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NaviGoGo Mobility-as-a-Service pilot changes perceptions of travel users in Scotland

Posted on 30/05/2018

New mobility services will arise from innovations in technology and business models. KTN is helping businesses investigate the opportunities.

The outcome of Scotland’s first ever Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) pilot project was declared as a success this month, for making travel easier, as well as changing the perceptions and usage of public, shared and active forms of travel.

The NaviGoGo web app service was tested by ninety-eight 16- to 25-year-olds in Dundee and north east Fife, and used to plan over 2,000 journeys, and book and pay for 480 journeys.

More than half of surveyed users agreed or strongly agreed their travel was made easier by the app.

Testing Mobility-as-a-Service

MaaS describes a shift from personally-owned modes of transportation to mobility solutions consumed as a service.

The concept envisions easy-to-use combinations of transport options regardless of provider, capable of handling travel planning and payments, across travel modes, and for providing helpful journey information.

Successful solutions could ease travel hassles but combining services on platforms or aggregators in this way might be disruptive for operators, so strong evidence for the benefits would first need to be demonstrated.

The Innovate UK supported NaviGoGo project may, then, provide some very useful insight into the policy and business case surrounding Mobility as a Service, particularly for younger users.

MaaS Scotland

KTN has taken the initiative in promoting the concept, including supporting MaaS Scotland, a joint venture managed by Technology Scotland and ScotlandIS with support from Scottish Enterprise.

KTN has been active in building cross-sector innovation nationally, and MaaS Scotland has grown to a membership of over 60 companies and organisations from across the MaaS supply chain.

Pick & Mix for an End-to-End-Journey

The NaviGoGo project was supported with grant funding of just over £300,000 from Innovate UK’s 2016 ‘Enhancing the End to End Journey Competition’.

Overall, this £10 million fund supported seven collaborative R&D projects designed to improve the efficiency and experience of end-to-end journeys.

Initially named ‘Pick & Mix: A mobility service for 16-25-year-olds that outshine the car’, a consortium including ESP Group, SYSTRA, Young Scot, Mudlark, Route Monkey Ltd and the Scottish National Entitlement Card Programme Office went on to create the NaviGoGo MaaS platform.

Key features were:

–     Personalised journey planning with fare calculator

–     Journey payment and fulfilment

–     Forum for comments and feedback

–     ‘Deal Matcher’ matching individuals to deals and discounts

–     Taxi splitter tool

–     ‘Discover a Destination’ database

–     Incentives for positive/sustainable choices through Young Scot rewards

ESP Group led the project, applying a ‘co-design’ process to make the service meet younger users’ priorities of safety, simpler timetables and clear fare structures.

While for the Dundee and North East Fife regions the aim was to make public and shared modes of transport more attractive to young people and postpone or alleviate their desire for car ownership.

Six-month trial

The two-year project culminated in a trial from October 2017 to March 2018, starting with 13 beta testers and growing to 98 users.

Each participant received £20 a month into their NaviGoGo account, with the option to top-up with their own money.

Taxi, train and bike hire services were fully integrated with the payment platform allowing users to plan, book and pay for these services with their stored NaviGoGo account balance.

Ten bikes were also provided as a bike share service by NextBike.

Bus routes and tailored pricing information (based on a user’s profile) were displayed to the user, although payment wasn’t integrated for bus travel in time for the end of the pilot.

Users could use their existing Young Scot national entitlement card to load weekly smart tickets from Xplore Dundee (Dundee’s local bus company) instead of onto Xplore’s proprietary card – but they had to pay for these on the bus.

On the cusp of a transport revolution

Steve Cassidy, Project Director, ESP Group, claimed the project as a success.

“It made travel easier and just better for younger people. The next steps are about making sure other young people can experience NaviGoGo and help university and college transport authorities — be they urban or rural.”

NaviGoGo user Georgia, 22, said since using NaviGoGo her confidence to travel significantly increased. She commented, “NaviGoGo gave me more confidence to try new things, especially as someone who’s new to the area. It helped me discover new modes of transport that I didn’t know about and understand the price of travel for different transport options.”

Marking the end of the pilot on 15 May, The Scottish Government Minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf praised the initiative and highlighted the need for seamless, integrated transport.

He said, “We’re on the cusp of a transport revolution, with more young people than ever interested in using public transport.”

“There’s a real desire and interest from the Scottish Government in smart interoperable public transport projects like NaviGoGo to take forward our collective ambitions.”

David Smith, NaviGoGo project manager at ESP Group added, “The NaviGoGo pilot helped us engage young people using multiple modes of transport, enabling them to travel with confidence and keep connected to education, training, jobs and their social lives. The six-month trial has been a great success, making travel easier for young people and changing their perceptions, and usage, of public, shared and active forms of travel.”