every aspect of your life. In that perspective, a car is quite hard to beat because it has been developed to fulfil all these different needs or pretty much all of them.

This is where MaaS comes in because instead of just either riding the train or the bus or bike or renting a car it should give you access to all of these mobility modes. For example, if you would need a car because you want to pick up building material which is going to be difficult by using a bus then you’re just going to use a car for this particular trip thanks to MaaS recommendations. In a nutshell, MaaS  must give people a true alternative to car ownership and that’s why I think it is an important topic these days.

It sounds like MaaS is also about creating a highly individualised travel experience. Is it already possible, for example when creating a user account, to set specific preferences on how somebody would like to travel? 

TW: Yes, we do offer personalisation. There exists already a variety of options a user can choose from, of course, they can also choose if they do or do not want to use bikes depending on their personal situation.  But I think when we talk about preferences in MaaS, an important aspect is people with reduced mobility. In this specific regard, we have lots of options we can offer as well as tools to manage the data. For example, when a wheelchair user arrives on a platform and wants to continue the trip, he or she needs to know if there is a functioning elevator and of course what to do if not. So we can actually route people around a problem. And even though that sounds like we are now talking about the details but in reality, if you are depending on a wheelchair – or have any other kind of disability – then you need to rely on the system, that is something that goes beyond a fancy app and nice-looking interfaces. We need to be able to provide a professional system that takes care of all those details. Especially when it comes to public transport, we have a high responsibility towards disabled people. And that is why I am bringing up that specific example because it goes above and beyond the luxury of preferences.   

SKW: I would like to emphasise the importance of data in order to enhance the overall MaaS experience. On the one hand, MaaS platforms are heavily dependent on high-quality data. This applies, for example, to timetable information or real-time data on the location of vehicles and their availability. This data must be reliable and managed efficiently and securely between the stakeholders. The same applies to the handling of account and payment data e. g. On the other hand, MaaS platforms are generating data and offer great potential for using mobility data analytics to create ever better, tailored mobility offers and to enhance service strategies. 

What happens to the data that the MaaS platform collects? Among the great diversity of MaaS stakeholders, who should “own” this data? Who can in theory use it for data analysis purposes? And how do you or other hosts of MaaS platforms make sure that the data stored is compliant with the EU data protection regulation (GDPR)?

TW: We firmly believe that the data which is generated by such a system belongs into the hands of our customers. Meaning in most cases public transit agencies, public transit operators or in short the public. Because we pay taxes so that there’s public infrastructure, we build public infrastructure and we provide public infrastructure, this is why we believe that the data being generated from such a system belongs to the public – it’s that simple!

Our key philosophy is we provide technology and our clients own the data. They need to be in touch with their users to know if they are happy with the service and to be able to reach out to them in case of an issue. If you don’t own the data you’re not in touch with your users anymore. And we believe that it is mind-blowing if you depend on a third-party provider to learn about what is going on in your own infrastructure.

And to the aspect of storing data in a GDPR-compliant way, this is not only a crucial aspect for our customers but also for the end-users, the passengers. Of course, we are making sure that this data is handled appropriately, we will make sure that nothing wrong happens with this data and that users won’t, all of a sudden, just because they used a MaaS-System or rode a bus, receive advertisements that they never wanted. This is not going to happen with our systems. We believe it is absolutely fundamental that the data stays with our clients and that we store and handle this data safely.

MaaS can have the power to bring together and connect different territories, including the most fragile. To do this, we need to develop digital services that provide quality intermodal information. But what are the other major challenges facing MaaS in low-density, rural areas?

TW: First and foremost, mobility in rural areas is a much bigger challenge than it is in Metropolitan areas. Ironically, even though there are traffic jams in the Metropolitan areas, there are also the most travel options, especially for sustainable travel. It seems absurd but the new modes of transportation show up in areas where you don’t desperately need them because in most cities the public transportation is very good. In contrast, rural areas are clearly not as attractive for anybody who offers mobility services, so I think it takes extra effort to have attractive transportation in rural areas. In my opinion in less densely populated areas, we just have to use resources in a smarter way:  for example, integrate the taxi services that are available already and make them more accessible.

What could be the role of DRT-Services in a MaaS-System, less densely populated areas?

TW: We have noticed that cities or public transit agencies when they think of Mobility-as-a-Service want to offer mobility alternatives to car ownership for a certain region. That means they want to offer a mobility solution for every aspect of people’s life. But if they look at their current infrastructures they eventually find certain gaps and issues – for example at night times or in rural areas.

