close

Uncategorized

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

Crossed views on MaaS with Kisio Digital

MaaS

Padam Mobility gives the floor to its technological partner Kisio Digital through its Communication Director, Bertrand Billoud, who shares some thoughts on Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS).

What would be Kisio Digital’s added value in a MaaS approach?

Bertrand Billoud (BB): The main technological contribution of Kisio Digital in the development of regional, national or urban MaaS is based on our Navitia traveller information system. Multimodal / intermodal traveller information is the core of our expertise on more and more modes of transport. We are a MaaS enabler. We rarely talk about user data for digital platforms, even though usage and the voice of the user are one of the main challenges of MaaS. If we engage in a MaaS logic, usage must drive innovation and continuous improvement of digital services.

Our white paper  argues for a solidarity-based MaaS that should be closer to the territories to position itself as a catalyst for mobility offers, even for the most vulnerable populations. How can the development of intermodal logics benefit the less densely populated areas?

BB: What is very interesting about MaaS is that it raises the question of the purpose, the objectives that we set and the resources that we mobilise to meet the social, economic and ecological challenges of a territory in terms of mobility. What do we want to do with MaaS? Do we want to limit car congestion, facilitate mobility for People with Reduced Mobility, boost tourism or alternative modes of transport…? Depending on the context, the chosen solution will be different. The offer must be adapted to the different challenges faced by the territories.

The priorities set by political decision-makers determine the direction of MaaS. Imposing transport modes that are totally disconnected from realities is not the right solution. On this point, I believe we are aligned with Padam Mobility in the sense that we consider that the integration of mobility solutions must be done in a way to answer specific local issues such as unequal access to transport services in low-density areas.

Is MaaS the right solution for peri-urban or rural areas?

BB: It depends on the local context. We have to realise that digital tools are not the solution to each society’s problems, especially in the mobility industry. Producing digital tools is a good thing on paper. Nevertheless, it requires a significant communication and marketing work to develop the audience and the uses by the citizens. We have to make it known, otherwise we have lost the battle of uses. Design a useful product? Yes, but the most important thing is to design a product that is used by the greatest number of people.

We must also keep in mind that the human aspect is essential and not always rely solely on digital tools. This is also sometimes what we try to put forward at Kisio Digital. Finally, uses evolve. Commuting five days a week is not anymore the reference. That’s why MaaS needs to cover the territory with points of interest, intermodal hubs and also third places, and take into account our lifestyles.

In large cities, the mobility offer tends to be more and more individualised with shared modes that are certainly expensive and less sustainable than they are said to be (electric scooters, e-bikes, car rental). How can MaaS fit into these dynamics and influence virtuous behaviours in urban and suburban areas?

BB: The mobility sector is political. If MaaS can influence virtuous behaviours, these will correspond to modes that the Public Transport Authority (PTA) considers virtuous. This can be cycling, mass transit, or carpooling depending on the context. In any case, it is important to be aware that all forms of mobility have an ecological impact, with the exception of walking and mechanical cycling, and it is important to limit this impact. Digital services (algorithms, data) can answer different issues (social, economic and environmental), simplify our life, but it will not be enough. I think that as citizens, we also have a role to play in reducing the impact of our mobility. And in the current context, with the development of working from home and videoconferencing, non-mobility is also part of this equation, which we could call the mobility mix. 

To encourage virtuous behaviour, MaaS can’t be radical. MaaS must encourage what is called the “mobility mix”, i.e. the use of different modes of transport depending on the context. In concrete terms, in some areas, it is inconceivable to do without the car. The car can still play an important role in transportation, provided that it is combined with gentler, more shared modes of transport and that other uses of the car, such as carpooling, are encouraged. For example, opening up the road traffic data would make it possible to better understand usage and improve intermodal services. Or offering, when relevant, a parking solution in a mobility hub and a feeder to the public transport network.

The issue of MaaS brings together a wide range of actors and raises the question of the 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?

BB: It is precisely this diversity of players that should make MaaS strong. Serviced mobility must be a common issue that requires strong cooperation. Cooperation between public and private operators, industrial players such as Kisio Digital or Padam Mobility, but also associations that encourage virtuous behavior in terms of mobility. MaaS requires alliances and it is the PTA that must be the orchestrator. Establishing the rules of the game, controlling the players and the offers is a necessity. The public space cannot give in to the anarchy of mobility offers. A trusted third party is absolutely essential to ensure that our data does not end up in opaque systems that favour one mode over another.

