Today, we speak with Laura Coconea, Head of Innovation in SWARCO Mizar (Italy). Thanks to its 50 years of experience in traffic management, SWARCO is one of the main stakeholders in the traffic industry and represents one of the industrial partners of MyCorridor, working on the connection between traffic management and “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS) platform.
Can you explain the MaaS concept for users? Imagine you share a ride with a user – How would you explain the concept?
From our point of view, we describe MaaS as an instrument that supports the user with a unique interface for a variety of mobility services. The same tool would enable the traveller to plan and pay for journeys but also to change and adapt the route of the journey according to the real time traffic situation. If I need to define the concept in a single sentence, I would say:
“MaaS is the integration of various forms of transport services into a single, cross-border mobility service, directly accessible to the user via smartphone or computer”
Please describe your organisation, its role in “MyCorridor” and the field of activity?
The SWARCO group has 2 divisions: Road Marking Systems and ITS covering different market sectors (urban, interurban, public transport, e-mobility and parking). SWARCO Mizar provides mobility management services, focused on two market sectors: urban traffic management and public transport management. We are supporting the MyCorridor project by managing the pilot in Rome and by providing traffic management services along the cross-border corridor. We see traffic management services as an essential enabling layer of MaaS, concerning both public and private transport.
What opportunities does the “My Corridor” project bring to your company?
MyCorridor and the exchange with other MaaS experts provides us with insights on the behaviour and processes of the users. Since SWARCO Mizar focusses on traffic- or fleet management, we did not have direct interactions with the final user in comparison to other companies from the consortium, which take care of booking and the actual user interface of the MaaS solution. Our work is designed to improve quality of life of travellers, even though we are a hidden actor in the MaaS value chain.
What is the role of your company in the first pilot phase in Rome and did you face challenges?
SWARO Mizar is leading pilot activities in Rome. Concerning the specific pilot activities, we face the challenge of involving external mobility service providers and finding the right incentive for them to join the platform. We spend a considerable amount of time pitching and convincing these companies to join our pilot, which is critical to the success of the project. This is due to the limited interest of transport providers to join such project without an immediately visible economic return and without seeing the long-term benefits. Since we are just at the beginning of the pilot process, we face difficulties to showcase tangible results and success stories to these companies, because we simply did not start the pilots yet.
The project should provide the foundation for further technical developments and business models. What innovations can the citizens and cities expect in this fast-moving sector in the next few years?
Currently, the biggest challenges with MaaS solutions are the legislative and political hurdles for data sharing and the creation of cross-border solutions, which are also the most interesting aspects of our project. So far, the lack of service integration, security, privacy aspects of data sharing and the different legal systems in European Member States have not been tackled.
If “MyCorridor” can be the first stepping stone in the integration process of MaaS solutions, it might open the door to additional customer-friendly solutions throughout Europe. A truly European app for MaaS solutions in several Member States would be a considerable innovation for the user.
Since SWARCO Mizar is one of the traffic management experts in “MyCorridor”, could you explain the combination of the MaaS-concept with “Traffic Management 2.0” (TM 2.0) – What are the benefits for the consumer?
The goal of TM 2.0 is the creation of a collaborative mobility management system which provides travellers with optimal choices, makes the best use possible of the available infrastructure and adds value to the economy and quality of life.
In this view, the connected MaaS-traveller should be part of the traffic management loop. Individuals can share their real time data, location and their travel intentions with us. All these datasets would be concentrated in the Traffic Management centre of a city, which then creates a holistic traffic strategy by combining the travel intentions with the Traffic Management data.
Can you provide us with a real-world example?
If several hundreds of users use bike-sharing options instead of their car for their daily commutes, because the weather got better in spring, we will be able recognise this development in the future. If we can access these travel patterns, we could, for example, block a lane for bicycles during the peak hours of bike commutes. This example would be part of a possible long-term scenario about the future potential of urban traffic management.
Data sharing between traffic management and the MaaS ecosystem would benefit to the user, because the traffic might be adjusted “for him” following a win-win strategy. The cities will also receive a detailed analysis of travel patterns from the MaaS solution.
What are the next tasks for SWARCO in the pilots and where can the citizen stay informed and eventually also get involved?
Currently, we are starting our first pilot phase in Rome, with a limited number of users, which provides us the first contact with the final user, following by the deployment of the services in the second phase, with a wider user base, which will be our real-world test.
Interested readers can find further information on our homepage or meet us directly during the ITS Europe Congress in Eindhoven, where we present our findings related to the connection between Traffic Management and Mobility as a Service either in the so-called special interest session on the topic “TM and MaaS”, taking place on the 4th of June 2019 or in the Technical Session on “Added Value from new services” on the 6th of June 2019.