In my last blog post, I posed a deceptively simple question: what is your mobility challenge? The point of that post was two-fold. First, it was an acknowledgement that each stakeholder – commuter, mobility providers and car makers, energy supplier, telecoms supplier and local authority – has its own issues to address when seeking to deliver future mobility. Second, the post served to rehearse the subsequent questions that each stakeholder needs to ask in order to start meeting those challenges head on. Recognising the size and the nature of the task is the first step to mastering it.
Perhaps one statistic illustrates the mutual challenge best – and I found evidence of it at the AutoTech Disruption conference held in Paris back in April. One speaker pointed out that as the on-demand car hailing boom has taken off in New York City – rides up 37% – so there has been a 19% decrease in the average speed across the city. If a key mission of mobility solutions is to smooth traffic flows while accommodating more and more people making more and more journeys, then we must accept that these figures are a sign of early failure.
No one doubts the potential of future mobility, not least its potential to reduce – not add to – congestion. One estimate (Patrice Pelata at AutoTech Disruption, April 9, 2019) suggests that ultimately autonomous vehicles will result in a 70% utilisation rate as against 4% for the current car fleet. That could equate to a reduction in flow of up to two-thirds. Little surprise then that there is a rising interest among public authorities across Europe. Here in France, for example, the French Government recently unveiled 16 ongoing trials L’Usine Digitale, 24 April 2019 managed by the likes of PSA, Renault, Transdev, Keolis, and Valeo.
Other opportunities exist, too. From car hailing to scooter rental and robo taxis, most mobility providers are testing the market. Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) is an attractive proposition, combining all modes of transport to create journeys that can be planned, booked and paid for in one seamless whole. Driven by providers, operators and local authorities seeking to make city living more sustainable, and by changing user behaviours, MaaS is getting ready for the mainstream.
A problem remains, however. Ambitions to create a seamless whole are undermined by disconnected systems behind the scene. A mixture of historical accident, commercial rivalry and the fact that there are so many players involved has meant systems are rarely joined up. This, in turn, prevents the synergies that would otherwise benefit all concerned.
If a commuter is to undertake a journey using multiple modes of transport then there must be a fluent booking, ticketing, parking, tolling and customer service experience to match. The mobility provider that delivers such service will need systems that can, among other things, fine tune its offer based on updated analytics, and automate order-to-cash and source-to-pay operations.
In short, mobility providers need connected back-end tools to deliver the game-changing front-end services users demand and our cities need. Without such tools, the mobility revolution will stall.
Those testing the potential of mobility in France and elsewhere know that new products and offers can only be successful if the data interactions run smoothly. At Conduent, we see this as our purpose. For example, our Viewpoint digital platform allows providers to send a single, user-friendly invoice that merges all the data from every mobility service. Viewpoint means there’s no need to import, export or copy data between third party tools. It delivers data filtering and processing capabilities at speed and provides collection and processing facilities that work across multiple services.
We describe ourselves as a mobility interaction company for good reason. Without these touchpoints – these interactions – the mobility-as-a-service dream will remain illusory. With those tools, however, MaaS will enter the mainstream.
About the AuthorMore Content by Jean-Marie Vial