Today, we speak with Ruud van der Dries, traffic engineer at „MAP Traffic Management“, a Dutch consultancy bureau with two dozen employees, focussing on operational road traffic management and other modes of transport, for more than nine years.
Please introduce the role of “MAP Traffic Management” in the “My Corridor” project and the field of activity?
Our focus is delivering Operational Traffic Management services, which aims to decrease any type of traffic obstacle by monitoring traffic in real time and providing quick and direct solutions for transport authorities. For example, we check and change the traffic light control management of municipalities or cities after our assessment of the traffic situation.
“My Corridor” is built on the concept of “Mobility as a Service”. Imagine you share a ride with a potential user – how would you explain it?
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) will provide you an on the spot choice between various types of transport, which you don’t need to own or have a subscription to. You will be able to rent or share on the spot through a single transaction by logging into one app from a single provider, which has all contracts with various mobility providers.
What is the task of “MAP Traffic Management” in the “MyCorridor” project?
We are currently working on the pilot site in Amsterdam, which includes offline testing with volunteers, followed by real world testing at the end of 2019. Together with the other Traffic Management partners we have integrated Interactive Traffic Management (TM2.0 framework) into the “MyCorridor” one-stop-shop.
What makes “MyCorridor” unique in comparison to your other projects?
My Corridor is very attractive for us, because it’s more than traffic management of passenger vehicles, as it takes a multimodal or even universal approach on urban, regional and cross-border mobility. Since we are experts in the sector of traffic management, we take a closer look at various types of data management of our partners. The unique exercise is the problem-solving on the customers’ end, such as solving the question of city access and the distribution of travel demand on various modes of transport.
What opportunities and benefits does “My Corridor” bring to your company?
Regarding MaaS, we were thrown in the cold water and had to learn how to swim. Thanks to our project partners, we had the chance to build capacities, which have already enabled us to work on several MaaS-related projects since the start of “MyCorridor”. The project opened up an entire new field and new relation from our more traditional work fields. We consider the sharing of knowledge and building of capabilities as the core of any European project.
Let’s take the focus from the project in general towards the pilots. What were the challenges that occurred during the first testing phase in Amsterdam?
In general, difficulties occurred during the preparation of the pilot site, which did not surprise us, as it’s difficult to collect, combine and integrate information from third parties. The goal of having a “one stop shop” is very ambitious, but that’s the essential task of MyCorridor and we are glad to tackle this challenge. Since the “MaaS” concept and our project is quite innovative, we spend a decent amount of time to bring mobility operators and companies to the table and explain the benefit of data sharing.
Shifting towards the international nature of the European project. What were your most important input to the project and how did you influence other project partners?
We brought a clear focus on the end-user to the table, thanks to our previous experience with our “Social Traffic Management®” service for customers of live events, concerts and football games in the Netherlands. Our essential approach towards everything we do for the project is “how can we influence the end-user to channel and offer demand?” We are quite convinced that a direct communication channel to the end user is essential for us.
Remaining on the topic of European cooperation. Where do you see the potential of “MyCorridor” on cross-border solutions?
My Corridor identified the biggest challenges which are the lack of harmonisation of the data format and the legal framework. The research done by “MyCorridor” can be a stepping stone towards common ticketing services or even a harmonisation and standardisation of data formats.
What can the user expect in this fast-moving sector in the next few years?
Since MaaS is a new type of service, developments will not accelerate so quickly that users will get rid of their car and bike in the next years, but for the short term, MaaS will enable travellers to easily switch between various modalities at their own will. This hassle-free modality choice will enhance the user’s trips and is a prerequisite for the functioning of such service.
What are the concrete next tasks and where can the interested user stay informed and eventually also get involved?
We are very excited, because the first part of the test is currently underway in house and offline. The “MyCorridor” app already operable and functions as a one-stop-shop, which walks end-users through several scenarios, where they plan trips and buy tickets. I am looking forward the first feedback of our end-users, which will be essential for the real life testing.