This is where DRT comes in, it helps to fill those network holes. Whether network holes in a geographical meaning where there is only a poor existing transit service or network holes in a temporal meaning, for example, during night hours, where it simply does not pay off to have a fixed bus line service.

I think that’s the exciting part, MaaS can help to orchestrate this very well and make sure that we deploy DRT exactly where it complements existing infrastructure and public transportation.

As of today, there are not a lot of DRT services that are integrated into MaaS systems. How do you explain that? Is it because DRT is a rather young technology?

TW : Yes, I think that is simply because the technology is still emerging, it’s still an area that hasn’t been around for too long, and also, I believe people sometimes make the mistake to think that if you set up a DRT system you need to set up additional vehicles and drivers, which of course you could, but again I need to emphasise that in many cases drivers are already around. Often there are already existing operators, for example, taxi organisations, that have existing vehicles and drivers. So, I think if cities or public transit agencies realise that they can tap into this potential by just linking it smarter with a DRT-software, like Padam Mobility’s system. I think we need to educate them better and show them that they don’t always need a complete fleet and drivers but in most cases just the software.

SKW: I think it’s important to acknowledge that DRT should complement the existing public transport services and that there doesn’t need to be the fear that it will cannibalise the existing services. It’s an addition, it’s a very smart complement. Of course, it has to be orchestrated but I think there can be a synergetic relationship between public transport and DRT. But yes, there still is a need for education.

 

This article might interest you: Crossed views on MaaS with Kisio Digital

Lire la suite

Empirical evidence on On-Demand Mobility Services

Interview Gregoire_Lisa

On-Demand (or Demand-Responsive) Transport has been trending worldwide. But what does it mean exactly? It’s a mode of transport where instead of having fixed lines and fixed timetables, the itineraries are actually optimised based on the demand or bookings. In order to understand a bit more the impact of on-demand mobility on sustainability, Grégoire Bonnat, CEO of Padam Mobility, interviewed Lisa Dang, Research Associate at Lucerne University about the conclusions she had following the publication of her recent study on the subject.

Lisa, you are with the University of Lucerne and you recently published your study on the impacts of on-demand mobility on sustainability. Could you start by describing briefly what your study is about?

In our study, we examined the effects of On-Demand Mobility Services on sustainability in terms of emissions and traffic volume. For the analysis, we created four service options designed to be as realistic as possible, depending on the level of On-Demand Mobility integration into public transport :

  • On-Demand Line Operation, a service that operates like a “conventional” bus line, but is enhanced by an additional on-demand component;
  • On-Demand Public Transport Supplement, a service that provides an extension of public transport and is used, for example, only during off-peak hours when public transport services are infrequent;
  • On-Demand Public Transport Replacement, a service that replaces public transport through virtual stops, e.g. door-to-door rides;
  • Commercial On-Demand, a service that directly competes with public transport and aims to poach users.

The main focus of the study is the comparison of a rural area that is Glarus South with an urban region that is Basel St. Johann, both located in Switzerland. The calculations of the study are based on a sustainability simulation model created on Excel. The input data for the simulations are taken from the literature, as well as empirical data from pilot projects.

So according to your simulation, which of the service options is the most efficient?

In the service options that are the extension, the replacement and the competition, a significant increase in CO2 emissions can be expected, as a considerable share of users of these services come from the more environmentally friendly modes of transport, that is public transportation or non-motorized transportation.

However, implementing the supplement service option is recommendable. There are positive effects in terms of CO2 emissions because in this case, many passengers change from a taxi or a private car to this eco-friendly collective transport service.

And what would be your findings regarding traffic volume?

In all service options and in both spatial contexts, additional road traffic is a consequence of the on-demand collective transport services. There is additional traffic because according to the model assumptions, a considerable proportion of users in all service options switch from public or non-motorized transport to the on-demand collective transport services. And moreover, this effect is due to the low occupancy rate of on-demand collective services caused by a low degree of ride pooling and a high proportion of empty kilometres.

Have you found any interesting differences between the urban and the rural areas?

Yes, the results of the simulation regarding the influence of the area on the advantages of on-demand collective transport services show that the extension, replacement and competition service options generate higher additional CO2 emissions in the rural than in the urban area. The supplement service option, which is the favourable one, leads to a reduction of CO2 emissions in both areas with a higher reduction of CO2 emissions in the urban area. However, in urban areas, there’s a negative impact on the traffic volume in terms of additional vehicle kilometres since the pooled public transport demand is replaced by less pooled on demand vehicles.

So, in the end, which factors influence the ecological balance of on-demand shared mobility?

