A complete and integrated multimodal travel experience: an opportunity for public transport operators
4′ min read
Enhancing customer’s journey should be the focus of every Micromobility operator.
Journeys should be based on the needs of the users and should simplify their process of decision-making.
If users had a single app to manage and book their travels, as well as a single payment method, they would be more likely to join. As a consequence, there would be an increase of the user base as well as a business growth for transport operators – as shown in a BiTiBi study reported in our previous article Micromobility is here to stay.
One journey, multiple means, one choice: public integrated transport
A user who needs to travel typically seeks a means of transport that involves the least possible cognitive effort. In the past, the reduced flexibility and availability of vehicles, the complication of separate services, in relation to programming, booking and payment, has led to consider private cars as the most convenient vehicles to use, a perception of convenience that currently MaaS systems try to solve. Moving from lower to higher levels of MaaS integration would correspond to a lowering of the cognitive effort associated with meeting one’s mobility needs.
Integrated solutions offering a single point of purchase for multimodal travels are essentials for the growth of public transport.
Multiple vehicles, a single ticket to unlock multimodality
Another obstacle, especially for the so-called occasional drivers, is represented by complicated fare plans, different payment systems and ticket management.
An integrated mobility solution should enable a single point of purchase, allowing a user to reach the desired destination using any combination of means of transport, such as public, private, and shared vehicles. The structure of the platform should take into consideration user’s preferences in terms of time, cost, and perceived convenience of the trip. In addition, various payment methods or systems (for example, pre-paid or pay-as-you-go) can be integrated to better meet the needs of individual users.
Thus, it is easy to understand that this issue involves several assets and professional figures of the organization and especially its processes.
No one has better opportunities than public transport operators when in comes to system integration. These opportunities can be evaluated in terms of:
- Control over the main-travel experience
- Communication with the potential micromobility users (which most are already public transport users)
- Extended offer. In fact, the proposition could be extended covering the first and last mile
It is a good idea to evaluate a partner’s skills and experience not only on vehicle manufacturing, but also on the possibility of adapting the digital layer of the vehicle to the existing processes so that the various technologies involved can be easily and quickly integrated.
In other words, a partner who supports the organization during the whole process.
System integration involves different skills within the organization, so it’s preferable to choose a partner able to support the organization during the whole process
For this reason, for micromobility and traditional transport operators, providing an integrated mobility offer with light electric vehicles – e.g., e-bikes – is an important topic as it has implications on business development and at an operative level.
In fact, integration involves:
- Existing management systems
- End-user interaction technologies
- Integration with third-party information systems (such as MaaS)
It is recommended to prefer vehicles and systems that natively adopt standard communication protocols from the IoT world
IoT Communication protocols for interoperable systems
Regarding the technological aspect, to avoid running into excessive problems of compatibility with the various systems and in the diversified contexts of use, it is desirable to prefer vehicles that adopt standard communication protocols of the IoT world. For example, MQTT to control peripherals and Rest APIs for exchanging information with existing and third-party systems, thus also ensuring compatibility with the most common cloud computing platforms such as Amazon Web Services® and Microsoft Azure®. Therefore, we see MaaS (Mobility as a Service) systems as a help of inclusiveness for people with specific necessities that need to cover the last mile when getting out of a train or a bus.
An example is offered by VOI who, recently, started displaying its sharing services on Google Maps to users who already have the VOI Sharing App. This makes travel planning easier for users, improving the repurchase of the service.
In conclusion integration offers an important contribution to service accessibility from a user perspective. Indeed, people are more likely to approach micromobility sharing services when planning their trips and commuting.
- G. Lyons, P. Hammond, K. Mackay, The importance of user perspective in the evolution of MaaS, Jan. 2020, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965856419316799
- M. Brecht, Our cities on the way to multimodal mobility – who is moving forward?, July 2019, https://logistik-aktuell.com/2019/07/23/multimodal-mobility/
- O. Novikova, The Sharing Economy and the Future of Personal Mobility: New Models Based on Car Sharing, Aug. 2017, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326309768_The_Sharing_Economy_and_the_Future_of_Personal_Mobility_New_Models_Based_on_Car_Sharing
VAIMOO – Vehicles Artificial Intelligence MO(O)ved, the connected e-bike sharing solution empowering transportation leaders to achieve a sustainable, efficient, safe and comfortable mobility experience. Recently adopted by one of the largest European micro-mobility operators to extend its e-scooter sharing service in the UK, VAIMOO has also been implemented by the cycling capitals of Copenhagen and Rotterdam. Its innovative and flexible e-Bike Sharing system includes e-bike fleets, racks, a management platform integrable with third-party transports, and an engaging app for a multi-modality user’s journey.