Workshop: The role of openness in commercial collaboration

Discussion from the TravelSpirit Conference, 26 September 2017

James Datson, Transport Systems Catapult

Everyone in the transport system wants information – in increasing amounts of detail. From travellers’ expecting real time updates to their journey times to operators basing service provision on demand forecasting.

This session looked at the types of information valued by three key parts of a MaaS system; traveller, operators and transport authorities.

The workshop participants – drawn from a wide range of operators, authorities and planners – brainstormed the needs of these groups. Whilst some of this information is non-contentious, other elements are commercially sensitive. However all agreed that more open disclosure would benefit the transport system as a whole. At the end of the session the group rated how likely legislation would be needed to create openness and how likely the market would provide it spontaneously.

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Workshop: Openness and paying for transport

Discussion from the TravelSpirit Conference, 26 September 2017

Derek Halden, Loop Connections and TravelSpirit UK board member

Workshop:

The technology revolution offers huge potential for connected, flexible and better travel opportunities but global companies battle for power to carve out the monopolies through which the greatest future profits could be delivered. Which company will run the default software for autonomous cars, or the ‘go to’ place to make new types transport purchase?

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Workshop: Policy making for open Mobility as a Service

Discussion from the TravelSpirit Conference, 26 September 2017

James Gleave, Transport Futures and TravelSpirit UK Board

Mobility as a Service poses a significant challenge to policy makers. Transport has traditionally been approached in a siloed mentality. Buses have their approach to ticketing, rail has another, aviation has yet another. That works for those industries, and in some cases extremely well for customers, if considered within the confines of that industry. After all, few can say that nobody has benefitted from a policy decision to liberalise air space, bringing on the boom in low cost airlines.

Mobility as a Service looks across these silos and looks to deliver a good service to the end customer. To realise its benefits not only requires policy interventions, but a new approach to how transport policy is developed.

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Smarter Travel LIVE! 2017

MKArena, Milton Keynes, 19-20 Oct

Practical Applications of Intelligent Mobility for Sustainable Towns and Cities

Smarter Travel Live! is one of the highlights of the packed 2017 innovative mobility calendar. TravelSpirit is very much on the agenda. Dr Maria Kamargianni, UCL MaaSLab, will be chairing the session on MaaS in practice, with Chris Lane from TfWM speaking about the development of Whim in the West Midlands.

Book now!

#smartertravellive

Sponsored by: ATKINS | Innovate UK | SYSTRA | TS Catapult

What’s on:

  • Street of the Future Exhibition – a live indoor demo of the latest products that will showcase the future of intelligent transport and street design. See more here.
  • Project Showcase – discover the Smart Mobility projects that are driving progress across the UK and Europe through 80 ‘bar table’ presentations. See more here.
  • Speakers – Over one hundred expert speakers to be announced over the coming weeks (see programme). Keynotes include:
  • David Bragden, Chief Executive, NYC Transit Center
  • Ian Meikle, Director of Infrastructure, Innovate UK
  • Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Transport, DfT
  • Paul Campion, CEO, Transport Systems Catapult
  • Geoff Snelson, Strategy Director, Milton Keynes Council
  • Stan Boland, CEO, FiveAI
  • Karine Dognin-Sauze, Vice President, Lyon Metropolis
  • Iain Forbes, Head, Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles
  • Philippe Crist, Project Manager, International Transport Forum at OECD

Agenda:

  • Mobility as a Service
  • Intelligent Mobility
  • Accessibility & Integration
  • Customer Experience
  • Data and Applications
  • Smart Ticketing
  • Walking & Cycling
  • Cyber Security
  • EVs and EV Infrastructure
  • Air Quality, Safety and Healthy Streets

PROGRAMME | SPEAKERS | EXHIBITION | TICKETS

 

Conference Latest: TravelSpirit 2nd Annual Conference: Date and Venue Announced

TravelSpirit has opened bookings for its next conference:

Practical approaches to embedding Mobility as a Service in the UK

26 September 2017 | The Atrium, London NW1

Interested in Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and want to know more about issues around ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’, that will impact the spread of MaaS?