By calculating sensitivities, the present study shows which factors influenced the ecological balance and how strong the effects are. The model shift as well as the propulsion system technology have a strong influence on ecology and traffic volume. Regarding the traffic volume, we can say that the model shift, the average usage and the pooling rate have a particularly high influence on the generated traffic. 

If the majority of trips could be shifted from motorized private transport to the new On-Demand Mobility Services and at the same time an average capacity higher than that of a private car could be achieved, there would be positive effects on space and environment, and these aspects are particularly important in densely populated areas with high traffic volumes.And regarding the ecological effects, we find that the introduction of on-demand collective transport services leads to less traffic and fast to lower CO2 emissions when making optimistic assumptions regarding the pooling of ride requests, the empty rate and the shift from private cars. Also, the electrification of the vehicle fleet has a major effect, while the average distance per passenger has only a small effect.

 

This article might interest you: DRT optimisation: without the guarantee of advanced booking, no efficient route optimisation

Find out more about Padam Mobility.

Lire la suite

Reconnecting rural territories in the UK : Interview with Stuart Eccles, DRT Supervisor at Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolshire County Council has been operating a DRT for 20 years. Recently, the county switched to Padam Mobility’s technology to operate the service. Gregoire Bonnat, CEO of Padam Mobility, interviewed Stuart Eccles, DRT Supervisor, on the impact of this change on their service and users.

What is Call Connect ?

Call Connect is the bus service that we use in Lincolnshire, a very rural county, which has historical transport difficulties just with the nature of how disparate the villages are and how difficult it is to get from point A to point B.

Those villages are away from the main transport hubs. We have had, for the last 20 years, a Demand-Responsive Transport system in place to ensure that every settlement has adequate access to public transport, rather than having very long bus routes that could take an hour and a half to get from the villages into the main towns.        

Who are the users and what kind of needs does the DRT answer for them?

The majority of users are elderly and probably don’t drive themselves. They find it difficult to walk to access where main bus routes exist. We also carry quite a number of students because, just as it can be difficult for people to get into town, getting access to schools and doctors can also be difficult. 

I think one of the big benefits is where the small Demand-Responsive vehicles can go, because we can provide a more personalized service and offer enhanced transport needs for those who struggle to physically access the vehicle.

Having the DRT service makes their lives so much easier.

If it were not for the on-demand service, people would use their private car. Are there alternatives for them?

They would struggle because taxis are very expensive in a rural location, to the point that it’s probably cost prohibitive for them. So, if Call Connect wasn’t there for a large number of rural communities, they would maybe overly rely on neighbours and friends, having the DRT service makes their lives so much easier.

Call Connect has been there for 20 years and you felt the need to change something. What changed from an operational point of view?

The technology and what exists out there has moved on quite drastically, whereas we haven’t necessarily engaged with that as much as we would have liked. 

The main goal for us is trying to make it as easy as possible for people to access the service. Today, everything is very much mobile app driven, and we try to make the services easy for people to access especially for the younger market. For them, having to phone to make the bookings is not how they do things. So trying to bring that into our services is a key feature for us and we’re hoping that we can engage with that market and get them to use public transport more often. I think having that freedom is a massive win for them, to be able to control their own destiny and control their own access to transport.

We’re hoping that the net result is to make it easier for the existing passengers to use it but also to bring in new people.

Is it easier for the drivers, too ?

For the drivers, the system is very intuitive. It makes their lives infinitely easier because they can see the information in an easy to digest format, especially with the navigation options that come with the app, in case there are new locations they haven’t been to before, or if they’re not quite sure where they are.

Do you expect it will also have an impact on ridership?

We’re hoping so. When we first started 20 years ago, we only had the option of telephone bookings and that’s all we had for a long time. When we introduced online booking through a web page, we actually saw an increase in passengers. Actually, the app gives passengers the option to do it outside of normal booking hours. That might entice more people in. With the app, users can see all the options that they might have in a day and they can make an informed decision on their needs. So yes, we’re hoping that the net result is to make it easier for the existing passengers to use it but also to bring in new people.

It might even change the behaviour of users and how they organise their day…

I think you’re right. We’ve seen in the initial days that the bookings occur closer to the time of travel, which is interesting because that again gives them greater freedom. The service has always offered up to 7 days in advance, which is perfect if the passenger has regular patterns of things he does, like school and work. But if he’s having to plan going shopping a week ahead because that’s when he can get transport, that’s quite difficult and quite limiting. If passengers can book the next day or even better on the same day, it will change people’s habits. That gives users a great deal of freedom because they can control their lives much better. If you had the option to go on the same day and you had the confidence in knowing you can get your booking, that’s brilliant, especially here in the UK where the weather can change at the drop of a hat. 

