Revolutionary change for the transport sector

A new Mobility as a Service (MaaS) research report has been published by Intelligent Transport Systems Australia (ITS), noting potential for substantial change in the transport sector.

There is much discussion about once-in-a-generation change; digital disruption, major demographic and societal shifts, and mega-projects offering improvements unimagined by recent generations.

What has not been seen before, however, is the level of unprecedented potential for change in transport that the industry is currently experiencing.

During interviews with more than 80 leaders in the transport sector, across government, industry and academia, a strong theme emerged that not since the mass-production of private vehicles c1920 has there been such potential for revolutionary change in the transport sector.

Transport innovation like ‘mobility as a service’ offers the potential to drastically improve customer choices, reduce travel costs, increase network capacity and transport sustainability while improving social and environmental outcomes.

MaaS is built on the availability of real-time transport data, electronic ticketing and toll-road charging, and near ubiquitous digital devices enabling customers to be better informed and give them access to transport or mobility options that work best for them. MaaS is only possible due to the wide-spread and advancing application of ITS both in Australia and internationally.

While the mass-production of private vehicles obviously had a stunning impact on society and the built environment, the advent of connected and automated vehicles and other revolutionary technologies offer the potential for similar levels of disruption. Concepts like MaaS and evolving transport networks are ways the industry can adapt to, and positively leverage, societal and technological disruption.

This project was led by ITS Australia, but made possible with funding support from project partners through the iMOVE CRC. Project partners were supported by a Steering Committee of industry and government experts from the following organisations collaborating on the project and providing invaluable advice and input: Cubic, HMI Technologies, Transdev, MaaS Australia, DIRDC, PTV, RACV, Keolis Downer.

Through in-depth interviews with these and other experts, the perspectives gathered enabled the development of a robust discrete choice consumer survey to test the thoughts and expectations of a demographically representative sample of Australians.

Susan Harris, CEO, ITS Australia said, “The research and survey responses have been analysed to glean insights into how Australia can prepare a pathway forward for these mobility services locally.

“Looking at a holistic approach that ensures our most important stakeholders, end-users or customers are included in preparing for this exciting once-in-a-generation opportunity, we are pleased to share this research and the outcomes with the ITS industry and look forward to supporting the industry in the development of suitable, on-demand and MaaS Systems for the Australian community.”

ITS’s project goals and methodology include:

  • Reviewing the current status of MaaS overseas and in Australia
  • Exploring Australian consumer preferences in relation to on-demand transport and MaaS
  • Supporting the development of suitable on-demand transport and MaaS systems for the Australian community

The intent is this report can offer an evidence base to prepare for the major changes anticipated in a way that cleverly builds on existing assets and delivers user-centric services that match the increasing expectations of customers.

In surveying 4,000 demographically representative Australians across urban, regional and rural areas, ITS’s survey sample closely matched the Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data.

Transport and mobility as a service offers the potential to drastically improve customer choices, reduce travel costs, increase network capacity and transport sustainability while improving social and environmental outcomes. To support these goals, ITS Australia undertakes work with government and industry to shape opportunities for MaaS in Australia that:

  1. Promote the efficient movement of people and goods to improve safety, and reduce congestion and environmental impacts
  2. Encourages a vibrant and competitive industry sector and supports effective MaaS deployment
  3. Builds on the existing public transport network and supports improved access to transport options for customers
  4. Enhances transport access and mobility options to customers across metropolitan and regional centres that Australians live and work in
  5. Is inclusive and responsive to the socio-demographic and mobility needs of all customers, balancing innovation and improvements against equitable access for all Australians
  6. Offers an interoperable open access solution that encourages competition and enables effective data sharing while protecting privacy and security concerns
  7. Aims to be more convenient than individual use of private vehicles

Statistical research found that:

  • 40 per cent of under-30s would use MaaS compared to 14 per cent of over-65s
  • Bus and train are the most popular local public transport with bike-share the least popular
  • 80 per cent of those surveyed own 1-2 cars. 60 per cent estimate their weekly transport costs as less than $100

According to the December 2017 Transport Affordability Index, the average metropolitan home now spends $337.94 on transportation per week, amounting to 14.2 per cent of the household’s income. Regional households are spending $269.61 per week or 12.3 per cent of total income.

  • The most popular MaaS trip use indicated was social trips like eating out, watching a movie at a theatre, visiting a bar, etc.
  • Respondents indicated they would value government oversight of a MaaS service run by private companies
  • Pay-as-you-go access to transport modes have a predicted adoption rate of between 30 per cent and 46 per cent
  • With most new tech early adoption by innovators is around 2.5 per cent. Survey data shows this figure was almost double in relation to the take-up of MaaS in Australia

ITS Australia represents members across the public and private sector, including start-ups, multinationals, and government departments, promoting and advocating for the advancement of Intelligent Transport Systems, which are more than the technology on which they operate, they include a multitude of interdependent and stand-alone elements each having equal importance.

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