This conference showcases practical approaches to embedding Mobility as a Service in cities, towns and rural areas.

If you would like to explore issues around Mobility as a Service provision, and understand how to evaluate potential MaaS services, book now!

Speakers include: Jeni Tennison, OBE, Open Data Institute, Maria Kamargianni, UCL Energy Institute, Chris Lane, Transport for West Midlands, Chris Perry, MaaS Global, Gary Stewart, WayraUK and Si Ho, TravelSpirit Foundation.

Find out more

 

Whitepaper 3: Autonomy: The role of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in Public Transportation and Urban Mobility for Cities

A range of autonomous vehicles (AVs), enabled by Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (RAI), are necessary for the evolution of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) as a global resource.

This white paper sets out our initial position and frames the debate around developments in autonomous mobility and how it can shape the new mobility frontier. It identifies concerns about autonomous transport solutions being developed by technologists, without a broader public policy framework. We highlight the risks that this direction of business development poses and how technology-driven innovation may present a serious threat to the vitality of our society.

Continue reading “Whitepaper 3: Autonomy: The role of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence in Public Transportation and Urban Mobility for Cities”

TravelSpirit publishes first white paper on openness in Mobility as a Service

12 May 2017

The TravelSpirit Foundation published its first white paper today. Titled “Open or Closed? The Case for Openness in Mobility as a Service”, the paper looks at the components of Mobility as a Service and the positive role that the open Internet of Mobility can play. It discusses how open systems and data will improve journeys and ensure new forms of mobility have a positive impact on the public realm.

DOWNLOAD: Whitepaper 1: Open or Closed? The Case for Openness in Mobility as a Service

For further information:

Beate Kubitz, Director of Policy and Communications

beate.kubitz@travelspirit.io  | 07974 369240

Whitepaper 1: Open or Closed? The Case for Openness in Mobility as a Service

There are many elements involved in building the open Internet of Mobility. The MaaS ‘ecosystem’ requires contributions from road and rail at the core of public transport to the new disruptors in bike-share and on-demand taxis; to the platform providers which serve up travel options to individual travellers. And in between are various forms of data collection, provision and aggregation, along with the many components of back office payment systems.

In this context what we mean by ‘open’ is many layered. Open can be via the provision and use of open data or open source code. Or, via the growth of local eco-systems of providers who use these open tools to create new businesses and business models. Or through the sharing of data.

‘Closed’, on the other hand, creates proprietary systems which, often as not, will not work with other functionally similar systems within the same sector. Yet convergence is often desirable for efficiency.

Continue reading “Whitepaper 1: Open or Closed? The Case for Openness in Mobility as a Service”

UCL offers Fully-funded PhD studentship in transport modelling and Mobility as a Service

UCL-Energy invites applicants for a fully-funded four-year PhD studentship in transport modelling

The Urban Transport & Energy Group at UCL Energy Institute invites applications for a fully funded four-year PhD studentship covering UK/EU fees plus stipend to focus on the development of the supply components of an advanced transport and energy activity based model able to simulate the multidimensional impacts of new mobility services on travel behaviour, traffic congestion, and energy consumption.

Application details

Vision for Shared eCAV Opportunity Launched

“We are heading towards a chaotic approach to public transport that will work because MaaS operating through size and cost-appropriate electric vehicles (AKA buses) will deliver high definition mobility” says Steve Reeves, Head of Business Development at Woodall Nicholson, one of the oldest established coachbuilding companies in the UK, based in Bolton, Lancashire. It dates right back to the 1820’s, when its major market was the building of horse-drawn hansom cabs and carriages. Known nowadays, locally for their UK market leading production line of hearses and limousines, the firm has been placing significant investment in its growing accessible mini-bus business, Mellor Coachcraft, which produces the vehicles out of their factory in Rochdale.

