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With passengers more and more expecting mobility services to be tailored to their lifestyle and using different modes to get from A to B, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) has often been dubbed as a main solution for switching towards a more sustainable means of transport.
Enter Shift2Rail IP4: as part of its Innovation Programme 4, known as IP4, the EU body the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking is creating a ‘Travel Companion’ application for the European market that connects rail with all transport modes and allows passengers to buy one ticket for their entire journey, even when using different ways of transport.
With the app, passengers have access to all services from all operators through one single application, for example journey planning, digital ticketing, trip tracking and customer support. Under IP4, different projects are working together to create this EU-wide multimodal travel experience. One of them is Shift2MaaS, which launched late 2018 and saw its Final Event in June 2021. Shift2MaaS was coordinated by UITP and gathered 12 partners.
The main goal of Shift2MaaS was to test IP4 technologies in real life, building a bridge between theory and practice. During its lifetime, the project deployed three demonstration sites in Lisbon, Madrid & Malaga, and the Central-East Corridor. During the pilots, passengers tested the app during different journey scenarios.
While Mobility as a Service can be considered a real solution to fight private car use, true results will only be met when MaaS schemes are a serious and convenient option for passengers – also across borders. By building bridges between theory and real life, Shift2MaaS has made very important steps towards the uptake of MaaS schemes and in extension towards more sustainable cities.
The Travel Companion app is not jus for passengers: Shift2MaaS also tested the app for Travel Service Providers (TSPs), aiming to ease the integration of the different TSPs into one core system.
One of the main things developed under IP4 is the so-called Interoperability Framework, which allows data exchange between different actors of the transport ecosystem, enabling interoperability between new and existing systems. This was tested in Lisbon, where providers tried out so-called ‘Mobility Packages’: MaaS subscriptions that provide, for example, a monthly ticket to all modes of public transport. For TSPs, an additional feature called ‘Contractual Management Market place’ was also tested: a tool aiming to ease the process to set up MaaS agreements among them.
The S2R project Shift2MaaS performed essential work to deliver upon the vision of S2R IP4 Programme, of a seamless travel experience for EU citizens with rail as its backbone. It has demonstrated how Mobility as a Service can be provided in a harmonised context, testing the “S2R IP4 Interoperability Framework”, developed by a complementary S2R project, with Transport Service Providers and actual users, from different pilot locations. It has showed the possibility to strive for a truly European interoperability without the need of costly IT system changes, leveraging from the advancements of digitalisation and connecting people across transport modes and countries.
Currently final results are still being analysed, but results already show that even though many passengers and TSPs are already familiar with MaaS applications, there is a very high interest in the IP4 technologies. The pilots showed that the functionality particularly appreciated by passengers was the cross-border element, saying they didn’t have to worry about each aspect of the trip when travelling.
From TSPs side, results showed there is more work to be done to facilitate the removal of barriers and to allow operators to create legally recognised agreements for mobility packages. For now, the contracts between different operators at local, national and international levels are quite fragmentated – a platform such as IP4 can facilitate the management of such contracts, enabling MaaS at pan-European scale.
After final analysis of all results, Shift2MaaS will provide a roadmap for IP4, so TSPs can use this to improve their technologies and functionalities and perform further testing with more operators.
Curious to see all results? Watch the Shift2MaaS video below.
From 14 to 19 September 2021, UITP Academy launches an online course on Mobility as a Service (MaaS) (in Spanish). The course consists of 7 interactive online sessions, as well as a participatory workshop. More info here!