We all got to move – we have people to see and places to go.
You can take transit, drive your own car, use Mobi bike share, use car share services like Modo and Evo, or a combination of these services to get there.
But we’re on the cusp of a revolution in how we move around, called new mobility, and with that, a shift in how we pay and plan for our journeys on transport services. We’re moving towards mobility as a service (MaaS).
The idea behind mobility-as-a-service is that consumers in the near-future will – through a single web interface like a smartphone app – be able to plan, book, and pay for a journey that may include segments on transit, ferry, car share, bike share, taxi and rental car. Wouldn’t that be great?
Today, if you’re using bike share to cycle from your home to the SkyTrain station to connect with transit, you’ll have to pay separate fares for bike share and transit, and plan the bike share and transit portions separately.
But in the near future, trip segments from a whole host of providers, both public and private, will be brought together in a single smartphone app. All payments and ticketing are via the app, rather than to each individual transportation provider, resulting in a seamless journey. Customers will be able to pay per trip or subscribe to a monthly mobility package.
Several companies are working towards the development of a mobility-as-a-service platform, or components of a mobility-as-a-service product, and a few have even launched, mostly in Europe.
One example is Whim, a mobility-as-a-service app that’s live in Birmingham, England; Helsinki, Finland; and Antwerp, Belgium. Simply pay a monthly fee or pay-as-you-go for Whim and it unlocks a suite of transport services – everything from buses, trains and bikes to taxis and cars.
Back home at TransLink, we’re being proactive in harnessing mobility-as-a-service and other disruptive innovations to the benefit of all in the region.
That’s why last spring we launched TransLink Tomorrow’s first Open Call for Innovation on Seamless Mobility.
We issued the challenge for individuals, companies, non-profit and non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions to come up with solutions to facilitate seamless integrated door-to-door mobility for people and goods.
Our first partnership is with Mobi bikeshare and carshares Evo and Modo to explore how together we can deliver a mobility-as-a-service app like Whim in Metro Vancouver.
We know people are hungry for new options and we understand the region can’t rely solely on public transit to get everyone everywhere they want to go, so we’ll need a constellation of services to help solve mobility issues.
Have an idea? Stay tuned to The Buzzer blog and the #TransLinkTomorrow hashtag. We’ll be launching our next Open Call for Innovation soon.