A new year means new trends. And the evolving mobility sector is no exception. For several years now, MaaS has been gaining ground in cities and communities. As a reminder, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a multimodal urban mobility concept. Its objective is simple: to facilitate users’ mobility by offering different modes of transport on a single platform. Like a personal assistant, a smartphone application will suggest the fastest, cheapest or most environmentally friendly routes to take to get to your chosen destination. These routes are combinations of multiple modes of transport, private, public and even shared. But we can go even further… Focus on the new trends in MaaS, which are on the horizon for 2022.
Integrating Urban Air Mobility into our daily lives
What if “flying taxis” were soon to be found in our MaaS applications? Europe’s major cities are facing many challenges, particularly in terms of transport. Indeed, the congestion and pollution they generate, mainly in the city centre, are forcing them to imagine new, more sustainable solutions. Today, MaaS applications integrate bicycles, buses, trams… And what if the answer was urban air transport?
Indeed, Urban air mobility has been booming in recent years. The term “flying taxis” is increasingly being used. Impossible or too futuristic? Well, no. With advances in electric propulsion, autonomous flight technology, artificial intelligence and 5G communication networks, air mobility has the potential to revolutionize urban mobility. Halfway between cars and helicopters, these “flying taxis” are vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. In addition, these machines are powered by electric propulsion (eVTOL). In 2019, RATP already had the idea of integrating it into its MaaS strategy.
The idea is to reflect with Airbus on how to integrate its flying transports into our daily life. We are focusing on issues such as noise pollution, possible landing and take-off points, connecting facilities and associated mobile applications.MATHIEU DUNANT, DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION AT RATP.
Focus on RATP projects
The RATP has a MaaS application: Bonjour RATP and is looking to develop it. To this end, at the end of winter 2022, the flying taxi project will enter a test phase. About 35 km northwest of Paris, the Pontoise airfield is about to welcome them. The Île-de-France region’s goal is to have these electric aircraft on the road for the 2024 Olympic Games. A question arises… Are these new modes of transport really a solution for the mobility of tomorrow?
According to the French Minister of Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebarri, yes. The political representative of the sector says that these flying taxis will complement the too often crowded public transport offer. But they will also represent an alternative to the cars that saturate our roads. Finally, he assures us that these machines will only be more beneficial to cities: less noisy, less polluting and more socially acceptable… This ambitious project is gradually taking shape and should see the light of day in the next few years. It’s a safe bet that this mode of transport will be included in the MaaS application: Bonjour RATP. To be continued…
After GTFS now GBFS
Facilitating the sharing and exchange of data between transport operators and MaaS providers is crucial for a functioning MaaS solution. From journey planning to booking and payment, the user expects a seamless experience. One way to achieve this is to unify data from multiple operators. To achieve this, it is essential to agree on a standardised communication protocol at the data level. The North American Bikeshaire Association (NABSA) has developed the General Bikeshare Feeds Specification, (GBFS) following the example of GTFS. This standardised data format was launched in 2015 and has become the data exchange standard for shared mobility information. In this sense, it allows transport operators to describe available vehicles and share details via data consuming applications.
MobilityData has partnered with NABSA to ensure the continued development of this specification. This GBFS data provides travelers with real-time information to help them discover and use shared mobility services. Adopted by more than 600 bike and scooter sharing services worldwide, it is used primarily to plan trips and share the real-time status of shared vehicles. The goal of GBFS is simply to help cities support seamless and sustainable mobility options through GBFS. Henceforth, through this standardization, it will be easier for transport operators to connect their data in different MaaS applications.
An app that simplifies every journey
Adopted by some 33 million users, FranceConnect is the solution proposed by the State. It allows securing and simplify the connection to more than 1000 online services. Indeed, with a single connection, we can access multiple services. What if there was a single account entirely dedicated to mobility? For what purpose? How would it work?
First, to simplify the login and authentication procedures for users. This is a real convenience for users, who are often overwhelmed by the incalculable number of passwords created. Travelers only need to enter their personal information (surname, first name, age) once. Of course, all the information is saved and secured. They then have direct access to the various mobility services. From then on, there is no need to create a new account! No more redirections to the various operators’ websites, a one-click connection is all that is needed. A true digital identifier, a single mobility account, would undoubtedly relieve all users of MaaS applications.
Towards a new Web?
Being mentioned as the next revolution of the Internet, the term Web 3.0 is more and more evoked… But how to define it? What is the use of MaaS platforms? We explain… Web 3.0 differs from Web 2.0 in that it is decentralized, thanks to the blockchain. This technology, developed in 2008, is primarily a technology for storing and transmitting information. It offers high standards of transparency and security. It operates without a central control body. Finally, its basis lies in high-tech computing, artificial intelligence and decentralized data networks.
But why is Web 3.0 having a massive impact on mobility?
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) offers users a door-to-door and individualized service. All this by integrating different modes of transport and a unified payment. The challenge for the various MaaS providers is to collaborate efficiently to offer the best user experience. This is where blockchain comes in! This new technology would offer many benefits for MaaS providers and its users.
First, the promise of enhanced security for traveler data. Then, real traceability, especially of financial flows. And finally, transparency in the governance of MaaS platforms. This secure, unmediated information-sharing technology seems to be a relevant way to address today’s modern problems.
All in all, the potential of blockchain technology has been proven. In particular for the fields of e-mobility and logistics. There is no doubt that Web 3.0 remains a development lever for MaaS platforms in a near future.