Resulting mobility service development in regions

In Austria, cities and governments (also on the state level) support the development of new services together with private partners. Some of these projects and pilots have been implemented and are running successfully so that they continue existing after the end of the test projects. Some pilots and funded projects have even led to services in public spaces and in residential buildings, where different modes of transport are offered at so-called “mobility-points”, usually combining public transport, car-sharing, bike-sharing and other local last-mile concepts with the help of a convenient mobile app. On the other hand, Austria has also supported the development of MaaS in rural areas. ISTmobil concept that started in Korneuburg district is an example of how shared on-demand rides can complement or even be a part of the conventional public transport.

Two distinct features of Switzerland explain the mobility development in general: the confederation of cantons with differing laws, and the strong position of the two large public companies, Swiss Railways and Postbus. The Swiss rail network functions as the core of the public transport system: other public transport connections and their timetables are scheduled according to the trains, and the whole system is prompt as a Swiss clock. Differences in the legislation between the cantons, in theory, provides flexibility for service designers as it is easier to get small changes to the legislation and permission for a local pilot. However, in practice, this is too burdensome for small firms as they would need to have quite many negotiations with multiple parties. In addition, as the subsidised public transport service level is already high and well integrated, there is not that much demand for newcomers. The Swiss railways and Postbus are both countrywide high-quality operators with a significant portfolio of mobility services. They also cooperate with other modes of transport and partly own some new mobility service providers. As a result, most new mobility services in Switzerland are related either to the Swiss Railways or Postbus. While this does not support developing new mobility innovations, the system integration supporting multimodality is at a high level.

In Finland, the current trend is supporting multimodality with smart mobility services, open data, cooperation, and especially the Mobility-as-a-Service concept. The idea is that by digitalisation and enabling legislation smooth multimodality between different modes of transport is supported. Also, new services are eagerly piloted to find new ways to support MaaS and especially solve the last mile problem. The new transport code and other legislation, e.g., related to taxis, have become in act to deregulate and allow new mobility services in the sector that was earlier very restricted by law. As a concrete sign of this, the Finnish government has funded new MaaS concept pilots and given financial support to MaaS operator firms and companies developing MaaS-related mobility services. These MaaS-related services include, e.g., new car sharing models and shared on-demand rides. Cities, in turn, have implemented bike-sharing systems as a part of the public transport. However, despite good intentions, the realisation of MaaS in Finland has been slow and the main reason for this is the decentralized organisation of public transport. Thus, quite similarly to Switzerland, different service providers have to negotiate with many parties, and public procurement is always a slow process. This makes the market quite small for each firm, and many solutions have been pilots without a clear continuum plan once the pilot is over. Some large public service providers have also not been willing to open their application programming interfaces (API) for buying tickets. However, this has not stopped some Finnish companies from selling their technology to other countries.

Despite rapid development in mobility services, the use of a private car in commuting and everyday mobility has not yet decreased as expected. Partly this is because people are used to their way of commuting, but we are convinced that further improvement of MaaS solutions will give the chance to reach a level where these solutions match or outdo the convenience of private cars – even if they will never convince every commuter to change his or her own habits. Further cooperation between the public and private sector is clearly needed to achieve the sustainability goals in mobility.

Next: Stakeholders’ needs, motivation and network structure

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