G-Cloud - a way to deploy MaaS without the burden of a tender

What is Mobility-as-a-Service ?
 
Since its creation in 2013, Instant System has developed and deployed Digital Solutions for Public Transport Authorities (PTAs) and Operators (PTOs) within more than 80 cities & regions and more recently for corporates and saw the evolution of its customers towards mobility-as-a-service also known as MaaS.
 
The transportation ecosystem has been evolving for more than a decade. Legacy public transportation now shares the curb with other modes of mobility. This started with Uber in 2009, and is now followed by a range of services such as shared bikes or e-scooters with evolving business models to reach a wider market. All these services are accessible through dedicated mobile applications.
 
This configuration makes it difficult for public authorities to keep the mobility offer balanced.
 
This is where MaaS comes in. MaaS can simply be defined as a solution where all public and private mobilities on a territory are accessible and available to travelers with just one digital application to plan, book and pay without being redirected to another application.

The first MaaS solutions emerged in Northern Europe and like most innovations, started private initiatives following a B2C business model in which the end user is the paying customer.
 
The main idea that drove the first MaaS was to provide an alternative to private car ownership to reduce the congestion and pollution in our cities, using public transport as the backbone of the solution and shared mobility as a first & last mile to bring people to the right and closest mobility hubs. This is why  coordinated efforts are needed between public and private actors to make MaaS work.
 
However, a few years ago, most mobility service providers (MSPs) were not ready to be fully integrated and allow through MaaS the use of “deeper” services such as booking and payment.

In 2016 an index was created to evaluate the schemes and the level of mobility integration of each MaaS:

  • Level 0: No integration
  • Level 1: Integration of information (Multimodal Journey planner and Traveler Information & prices)
  • Level 2: Integration of booking and payment (find, book and pay)
  • Level 3: Integration of services offered (bundling)
  • Level 4: Integration of societal goals (policies, incentives etc.)
     

The development of these schemes made it possible for interested players and authorities to better envision a roadmap for the implementation of MaaS in their territories. Indeed, an evolution of MaaS is possible, from level 0 to 4, gradually.
 
Mobility-as-a-Service and Public Transport Authorities and Operators
 
Digitalisation of information and ticketing of public transport appeared rapidly to be a “must have”.  Yet, the obligation for PTAs and PTOs to open-up their data, and very soon the access to their ticketing system, including fares, is a constraint for them.
 
If MaaS is going to change the way people will move, it is important to understand mobility at the macro and micro level.
 
Private MaaS operators also known as B2C operators, are promoting door-to-door between cities, pushing the idea of one app that could be used everywhere by any travelling person. But most daily commutes are rarely from one territory to another.

Most people do their daily travels only within their own cities: to go to work, to drop kids at school, to meet friends, to do their shopping, to go to the gym.... The percentage of a population who is regularly travelling beyond their city/region is small.
 
Thus, such localised mobility cannot be completely understood by any global Private MaaS player operating in many cities/regions or countries. Each area has its own transportation system, has its own transportation design, and transportation needs what a global actor cannot specifically adjust to.

If the full implementation of MaaS may not be available that easily, a step-by-step evolution can be started at first, while keeping in mind that a fully integrated MaaS is the final objective.

Unlike B2C operators,  B2G2C (Business to government to customers) MaaS providers collaborate with public transport operators and authorities to develop local MaaS addressing the needs of a larger part of the local population.

This is advantageous for small and medium-sized cities, including rural areas, as typically these cities have a single brand for each mode that operates. It is also not uncommon for shared mobility services to be managed by the city itself or by the local PTO, and in this case MaaS is seen as an extension of public transport.
 
With that said, all that is left for a transport authority is finding the right fares, bundles, and intermodal combinations that will attract the most critical user: private car users. If we go deeper in the analysis of the potential final user, those owning a car are the ones living in suburbs who cannot live without a  car . However, in real life, MaaS cannot replace the use of a private car without an efficient mobility offer.

So how would an authority approach this? From our experience, the first step is to provide an intermodal journey planner including the private vehicle and promoting a park & ride bundle where one can switch to a bike, e-scooter, or public transportation easily and thus reducing the use of the private car for the total journeys/trips taken/planned.

Beyond converting private car users, public transportation still needs to remain inclusive. Thus, different fares have been created to meet the characteristics of everyone, knowing that the condition of each one can change from one day to the next: a student who becomes a working adult, an adult who becomes a senior, a person who has become handicapped because of an accident, a family growing in numbers...

Such fare complexity in a MaaS offer will definitely be handled by Public Transport first and may never be fully addressed by Private MaaS Operators.

Nevertheless, MaaS should be in the long run a tool for any local authority to optimise and manage its network according to the demand, a network that can dynamically change along the day.

We believe that each territory must have its own public MaaS to fulfill its mission of mobility for all in an inclusive way. This does not mean that a single public MaaS operator is only what is needed. Public and private MaaS can still work in harmony under a common data set managed by public authorities. At the end of the day, we still want end users to change the way they move, to choose the more sustainable way of commuting, and that can only be done through freedom of choice.

Mobility-as-a-Service solution acquisition, Tender or G-Cloud?
 
Each city/region can and should deploy a MaaS in the long run, but it’s important to take note of the complexities and time required to implement.
 
Like any digital project, there are 2 choices to procuring a solution:

Putting in place a Tender or purchasing a Crown Commercial Service (CCS) pre-selected solution through its G-Cloud 12 Framework that helps customers in the UK public sector find and buy cloud computing services.

For a big city or region with a very complex and specific project, it might be best to launch a tender to ensure a more bespoke choice.

But a tender requires resources immediately, for both the authorities and the MaaS providers. An authority needs teams to help frame and write the specifications, a MaaS provider needs to deploy several experts to answer the tender. There is also the timeframe to consider. It can take months, if not a year, between the beginning and selection.
 
If you are a medium or small city with a project to deploy the first steps of the MaaS, you should definitely consider a direct procurement using G-Cloud.
 
Instant System was selected with two products with predefined prices to answer most of a city’s needs. This includes traveller information and a journey planner that can include several mobility modes, user account management and m-ticketing that is developed around small and medium sized cities. This is our MaaS step 1 offer.
 
In a national procurement marketplace like G-Cloud, procurement is more accessible as internal costs covering the time and involvement of several experts (ticketing, journey planning, etc.) to answer a tender are removed from the final costs. It also makes it so finding, selecting, and deploying a MaaS is more efficient.

We highly recommend looking into G-Cloud, both for a MaaS but also for every digital solution that you may need for your city/region/territory.

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