The journey to a sustainable future is a highly important one, not just across Scotland, but across the whole world.
Ahead of the upcoming COP26 meetings being held in Glasgow in November, we are running a weekly blog series exploring the role of technology in achieving net zero with our Technology Scotland members.
Across the coming weeks, we will be hearing from a wide range of our members on a variety of climate focused topics; taking a deep dive into some of the innovative products created to combat climate change with project focused blog pieces as well as thought-pieces where we will hear from industry experts on the future of technology and its potential applications as we move forward towards a more sustainable future. Plus lots more!
This week we hear from Mobilleo on the collaborative GO-HI project which will make it easier for residents, tourists and business travellers across the Scottish highlands to access the information they need to make greater use of public transport and car sharing and to decide when cycling is an option. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is an important aspect of the future of sustainable transport as it encourages users to move away from single occupancy transport methods, such as the personal car, to more environmentally friendly transport options, such as public and shared transport, by providing the user with all available transport information, on demand, in one place.
A little less conversation – Delivering MaaS at scale in the UK
Given the hype around Mobility as a Service (MaaS) you’d think there would be more platforms out there across the UK, but many are happy just to talk about MaaS without actually delivering. At Mobilleo we came to the conclusion that enough was enough.
In June 2021 the team at Mobilleo delivered Go-Hi; the UK’s first ever large scale MaaS platform, providing access to mobility across the whole of the Scottish Highlands and Islands to residents, business travellers and tourists.
This isn’t the first platform we’ve deployed, having launched versions of Mobilleo on behalf of TfGM, bp, Kinto as well as onboarding many corporates to our Mobilleo branded business MaaS platform. It is however the biggest and most ambitious platform we’ve ever created, in so many ways, including:
- The first MaaS platform to provide mobility in urban, suburban and rural contexts all at the same time. The Highlands are incredibly diverse and what works in, for example, Inverness will not suffice for users in Stornoway. Access to shared and public transport hugely varies, and we have to make allowances for that in the platform.
- Integration of a legacy DRT system, historically only accessed via phone and with 24 hours’ notice. Now bookable through Go-Hi and on an ASAP basis if this is needed.
- Providing an integrated payment and ticketing experience for users where operators have no API connectivity allowing us to consume services. We built a ticketing function in-house that has been accepted by operators. The ticketing has to also be supported by our own revenue management and reconciliation service to ensure those operators are paid correctly and promptly. Let’s not forget the engagement and trust that has to be built around this whole process!
- We have the first MaaS platform that includes the ability to book ferry tickets or regional flights to get to and from Scottish Islands. In the context of the geography this is as essential as first and last mile, and can be overlooked by MaaS operators.
- We have a team dedicated to supporting Go-Hi, both for technical and non-technical questions relating to the platform itself or to actual travel. We are a tech company but also very much a services company.
So why the title and the slightly contentious introduction? Shouldn’t we just be proud of what we’ve put into place, particularly this first iteration?
What has consistently been apparent since Mobilleo first launched in 2018 has been how easy it is to get bogged down talking about MaaS rather than getting out there, trying it, learning from mistakes and making it better.
We don’t see MaaS as a nebulous concept that one day will support people who want to take an autonomous air taxi to the office. MaaS is here right now; the tech to join up services exists today. It can be an important tool in changing behaviour, but only if it actually gets deployed and given a chance to make a difference.
Because of this we’re hugely grateful the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) who have shared our worldview that it’s time to stop talking and start doing. The team there have engaged, cajoled and twisted arms to help us get the necessary integrations done, as well as provided direction and support in the launch and marketing of the platform.
We favour a public / private collaboration model and the results of this in action with HITRANS have been fantastic. It’s still early days for Go-Hi but we’ve proven that having a partner with the right mentality makes all the difference. It’s time we all stopped just talking about MaaS and start to make it happen.
For more information about Mobilleo, visit www.mobilleo.com.