Cities or labs? Research projects pilot MaaS for sustainable cities

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Reducing private car ownership, fighting air pollution and climate change: the solutions to these are not simple, but one thing is clear – they all involve public transport.

As underlined by UITP’s Climate Campaign, cities account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions, with urban transport accounting for a large portion of this. Therefore, shifting transport to more sustainable modes is vitally important to fight the climate crisis.

Now more than ever, cities are acknowledging that to truly get people out of their cars, an integrated transport system where shared and on-demand modes complement mass public transport needs to be in place. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is all about the integration of transport services in one digital mobility offer. Being dubbed as the answer to car ownership, MaaS would have the potential to create more sustainable travel behaviour that includes walking and cycling, ride-sharing and public transport.

All over the world, new MaaS solutions are being tested: no perfection without trial and error! Also in many research projects UITP is partnering in, the focus lies on piloting new solutions and applications for MaaS. Let’s have a look at some of them!

The IMOVE project, which kicked off in 2017, was the first MaaS project UITP got involved in. It aims to advance the use and scalability of MaaS schemes in Europe, ultimately paving the way for a “roaming” service for users at a European level. During the project, IMOVE solutions were tested in the five European “Living Labs” Berlin, Gothenburg, Greater Manchester, Madrid and Turin.

In Gothenburg, one of the IMOVE demo-cities, two MaaS pilots are currently running. In one pilot, 132 families in newly-built apartments are provided with a combined mobility service package instead of a parking spot to discourage private car use. The other pilot focuses on combined mobility for business trips: it targets organisations’ employees and combines companies' car pool, public transport, car-sharing, and taxi.

In Madrid, another IMOVE Living Lab, EMT Madrid has launched its “MaaS Madrid” application which integrates several transport modes, as part of the city’s Air Quality Plan. 

Another project piloting MaaS solutions is My-TRAC (My-TRAvel Companion).  It has developed a mobile application that helps passengers in their daily public transport travels by providing personal travel advice, making use of Artificial Intelligence and advanced behavioural transport analytics. The app should help travellers develop greater confidence in using multimodal transport and discourage private car use.

The My-TRAC application was launched mid-September and is currently being tested by real passengers in Greece, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. The first results are expected soon!

Finally, the Galileo 4 Mobility project, which aims to support the introduction of Galileo satellite technology within a MaaS context, is currently in its pilot phase! In Barcelona, project partner RACC has over the last months experimented with using Galileo technology to improve its MaaS aggregator CityTrips app.

Another Galileo 4 Mobility pilot will start soon in Cervelló, a small town near Barcelona. Led by AMB, this demo will see an on-demand bus service replacing the four existing lines that are currently in use but inefficient in terms of use and costs. Through the use of an app, passengers can indicate when they need transport, resulting in higher flexibility and more efficient use of public transport.

As you can see, things are moving in research and innovation to encourage the use of more sustainable modes and fight car ownership. Results of the pilots will be available soon, so stay tuned!

The final event of the IMOVE project will take place on 26 November. For more information and how to register, check the IMOVE website!

The My-TRAC project is still looking for participants to join its pilots! Are you a frequent user of public transport in Lisbon, Barcelona, Athens or the Netherlands? See here how you can join.

Check out more MaaS initiatives in the UITP MaaS report!

Stay tuned to our #ONEPLANet climate campaign to find out more about how to reduce private car use with integrated public transport and fight the climate crisis!

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