The granularity of the data is huge, being able to see the number of passengers per hour across a day, across a week, gives us a greater insight into how people are using the service and when they’re using it. That gives us a good theory as to how the service needs to develop, we can see live the needs of the passengers.

I guess on one hand there are some people who are happy that the system changes and some other people are just happy with the way they used it until today. Is it equally important for you to maintain that? 

Absolutely! There are still a large number of people who are still accessing the service through the call centre, and that will always remain. For some people who access it that way, it might be one of the only calls that they make in the week. So having that human interaction for them is very important, having a little discussion, because of how isolated they are in rural communities. It’s definitely a balancing act. It’s bringing the service forward and up to date with modern technology and also maintaining the level of service that our consumer base has been used to.

How are you using it the data generated by the service?

The data that we get in at our level is one of the biggest wins that we’ve got out of this transition to Padam Mobility, so far. We’ve got greater visibility of how the service is performing. The granularity of the data is huge, being able to see the number of passengers per hour across a day, across a week, gives us a greater insight into how people are using the service and when they’re using it. That gives us a good theory as to how the service needs to develop, we can see live the needs of the passengers.

The big one for me is the map flows feature, where you can see graphically all the flows that exist and it shows what areas are being utilised and whether we need to have a promotional drive or change something in the service.

It’s just being able to see that data in a single place in an easy fashion, we’re used to having data thrown back into Excel documents and manipulating it and trying to find some meaning in it, which is quite laborious and intensive. But how it is now on the statistics is phenomenal. The insights it gives is brilliant. 

One of the really interesting features is the trip feedback (users can rate and give feedback on each trip) because historically, you’d probably only see the two extremes, the very good or the very bad, because that’s what people would like to tell you about. But now we see the whole spectrum. The constant feedback the passengers can give us on how the trip went, what they liked about it, what they didn’t, is great because it gives us an opportunity to go back to our operators and drivers to inform them that they’re doing a good job, which is very much appreciated. 

There are many things happening around mobility in the UK and especially rural mobility. There seems to be a new ambition. 

In the past year, the Department for Transport has put up a lot of funding for rural mobility. So whilst in Lincolnshire we’ve had a well-established DRT network for 20 years, a lot of places have looked at DRT and have tried to implement it with varying degrees of success. But now the government is pushing and suggesting it. 

I think the last year has shown everybody that transport can be delivered in a different way. Lots of authorities and transport providers have utilised the technology that exists for DRT, and seen that that might be a model that’s going to work when we come out of the covid-19 situation. 

I think the industry is going to be a long way back from where we were and we might have to provide services in a different way. There’s a shift that is occurring and the technology allows people to interact with it in a much easier and a much more manageable way. The technology is now hugely different than it was five years ago and it’s so much easier for people to put a service in, on short notice.

The timeline of this pilot is also quite interesting because it comes in when the UK is actually opening up again after this very difficult covid period…

Yes, it’s been a difficult year for everyone. We’ve soft launched the service to try and embed it amongst our users. They have been using it throughout lockdown just so they can get used to it. 

But in terms of timing for promotion and pushing this service and saying to the public “This is here” is quite timely because it actually then gives the confidence to people to say “Yes we can get out and we can we can travel again”. They can go out and interact in a way that they used to, which seems like a lifetime ago now. 

DRT isn’t necessarily the cheapest method of delivering transport. However, it does provide the best value for money in certain locations.

There is also another transition which is sustainability and the UK demonstrates a strong ambition for this as well. But this is happening locally, right ?

For us, we actually partner with a few local authorities to the south of the county and we’ve looked at pooling resources and trying to make the service sustainable long term, because DRT isn’t necessarily the cheapest method of delivering transport. However, it does provide the best value for money in certain locations. Also the carbon footprint is lower because you’re only running services when people want to use it. 

You’ve also got the option to look at potential for electric or hybrid vehicles, which also feeds into the sustainability model and the environmental plan that the government and local authorities are heavily looking at. The technology can help drive that as well because without the tech behind, it’s difficult to implement. 

So great future then for Call Connect ?

Absolutely yes! It’s been a long time coming. We’re really pleased with how the pilot is working and I’m very confident that it will bring new life to certain parts of the service and encourage more people to use it which is absolutely what we want to achieve. 

 

This article might interest you : Public Transport in United Kingdom: What’s next?

Find out more about Padam Mobility.