Steve’s full article is provided below:

“My work with Mellor Coachcraft, alongside some amazing people working together on the Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) Grand Challenge, and in particular Ben Davis, founder of robotics systems firm, GOBOTiX, has led me to believe that bus autonomy is not as far away as people think. A recent tour of University of Salford’s Robotics and Artificial Intelligence capabilities has also, simply, ‘blown my mind’.

Within the parameters of a public-transit/private-operation collaborative agreement; autonomous public transport systems are possible soon, through Shared CAV.

The idea behind Shared CAV is not new. In 1852, Elisha Otis invented the modern elevator as a form of autonomous transport.

In some ways, Shared CAV can be compared with the elevator. People will be carried safely without a driver along a fixed route, and the service will be on-demand. When related to the conveyance of passengers we call this idea the Horizontal Elevator and the path along which it runs a Virtual Tramway.

Just as the Otis elevator made skyscrapers possible, elevators being the enabling technology, similarly, Shared CAV will revolutionise public transport by enabling ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS) to scale outside of London, New York and Berlin.

The UK Government recognises the potential contribution CAV can make to economic growth through the enhanced ability to transport goods and people more efficiently and effectively. By deploying emergent technologies and encouraging collaboration across different sectors, the opportunity exists to generate the required improvements in a sustainable manner.

The UK Gov’s Innovate Programme and the official autonomy policy unit (Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles) has actioned considerable support through grants for collaborative agreements between companies that can deliver a combination of 3C capability, security, vehicle platform technology, robotic interfaces and Artificial Intelligence, all leading to vehicle autonomy.

Without the full support of local transit and public authorities, roadways cannot be prepared for near-time vehicle autonomy. Colleagues from Mouchel explained during Shared CAV development workshops that roadways selected to host the virtual tramways will need a degree of light infrastructural support to work safely. In some instances, a council, even a parish council might be able to access this potential though their active involvement.

Who will be Shared CAV’s early adopters?
We expect there to be high demand for a turnkey solution from:
• Urban areas that are in current grid-lock.
• Industrial estates access through parking lots
• Airports optimising passenger flow
• Feeder routes for hospitals and resort complexes

Shared CAV is for people and the places who understand that the only important ‘driver is ‘access’, not ownership! As the UITP report, Autonomous vehicles: a potential game changer? describes, these places will benefit from the creation of a flexible on-demand system will tackle congestion head-on, by reducing the number of single-occupancy vehicles on our roads, by connecting to and strengthening radial mass transit routes and meeting orbital travel needs that are often less well served by public transport.

The time is right for a new approach to mobility. An interconnected world needs a transport network delivering mobility options that offer services far exceeding current driven platforms.

Manchester has a benchmark tram system. It brings many parts of the city together and is generally regarded as a success by those that use it. However, new trams come with a massive cost burden and considerable disruption in their construction. Indeed, this may well be the last metropolitan tram project of its size in the UK again?

The Virtual Tramway, a new concept developed by GOBOTiX, does not have guide rails or tracks, it is created using GIS mapping tools and relies on predictive analysis data embedded within the maps supported by on-board analytical capability delivered through industrial computers sensors, cameras and CCTV. Integration with the urban traffic systems is achieved using wideband width communications platforms connected to a resilient command centre.

The development teams at Woodall Nicholson engaged with key industry partners and specialists believe that early Shared CAV vehicles will consist of appropriate-sized buses (between 8 and 16 seats) that can work alone, or, as part of a platoon. These buses may be traditionally driven too! A truly three-for-one proposition.

We already have a ground transport mix of rail, trams, buses, taxi, private hire, cycling, walking, etc. Introducing to the ground network autonomous capability and MaaS technology will create widely diverging outcomes, rendering long-term prediction of the behaviour of the system challenging, to say the least. This becomes even more evident when you consider the direction Airbus is taking the single-occupancy travel market, with its intention to test a self-flying taxi by the end of the year.

