Solent Transport has awarded a £2.4 million contract to a consortium of suppliers to create the UK’s first multi-city Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solution.
Rail, ferry and bus connections, as well as bikes, e-scooters and car rental services will all be available through one MaaS app.
The funding is part of progress with the Solent region’s Future Transport Zone (FTZ) programme and the new MaaS development is aimed at making it easier to access transport services for 1.3 million people across Portsmouth, Southampton, South Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
The successful consortium, led by Trafi in partnership with Unicard and the Behavioural Insights Team, has already started work on developing the MaaS app.
The first version of the app will be launched before the end of the year.
MaaS provides journey planning and payment across every mode of transport “in a convenient and compelling way”.
By integrating the various modes of transport in the region into the app, as well as the systems behind them, Solent Transport hopes to maximise the positive impact of more sustainable travel choices on outcomes such as car dependency, access to employment opportunities and emissions.
Solent MaaS sets new template for FTZ
The MaaS project is part of the £28.8m of funding allocated to Solent Transport from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) FTZ programme.
The regional MaaS app will be the first multi-city product in the UK and Solent Transport said it will set a new standard for how to provide future transport services.
The app, powered by Trafi, will consist of a journey planner, smart ticketing, payment system and will experiment with incentives to encourage travellers to use more sustainable modes.
It will also include a carbon footprint calculation to help people make choices that benefit their environment.
The Solent Go smart travel system, provided by Unicard, will be essential to ensure that the new scheme successfully integrates with existing travel and ticketing options and regional transport operators.
The easy use of smart card ticketing within MaaS that Unicard enables, will help to promote Solent Transport’s mission of transport equality, by providing viable options for users without smartphones.
Measuring the impact of MaaS
Solent Transport and the winning consortium will work with the Universities of Portsmouth and Southampton to carry out research into how MaaS changes travellers’ behaviour.
Unicard are assisting with the research goals of the project by providing data on existing travel patterns in the region.
This will enable the positive impacts of the new MaaS scheme to be quantified and potentially applied to other regions of the UK.
The Behavioural Insights Team’s role will be testing how the MaaS product changes travel behaviour relative to a ‘control’ group of non-users and assist in developing the product to make it easier and more helpful for customers to use.
Cllr Lynne Stagg, the acting chair of the joint committee for Solent Transport, said: “With the innovative development of a MaaS product, Solent Transport and its partner authorities are pioneering technology that will improve the Solent region as a place to live, work and visit.
“Convenient and comprehensive, the MaaS mobile app will not only be a useful tool for people on the move, but will also give us important insights for improving existing services and offering new ones to make travel easier, smarter and greener.”