 

Lire la suite

Rural mobility: How to build a DRT offering to maximise commercial sustainability beyond the funding 

Rural Mobility Webinar

Mobility in rural areas: How to set up a DRT offer to ensure economic sustainability beyond the funding – this was the topic discussed by mobility experts in a recent webinar organised by Padam Mobility and presented by Beate Kubitz. Read the most important take-aways here!

While public transport in urban areas is largely well developed, rural regions are usually poorly or not at all connected to a public network.

Demand-Responsive Transport, i.e. transport that adapts to the needs of the individual inhabitants, can remedy this situation. Vehicles only cover the itineraries users request, thus avoiding unnecessary kilometres and CO2 emissions. A good idea in theory, however, not yet implemented in reality.

What are the reasons why DRT services remain rather underdeveloped?

The feasibility and concrete deployment of Demand-Responsive Transport services were discussed by the 5 mobility experts Beate Kubitz, Matthew Clark (Steer), Matt Dacey (VIX Technology), David Shakory (formerly MOIA, now what3works), and David Carnero (Padam Mobility) in a dedicated webinar entitled “Rural mobility: how to build a DRT service to ensure economic sustainability beyond subsidies” that has been organised by Padam Mobility and can be watched here in full-lengths.  

The experts agree, DRT is an important achievement and has great potential to significantly improve the mobility of rural populations and thus their overall quality of life. 

However, in order to make DRT available to all, it is necessary to overcome prejudices and eliminate identified problems. An important aspect in this context is the flexibility of the operator and the software provider. Each territory is different and therefore needs to be analysed individually in order to identify how the DRT service needs to be designed to provide added value for users.

First you have to understand exactly what the real needs of the population are and how these needs can be met“, says Matthew Clark. He adds “It is important to realise that ‘rural’ is not one place“. This aspect recurs throughout the discussion: understanding the needs and adapting a flexible DRT offer accordingly. 

How is it possible to make Demand-Responsive Transport economically viable?

So far, the general view is that public pooling services are not profitable. However, this should not be the main incentive to provide rural DRT to the population. David Carnero says any newly implemented service has to reach a certain point “where it is efficient from an operational point of view“.  He adds, “It’s a platform play, so the platform has to be built, the usage has to be built (…).”  To be able to speak of profitability at all, the service must offer users real added value, be well accepted by them and establish itself in the long term. This process does not happen overnight.

It is also crucial that DRT services are used efficiently, not simply as another mobility product in addition to the existing traffic, but to actually relieve traffic, for example, if users decide to use a DRT service to the nearest transport hub instead of relying on their own car. 

The high user-friendliness offered by DRT services can be a driver to encourage users in general to use more public mobility services. This could be an important step towards Maas (Mobility as a Service) and revolutionise the way we perceive and use mobility – especially in rural areas. 

Watch the full webinar in replay 

What do you think about this topic? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

This article might interest you: Mobility-as-a-Service and DRT: Towards A sustainable Platform

Lire la suite

Is Demand-Responsive Transport too expensive?

Is Demand-Responsive Transport too expensive?

Is Demand-Responsive Transport too expensive? In this series of articles, we suggest to deconstruct misconceptions about Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) and shared mobility. Misconception #2: “DRT is a financial drain”.

Some mobility stakeholders are reluctant to set up a dynamic DRT service, fearing its cost, which is considered exorbitant. Beware of abusive shortcuts!

Get the upstream Demand right

Before launching a DRT service, it is preferable to carry out an upstream study, as each territory has its own mobility logic. Workshops with elected representatives, users, local stakeholders to identify needs, expectations and an “acceptable” level of the offer (adequate pricing, number of dedicated vehicles, number of trips offered, etc.). Then, it is preferable to test the system and its dimensioning through a renewable public contract, collecting as much data as possible on the service organisation and operations.

Take advantage of the versement mobilité (France)

The challenge is to control expenditure by optimising the grouping of itineraries. Local authorities can compensate for part of this by deducting a portion of the versement mobilité des entreprises. Since the new French Mobility Act (LOM), it has become the missing financial instrument for the DRT. It provides the opportunity to improve DRT services by investing in digital tools to facilitate demand and speed up bookings.

The versement mobilité may even cover the entire operating cost. The Pays de Saint-Omer Urban Community, which devotes 490,000 euros per year to its rural DRT operations, is “reimbursed in full by the versement mobilité“, according to Marc Thomas, its transport Vice-President (La Gazette des communes, 2020).

Compare what is comparable

Smart and dynamic DRT often replaces or optimises “classic” DRT services. The importance of DRT configuration in its cost is often underestimated. Badly optimised, badly pooled, badly promoted, it can indeed prove to be out of price. The gains resulting from a better configuration, with the right tools, are enormous. In Orleans, the adoption of Padam Mobility solutions enabled the operating costs of the Résa’Tao service to be reduced by around 30%. 