We are heading towards a chaotic approach to public transport that will work because MaaS operating through size and cost-appropriate electric vehicles (AKA buses) will deliver high definition mobility. Therefore, I have decided to join the TravelSpirit Foundation, which has been established to accelerate the adoption of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) systems that integrate discovery, booking, and payment of multi-modal transport service offerings under an open marketplace, which will give my clients, like Woodall Nicholson, a far greater access to this evolving new market opportunity.

The time may come where costly mass transit delivery platforms such as the 110 passengers ‘bendy buses’ or even the iconic London Double Decker will be on our roads simply to manage peak ‘rush’ hour transportation, particularly when platooning smaller buses cannot cope. Size appropriate Big-Taxi and LiteBus will carry the load during normalised traffic periods.

We should dispel one myth; the proponents of Shared CAV are concerned about enabling new on-demand services, not removing drivers from existing scheduled service routes.

Ben Davis tells me that the Virtual Tramway system will operate without stations and without a timetable, be on demand. He explains that its frequency will be managed by need.

The main advantages of this first-step, flexible platform are low implementation costs and high replicability. To guarantee the safety of such a new system, similar signage and painted “rails” as would be deployed for Trams will be used to alert people and road users to the fact that an autonomous bus runs on the route.

The system will be safer as people will treat it as a tram and not take the kind of risks they might with a small pod. Think along the lines: how do you drive when next to a bus vs. a car? You exercise more control and provide it with more room.

Crossing a multi-lane junction is challenging even for drivers. CCTV will be installed to stream data in real time to the vehicles navigation system, this will give the vehicle the advantage of seeing around corners. A Virtual Tramway track does not need stations, overhead power or rails but it does need some on-the-ground support, all of which can be managed by councils as small integrated projects. The more Virtual Tramways we create, the lower the costs and better return on investment.

The solution is flexible enough to incorporate future changes and advancements in technology, unlike a real tramway. The vehicles will be able to deviate from their “Virtual Tramway” under certain circumstances only, when safe to do so. In the event of there being a problem the vehicle would stop, and a tele-operator will slowly move the vehicle out of the way of others to allow for transition from manned to unmanned once the system is proven.

All this means that as the system matures beyond the end of the project, it will increase its capability to deal with changing situations and run in a less constrained way as safety permits.
In Summary:

DFT compliant business cases, developed by Transport for Greater Manchester and Steer Davies Gleave and Alliance Manchester Business School have focused on the Virtual Tramway solution operating a 16 Seat Electric LiteBus with the necessary infrastructural support demonstrates a healthy return on investment of 2.6. This number does not include out of hours running and is solely based on new services. The actual number could be as high as 4.0

The key enabler and first step towards the outcomes predicted in the UITP report could be Virtual Tramways. They are low in cost and disruption, predicted to be inexpensive to operate and will be safe. Virtual Tramways is an idea that could open the Shared CAV potential to an infinite number of other vehicles delivering a myriad of functions. This solution brings CAV into urban environments and will not be limited only to electric buses.

The cost of laying and maintaining a tramway or guided bus route can be excessive compared to a Shared CAV solution that has much higher speed of deployment and is scalable. In other cases, Shared CAV can strengthen the business case for a hard infrastructure investment, by widening out the benefits.

The Government are right to promote CAV as an idea, and I am glad to see it feature highly in the consultation for a new Industrial Strategy for the UK. In my view, they may have to accept slightly more constrained (but still driverless) public transport solutions in a step-by-step scalable model. Smart transport and communication businesses are currently researching the platforms and technologies needed to deliver this exciting vision for the future, supported by growing clusters, industry-led consortia, such as, here in the North, the Northern Automotive Alliance and the Northern Robotics Network.”

Steve Reeves, Head of Business Development, Woodall Nicholson