This has to be done in good intelligence and requires that everyone focus on their core business. For Kisio Digital, this is traveller information. We need to find alliances and partnerships rather than trying to do everything alone. There are these notions of shared ressources and cooperation that must be the driving force behind service mobility and digital sovereignty. As an example, our Navitia solution is open source: it’s a way of pooling resources and expenses and agreeing on a roadmap, with a view to continuous improvement.

In concrete terms, to what extent do companies like Kisio Digital or Padam Mobility that offer white-label services act as MaaS enablers?

BB: We are mainly in contact with public players under public service contracts to help them improve their services to travellers. We attach a lot of importance to the idea of improving the ” comfort ” or the quality of travel during a trip. This is a vision that we share with Padam Mobility. The idea of being able to use a reliable transport service in which one can have a seat, such as Demand-Responsive Transport or other public transport, contributes to the well-being of the users. 

Like you, we define ourselves as MaaS enablers. At our level, mainly on passenger information. We have more added value in doing traveller information well than in trying to do everything. We also try to make people understand the value and importance of public power to contribute to the well-being of mobility service users. This can be illustrated by the example of Transport for London (TfL). Last summer, the London Transport Authority released its official application that focuses on services for people with disabilities. Private players who operate MaaS services or offer B2C mobility applications do not necessarily treat this kind of subject as a priority. We have to do this when we support public players. The digital solutions we offer as white-labels are part of a general interest and public service logic. This is also part of what makes us different from other MaaS operators.

 

________

Kisio Digital, Keolis Group’s digital subsidiary, offers the Navitia traveller information platform. It receives more than 8 billion requests per year and allows it to operate on a multitude of local systems integrating multimodal (comparison of modes), intermodal (combination of modes), door-to-door and real-time itinerary search. The company is also a major player in the management and quality control of mobility data in order to provide the most reliable traveller information. As Padam Mobility, its main clients in the framework of MaaS projects are Public Transport Authorities (PTA) such as Île-de-France Mobilités in Paris and SYTRAL in Lyon but also other actors such as SNCF (French National Railway Company), Keolis or Mappy networks for example. 

 

This article might interest you: Mobility-as-a-Service and DRT : towards a sustainable platform

Lire la suite

Padam Mobility, now part of the Siemens Mobility family!

Siemens

Padam Mobility, now part of the Siemens Mobility family, continues its commitment to shared mobility

Padam Mobility, the French leader in smart and dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport solutions (DRT and Paratransit), is now a member of the Siemens Mobility family, alongside its historical technological partners Hacon, Bytemark, and eos.uptrade.

The company is beginning a new and exciting chapter that will allow it to reach new heights, continue the work provided by its teams, fuel its commitment and continue to achieve its results. Since its creation in 2014, more than one million passengers have already experienced a mobility solution developed by Padam Mobility.

A new dimension to the company’s public interest mission

With its suite of smart and flexible solutions, Padam Mobility improves the impact of mobility policies to all where demand is low. To put users, operators and local authorities in motion. More than ever committed to shared mobility, the acquisition strengthens its position in the on-demand transport market and reinforces its international implantation.

The company’s values (SHARE, LEAN, CARE, IMPACT) are still at the heart of the internal management and client relations.

It is an incredible opportunity to join the Siemens Mobility family for intermodal transport. It reinforces Padam Mobility’s ambitions: to reconnect territories, to give more impact to mobility policies in medium or low density areas and to offer modern and adapted mobility services. Siemens Mobility’s confidence in our team, our vision and our agility will reinforce our core values.” Grégoire Bonnat, co-founder and CEO of Padam Mobility

Ever more robust solutions for the territories that need them most

Since the beginning, Padam Mobility has been developing digital solutions for dynamic Demand-Responsive public Transport, to sustainably transform peri-urban and rural areas and bring communities together. 

The acquisition of the company will accelerate the technological development of its solutions so that they are even more robust and respond ever more effectively to the new challenges of the territories, particularly those observed in the recent months and the health crisis.

The acquisition of Padam Mobility reaffirms our desire to offer digital mobility solutions to encourage access to public transport and paratransit. Padam Mobility’s proven software and smart solutions will enable us to offer more transport options that integrate and coordinate on-demand and shared mobility. Having the ability to choose from a wide range of mobility options significantly improves the user experience.” Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility

The company will keep its independence both in the projects it deploys and in the expertise it provides to more than 70 territories in Europe, Asia and North America.  Transport authorities, operators and companies will be able to continue to rely on Padam Mobility to help them open up their territories, optimise their mobility offer and facilitate its operation, to support them in achieving operational excellence, and finally to act in favour of environmentally friendly mobility. 

 

Find out more about Padam Mobility

Lire la suite