MOBiNET discusses next steps towards a mobility marketplace in Europe

More than 50 ITS stakeholders attended this MOBiNET Special Interest Session organised in the context of the European ITS Congress in Glasgow 7 June 2016.
Michael Sena, advisor to the automotive and related services industries, moderated the session. Panellists included Isabelle Van Doorne from the European Commission, Irfan Shaffi from Transort for London (TfL), Robbin Blokpoel from Dynniq, Zakizadeh Hossein from Volvo Group Trucks Technology Advanced Technology and Research, and Richard Harris from Xerox.

Michael Sena kicked off the session by noting that there currently is no place where providers of mobility-related data and services can meet developers of mobility services and the end users of those services. He asked the panellists whether such a marketplace is really necessary or whether it is too difficult to create, too difficult to finance or too large a challenge to operate.

General consensus is that a mobility marketplace is needed and most players are working towards such a marketplace

The general consensus among panellists was that there is a need for such a marketplace. Isabelle Van Doorne from the EU said that although the single door-to-door ticket is not yet a reality, the way forward should be to work on partnerships, aggregating and the development of a business model between aggregator and operator. However the challenge will be to convince the operator to use this marketplace.

The moderator asked the panellists why the big players have not yet adapted their marketplace to mobility. Panellists representing Xerox and TfL confirmed their organisations were already joining the bandwagon and that staying behind is not an option unless you are willing to play catch up later. TfL explained that the London Oyster card is heading in the direction of a pay-as-you-go payment method. There seems to be an appetite for cross-city ticketing and a data hub and an innovation platform are to be created in London.

To bring the marketplace a step closer to reality the ITS industry may need to start small

As an example of an existing marketplace, Robbin Blokpoel referred to Verkeersmanagement Rotterdam. Apparently the real challenge is to bring together demand and supply. Since only a fraction of the population does long distance travel, the way forward towards such a marketplace could be to start small.

For the Netherlands, automated driving may be a requisite for the mobility marketplace to become a success

Referring to the situation in the Netherlands where cars and bicycles are the dominant mode of transport today, Robbin Blokpoel believes that autonomous vehicles are the missing element for the mobility marketplace to become a success. Efficient public transport in the Netherlands is difficult because the population is scattered over large areas. What is still challenging is the so-called "last mile" trip coverage, and because this "last mile" is difficult, people rather take their private vehicle for their trip. The advantage of autonomous vehicles compared to other vehicles sharing systems is that they can relocate themselves on their own; they do not need to be brought back to a station. As such they could become an incentive to use public transport. Autonomous vehicles could also be applied for airline hubs.

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) concept will offer many advantages

This approach would fit the MaaS concept in which people do not own their vehicles anymore.

A MaaS operator will provide travel booking, trip adjustment and payment services, for multi-services.

Challenges of such a marketplace include interoperability; cooperation to break organisational and regional barriers; and the need to start regionally

Isabelle Van Doorne from the EC believes that whatever the marketplace is that will be developed, interoperability will be key. It is not enough to focus on the 96% of the trips that are local/national, solutions must be the same in Rotterdam, Paris, etc. and this is where the EC steps in.

In terms of marketplace for safety services, V2x platforms provide the basic technology and the protocols to develop services. V2X technology and protocols have been standardized so deploying them across Europe should not be a problem.

With Xerox’s experience of the Go-Denver mobility marketplace in the USA, Richard Harris stated that technology is irrelevant, the real obstacles are organisational and administrative barriers, which implies changing ways that authorities are working together. The silo way of working must stop and it is best to start an initiative on a regional level.

Key features of the future mobility marketplace

The future will be platforms where public and private providers are brought together. Participants agreed that the features of a mobility marketplace include compatible data format, on the fly information about connections, multi-brands, multi-countries, multi-suppliers and pubic data access. Liability with regard to service availability is also key: there will be a shared responsibility when a service is down.