High car dependency is one of the factors associated with social, environmental, and economic issues in the Solent region, UK. To address these issues, a change in travel behaviour towards sustainable transport modes is essential.
The Solent Future Transport Zone MaaS programme, funded by the Department for Transport, has recently developed a novel multi-city MaaS app to help drive a change in the travel behaviour of Solent residents.
The app, it is hoped, will enable travel behaviour change towards the use of sustainable modes of transport as it provides personalised journey planning and payment across every mode of transport in a convenient and compelling way.
The regional MaaS app will be the first multi-city product in the UK, and will set a new standard for future transport services.
Building on recent DfT projects, including the Bus Open Data Service, it will align with the vision for all rail and bus services outlined in 2021 in the recent Bus Back Better and Great British Railway (GBR) strategies.
The app allows users to plan, book and pay for journeys via a smartphone across the Solent region including Southampton, Portsmouth, South Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Part of the Future Transport Zone programme will involve in depth monitoring and evaluation of the outcomes and impacts in order to assess the change in travel behaviour of MaaS users.
Solent’s MaaS app allows for personalised multimodal journey planning, booking, and payment. Personalised multimodal journey planning is a complex task as individuals tend to trade-off multiple objectives to meet their specific needs and preferences.
Some of these objectives include minimising travel time, minimising travel costs, maximising convenience and minimising environmental impact.
To the best of our knowledge, say researchers from the Intelligent Transportation Cluster at Portsmouth University, most MaaS apps find it challenging to adhere to more than two journey-related objectives.
The Solent MaaS solution aims to generate personalised multimodal journey options, considering travel time, travel costs, journey convenience, physical health, and environmental impact.
Test scenarios based on the Solent region will be used to evaluate the performance of this approach, and the results will be widely shared.
MaaS has been implemented and trialled in various cities. However, to the best of our knowledge, says the Portsmouth University researchers, very few studies have addressed the environmental, social, and economic impacts of travel behaviour change caused by MaaS. They have therefore outlined a conceptual framework for quantitative and qualitative analysis approaches to monitor and evaluate the travel behaviour change caused by MaaS, along with its economic, environmental and social impacts.
One key theme is Passenger Mobility, led by the University of Southampton, along with the University of Portsmouth and the Behavioural Insights Team to carry out research into how MaaS changes travellers’ behaviour.
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.
All this work is being undertaken in collaboration with the MaaS provider Trafi and their partners Unicard, who 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 work on MaaS will involve attitudinal surveys and stated preference experiments to investigate barriers and incentives to the uptake and use of the MaaS app and human factor methods in terms of benchmarking and iterative inclusive design.
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