Thought of as an intermodal service or as a feeder service towards existing lines, dynamic DRT makes it possible to increase the capacity of the DRTs it modernises while extending the offer, often in sparsely populated areas. Since the entire network benefits from it, its cost should be analysed at the overall network level.

Do not forget that the transportation industry remains a highly subsidised one

Like the rest of public transport, DRT is heavily subsidised. The user pays only about one-third of the cost of the transport operations. This on-demand public service is therefore not intended to be profitable. Less dense, more difficult to serve, the areas it covers are the least profitable. It is therefore a real political and social choice that targets isolated populations with no means of transport.

 

These articles may interest you:

Find out more about Padam Mobility solutions

Lire la suite

Padam Mobility offers technological solutions to ensure social distancing in transports

End of stay-at-home order

During the month of May, the population will experience a gradual end of lockdown. Returning to school or to the work, the issue of traveling within safe distances is a challenge.

Transforming bus lines that embark passengers at stops into vehicles that take reservations via mobile app, website or phone, will guarantee social distancing.

This will avoid passengers having to let buses pass because they carry too many passengers. With the right technology, it is also very simple to implement.

It is a matter of accompanying public transport in in the end of lockdown for which it is already urgent to prepare, with ambition and a sense of responsibility. To get out of the health crisis, but also the economic and social crisis we are experiencing.

Grégoire Bonnat, Co-founder and CEO of Padam Mobility

Presented by governments around the world, the end of the saty-at-home order plans set out broad strategic guidelines. Priority subjects: public health, getting people back to work, reopening businesses, schools and transport.

To avoid contagion in metros, buses or trams while allowing citizens to move around, one possible solution may be to transform the usual lines into on-demand transport, easily adaptable and meeting health safety requirements.

Transforming a bus line into a on-demand Transport : a preferred means of mobility to adapt to all demands while ensuring health safety.

On a very simple model, users will be able to reserve a seat on their bus via a mobile application, a website, or a dedicated call centre. The number of seats available in a vehicle at a given time will depend on health constraints. This number could be evolving very easily as the end of the stay-at-home order progresses: technology allows it. Thus, it will be possible to ensure a filling of 20%, then 40%, 60%, and so on until the return to normal. It will even be possible to go back if necessary.

Transportation is guaranteed, there is no more risk of ending up in a full bus, or of having to let it pass without knowing if there will be room in the next one. The transportation offer becomes clear and readable for everyone.

Several customers have already asked us to set up reservation solutions adapted to the specific needs of the period.

From one day to another, we will get instructions related to the opening of this school or that factory. Public transportation must be able to adapt very quickly. On-demand Transport works with an associated software that allows us to foresee and guarantee reservations. It is a tailor-made mobility solution, adaptable in real time and therefore extremely relevant in this context of end of stay-at-home order.

Grégoire Bonnat, Co-founder and CEO of Padam Mobility

End of lockdown and massive influx of passengers: the concern of public transit operators

“Transports are a key factor in economic recovery, but it is particularly difficult to maintain physical distancing and sanitary measures,” introduced the French Prime Minister before detailing future government measures for public transport.

For the entire Paris region, RATP President Catherine Guillouard already explained on France Inter on 24 April that ensuring safe distances would not be feasible, given the hyper-density of the Parisian network: “If we had to apply the rules of social distancing, we would only produce 2 million journeys per day, compared to 8 million with a network supply at 70%. …] We must plead for teleworking and refer to the new mobilities”. Maintained until now at 30%, RATP traffic should increase to 70% from the first day of the end of stay-at-home order. An opinion supported by the UNSA-RATP union, judging that it would be “unmanageable by the company” to police all travellers and committing everyone to take responsibility and to telework as much as possible.

The same concerns and observations were made by other French cities, such as Le Mans and Lyon, which are preparing to reopen 80% of their public transit networks. Last Wednesday (22 April), the SYTRAL president Fouziya Bouzerda presented the measures envisaged during the end of the stay-at-home order to manage the flow of passengers to come: installation of vending machines in metro stations allowing the purchase of kits containing masks and hydroalcoholic gel, installation of automatic disinfecting kiosks and cleaning of trains with virucide.

By offering to reduce and guarantee the number of seats available in the vehicles to respect social distancing, Padam Mobility ensures the continuity of its services in strict compliance with the health measures in force (wearing of masks for drivers, systematic disinfection of vehicles).

