Bringing rail into the conversation: MaaS

Sven Koster

When many people think of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in the UK, the first thing that comes to mind is public transport, such as buses, trams, shared bikes or ride-hailing services. All are inner-city or inner-town options that link together to allow people to book various types of transport in one place.

There’s a piece of the puzzle that’s not reaching its potential though, and that’s rail.

For big cities, maximising the use of rail within MaaS makes a lot of sense; trains are a huge connector across the UK and by linking it with other forms of transport, passengers can be supported from door-to-door. For travellers visiting new areas, bringing trains closer into the equation can help reduce anxiety for those travelling to an unfamiliar airport for example, by combining their air and rail information into one place.

The UK is closely following in the footsteps of Europe, where MaaS initiatives have boosted public transport usage. In Helsinki, users of the “Whim” application – which launched in 2016 with the aim of connecting the city’s mobility options within a single app – travel via public transport for 73% of all journeys, compared to 48% for other Helsinki residents.

So, what is GoMedia doing?

By using multiple sources of accurate information in one customer-friendly solution, we are taking a major step towards providing a truly connected rail journey. Our personalised passenger information service (PPIS) shows passengers key information relevant to them, such as platform numbers, updated arrival and departure times and at-destination info, that is constantly accessible through the onboard Wi-Fi.

PPIS keeps the passenger informed about their journey and allows them to make the best transport decision for them – whether it be saving them time or suggesting a journey with fewer connections. It takes the stress out of the rail journey by telling passengers in advance if they need to run to the next platform for their connecting train, or if they have enough time to grab a coffee in between. Our next step will be telling a commuter first thing in the morning whether their train is on time, how busy it is and if there is any strike action taking place which may affect their transport method that day.

Moving beyond only rail, real-time information and data-sharing between transport operators is driving the concept of MaaS, joining the dots between train travel and first-and-last mile transport. For example, using the same platform that you use to track your train journey, you can also book a taxi and have the driver automatically updated if your train is delayed, or pay for car parking services or find out which bus to catch home. The idea is for rail to be one part of a larger connected journey that can be planned in one app from the comfort of a smartphone.

We are excited to be at the forefront of the industry as smart technology is gradually introduced to more aspects of rail travel, bringing it deeper into the MaaS conversation and revolutionising passenger journeys.


© GoMedia Services Ltd, 2018
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