Service and the sector07/09/17Government
Pan European Networks explores the mobility sector as a public and consumer service – from car-sharing to co-ownership, and real-time tracking of public transport services.
The European public transport and mobility industry is constantly undergoing multiple evolutions in order to implement new technologies and infrastructure which will contribute to the smart travel concept, as well as providing economic, environmental and organisational benefits for both companies and consumer alike. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) integrates the varying forms of the transport sector to provide a synergised service which is accessible on demand. To address the needs of the consumer, a MaaS operator facilitates a diverse range of transport possibilities, including: public transport, ride-, car- or bike-sharing, taxi, or car rental and leasing. MaaS provides a single payment channel as opposed to multiple ticketing and payment schedules.
In May the European Commission announced plans for a fundamental remodelling of European mobility and transport, with the intention of securing the competitive status of the sector whilst transitioning towards clean energy and digitalisation. The scheme – Europe on the Move – intends to improve the safety of traffic; implementation of smart road charging; a reduction of CO2 emissions, airborne pollution and congestion; to reduce red-tape for businesses; and combat illicit employment and ensure sufficient proper conditions and rest time for workers.
Within the European Commission’s website, Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc, said: “The EU has a unique opportunity to not only lead the modernisation of road transport at home, but also globally. Our reforms will set the foundation for standardised, digital road solutions, fairer social conditions and enforceable market rules. They will help decrease the socio-economic costs of transport, like time lost in traffic, road fatalities and serious injuries, health risks from pollution and noise, whilst serving the needs of citizens, businesses and Nature. Common standards and cross-border services will also help make multimodal travel a reality across Europe.”
Further, the Mobility as a Service Alliance operates on the basis of a public-private partnership which creates ‘the foundation for a common approach to MaaS, unlocking the economies of scale needed for successful implementation and take-up of MaaS in Europe’. The alliance’s dominating vision is to facilitate an available, single market alongside the full enforcement of MaaS services.
Share and share alike
Responding to an anticipated decrease in vehicle ownership, several car manufacturers such as General Motors, Volkswagen and Toyota have invested in car-hailing groups Lyft, Gett and Uber, respectively.
To compete in a technologically-evolving smart market, Daimler’s division, Smart Automobiles, have developed the Vision EQ – an autonomous care share initiative. Utilising swarm intelligence, the technology will enable the vehicle to find the passenger. The cars can be summoned using a phone and contain a 44-inch panel which reassures the passenger that it is the car which they selected. Those that are willing to care-share can enable a 1+1 sharing function which will pair them with potential passengers on a similar route.
Annette Winkler, CEO of Smart, discussed how the vehicle addresses the CASE strategy – Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Services, Electric. The Vision EW is the smallest car in Mercedes-Benz’s EQ fleet, responding to the car-sharing trend. Studies conducted by Daimler anticipate that the global demand for car share schemes will increase by 2025 to 36.7 million. Daimler is currently using Smart cars for its Car2Go sharing scheme with 2.6 million customers worldwide.
In a cross-transport approach, the rise in popularity of smart-bike sharing is similarly rising. Following a successful start in Manchester, UK, Mobike – the world’s largest bicycle sharing platform – is to launch in London. The Chinese start-up was launched in Shanghai in April 2016 and has in excess of five million bikes in circulation across 150 cities internationally.
Dockless and running off application software, each bike features built-in GPS and is hooked up to the Mobike network, revealing available bikes in the area. To unlock the bicycles, cyclists scan the QR code and this process triggers a connection to the user’s account. The cost of using the services are 50p (~€0.54) per 30-minute ride, and is cheaper than the current £2 per 30 minutes provided by London’s Santander Cycles – also known as ‘Boris Bikes’ after former mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
A case for co-ownership
Nissan’s car-co- ownership scheme – Get&Go – utilises Nissan Micra cars and technology to analyse passenger social media updates, and location, using their smartphone to determine driving and travel habits. Subsequently, data will be compared in order to pair owners based upon complementary usage patterns.
Meanwhile EY – a blockchain-powered technology platform – has established the foundations for a mobility platform which logs vehicles and journeys, whilst settling transactions between owners, operators and third-party providers automatically. Supported by blockchain software – a database which maintains a shared list of records – the EY platform enables a full or fractional co-ownership. EY anticipates that the technology will expand the automotive industry to include blockchain, amongst others, and offer drivers who could not previously afford a car, the chance to own a share in one.
The demand for real-time travel information for public transport is increasing greatly to accommodate modern technology. Newcastle City Council, UK, has received calls for up-to-date, real-time information, however has dismissed the concept. Public transport campaigners, supported by Stagecoach, have stressed that a commitment to implementing modern shelters which provide accurate information on how long buses will take to arrive based on the location of vehicles would be efficient.
In an alternative offering, the council suggested that a smartphone app would be more beneficial for the city. In the ChronicleLive, chairman of Newcastle Public Transport Users Group, Alistair Ford, said: “Buses can be delayed by traffic congestion and other issues, and often passengers waiting at stops are left in the dark as to how soon their next bus will be arriving. Smartphone apps are not the answer, smart bus stations are.”
Meanwhile, in Cambridge, UK, a Motion Map mobile travel app uses real-time data to provide more precise predictions for bus arrival times, whilst helping to improve people’s journeys and encourage them to use more sustainable methods of transport. An Intelligent City Platform (iCP) – developed alongside the University of Cambridge – will collect real-time data from a series of sensors across the city in order to support smart solutions, such as the MotionMap.
This article will appear in Pan European Networks: Government 23, which will be published in October.