 

Find out more about DRT’s adaptations in times of CoVid 19

Coronavirus : learn how Padam Mobility helps DRT operators to adapt their services

 

 

Lire la suite

Padam Mobility meets elected officials and users of La Saire

Réunion publique information La Saire

Public information meeting: on January 30, 2020, Padam Mobility, local elected officials and users of La Saire (Le Cotentin, Normandy) met to take stock of the excellent results of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport service.

Very encouraging feedbacks

The La Saire TAD DRT service has been very successful. It registered new users every day for around 1,000 trips made each month. Its ridership remained in strong increase and its pooling rate was close to 60%, which is very appreciable in a rural area. Finally, users rated the service on average 4.7 / 5.

Mothers and youngsters are the most satisfied

I think I can speak on behalf of all the mothers in the room who no longer need to bring their children to school, you have changed our lives at La Saire!”. A mother present in the audience.

The service is very practical and very easy to use”. A teenage girl present in the audience.

A service planned to restart and expand

The elected representatives of the Urban Community of Le Cotentin announced that they were studying very closely the follow-ups that could be given to the service. The chances that the service will restart and be extended to new areas in 2020 are great, but the decision must be submitted to the next Community Council for approval. Padam Mobility could continue to optimize its solutions and make them even more suited to the rural characteristics of the La Saire territory.

A DRT service like La Saire TAD has the potential to revive local life. We talked to the users and they told us that it made all the difference, especially for young people. The latter sometimes had no mobility alternative. We can also think of the tourists who get to Cherbourg train station and cannot move without a car to visit this wonderful region. We hope that the restart of the service and its extension will stimulate a real local dynamic and continue to address certain use cases and specific mobility needs”. Andreas Dieryck, Product Manager at Padam Mobility, present at the public information meeting.

A time of exchange between local elected representatives, the media, users and Padam Mobility

The public information meeting organized at the Digosville municipal hall brought together around fifty people. It was preceded by a press point with local correspondents (La Presse de la Manche, Ouest France and La Manche Libre). This was followed by a presentation of local elected officials: Noël Lefèvre, Transport and Mobilities Vice-President at Urban Community, mayor of Saint-Jacques-de-Néhou; Arnaud Catherine, delegate councilor for urban transportation of the Urban Community and Deputy Mayor of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, Serge Martin, mayor of Digosville; Evelyne Mouchel, mayor of Mesnil-au-Val; Carole Gosswiller, Deputy Mayor of Bretteville and the Mayor of Bretteville, Pierre Philippart. Keolis (transit operator of the Zéphir network) was also present in the person of Romain Dandois, Marketing Manager.

This public information meeting enabled Padam Mobility to once again present its Demand-Responsive Transport solutions and in particular its optimization algorithms based on artificial intelligence and its user interfaces: application, booking website and call center. The meeting allowed to take stock of the level of deployment of Padam Mobility technology in France and abroad but also to answer questions from citizens on the La Saire TAD network, inaugurated in July 2019 for a first six-month experiment .

Find out more about Padam Mobility solutions

Learn more about the users of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport

Lire la suite

Padam Mobility keeps deploying its DRT in the Paris region

Transport à la Demande Ile-de-France
With its Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) solutions, Padam Mobility keeps expanding in Île-de-France and is helping the Paris region to reduce the environmental footprint.

Also known as the “ecological footprint”, the environmental footprint is an indicator that measures the impact of human activities on the environment. Among other greenhouse gas emitting sectors, the transportation one has real ecological repercussions on the atmosphere. In addition to having a harmful impact on nature, pollution from car traffic is also harmful to health. Private cars remains the preferred means of transportation for French people for their short trips, mostly for home-to-work trips. According to a report written in 2018 by the Réseau Action Climat entitled “Transports et Pollutions”, the share of private vehicle use in France is 65% for daily trips (and long journeys), to the detriment of other types of transport mode that are more ecological.

In densely populated areas, road traffic generates very high carbon monoxide emissions. To limit these releases that poison air quality, we must rethink the ways of moving. Committed since its creation to the development of greener and more responsible mobility, Padam Mobility has incorporated the ecological issue into its DNA from its beginnings.

With its dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) solutions based on Artificial Intelligence, Padam Mobility is using its expertise to revolutionize everyday mobility. Since the recent adoption of the French Mobility Law (called LOM) on November 19, 2019, Padam Mobility affirms its commitment to act alongside companies and communities to improve the mobility of employees and users between their home and their place of work.

By precisely adapting its offer to the nature and needs of its customers (transit operators and transport authorities, local authorities, companies, individuals, etc.), Padam Mobility questions historical transport patterns, and, among other things, the use of the private car as a mean of transportation.

Padam Mobility’s green figures

In response to the environmental challenge and the ecological transition, DRT is a response that is as relevant as effective in combating global warming. By designing smart, optimized and inexpensive mobility services, Padam Mobility contributes to:

  • Reducing the use of the private car thanks to alternative mobility solutions when conventional public transportation shows its limits. In this way, Padam Mobility has enabled its users to save around 82,000 km of car trips, equivalent to 16 tonnes of CO2 not emitted.
  • Optimizing existing transportation services with smart and dynamic solutions to avoid empty trips and calculate the best routes. In concrete terms, the average pooling rate of Padam Mobility DRT services is 80%. It can reach 92% on the best optimized services.
  • The development of solutions that encourage Padam Mobility’s users to adopt eco-gestures to think about their mobility and choose their itinerary according to their environmental impact. According to a study by Padam Mobility, indicating the most fuel-efficient itinerary to DRT users would, on average, save 500 kilos of CO2 per vehicle per year.
6 new territories in the Paris region covered by Padam Mobility’s DRT solutions

Already present in the Paris region (at Gally-Mauldre, Meaux, Bois-le-Roi, Centre-Essone, Vexin, Nangis, Perthes en Gatinais, Melun and La Ferté), Padam Mobility solutions will soon be deployed in 6 new territories covered by Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM, the Paris region’s Public Transport Authority). For IDFM, Padam Mobility’s expertise meets the mobility challenges of the Île-de-France region by configuring DRT services adapted to local issues.

Effective from January 6, 2020, this new deployment will concern the following 6 IDFM territories: Nemours, Coulommiers, Gretz-Ozoir-Tournan, Saint Mard, Houdan-Montfort, Rambouillet Ouest.

 

Find out more about Padam Mobility solutions

Lire la suite

Meet the users of the Demand Responsive Transport: Saint-Nom la-Bretèche

Demand-Responsive Transport: Saint-Nom

We keep focusing on Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche and its Demand-Responsive Transport network “TAD Ile-de-France Mobilités” (ex Flexigo Gally-Mauldre).

Our first ride on dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport from Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche train station takes us to the town hall square on which we meet Samir. Samir is one of the DRT drivers. His service is over and he was kind enough to give us a few minutes.

The service has positive reputation among the local residents as Saint-Nom-la Bretèche with no transportation was a very serious issue. The service also seduces non-residents for very different uses. It allows to mix all types of users and nationality, people are seeing each other more frequently than before.

For Quentin, 27, a young Parisian, passing through St-Nom-la-Bretèche and met a little later, the service is a real vector of social link.

We feel that there is a desire to connect people, to make them move together. The minibus is modern, the driver knows your name and you have to announce yourself when you get on. It gives the impression the driver knows personally the people he picks up.

Quentin uses the service for the first time:

It’s the friends I’m meeting at St-Nom-la-Bretèche who told me about it. They would have picked me up at the train station if the service didn’t exist. At least I don’t disturb and I preserve my autonomy. It is mind-blowing that the service is included in my Navigo pass. Even if I live in Paris, I would have liked to hear more about the service. There are zero ads, it might have motivated me to spend a little time in the outer suburbs, especially on weekends when the weather is good.

On the way back, we approach Christian, 52, working in St-Nom-la-Bretèche for several years and living in Mantes-la-Jolie. He testifies:

Without this service, I would have had to come much earlier to work. I spend almost the same travel time by car but at least I avoid the traffic jams and I save my gas. I can also avoid pollution because my car remains at home.

When we ask him what he thinks about the booking app, he confesses:

I’m not very comfortable with smartphones so I book my rides in advance by phone, usually for the whole week. It’s good they kept a phone number to call.

 

About TAD IDFM Gally-Mauldre
  • 11 towns served
  • Launched on January 2nd, 2018
  • Co-financed by Ile-de-France Mobilités and the Gally-Mauldre inter municipality
  • More than 250 trips / weekday
  • Operated by Transdev
  • 6000 trips / month
  • + 95% of bookings made via the mobile application
  • 95% of punctuality
  • The DRT service was set up to facilitate intermodality by allowing the inhabitants of the territory to access the train stations of Maule, Plaisir and Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche at peak hours without using their personal vehicle. The service also facilitates senior and non-motorized youth travels in the area by offering off-peak hours services during weekdays and Saturdays to cities of the inter municipality and train stations.

 

Read more (in French)

Meet other users of Dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport

 

To respect their anonymity, the first names of the interviewees have been modified.

Lire la suite
1 2
Page 1 of 2