SMART Highways attended the Transportation as a Service (TaaS) Technology Conference that took place over two days in Birmingham’s National Motorcycle Museum, to hear industry professionals speak about connected automated vehicles and future mobility.
The first speaker to address the audience of industry professionals at the TaaS Technology Conference was Alan Clarke, of Lime electric bikes and scooters. Mr Clarke spoke about how micro mobility can improve cities. He suggested that the reason people have decided to take over 50 million trips on a dock-less scooter or e-bike is because they no longer want to ‘waste their time’ sat in traffic and are looking for different ways to move around cities.
As we as a society and as countries continue to ‘urbanise’, Mr Clarke expressed how he felt that we are going to need more answers as to how people will get around.
Eugenie Teasley, Uber’s Head Of Cities for the South of England, discussed how our generation is now able to replace our cars with our phones. We currently have 1.2 billion cars in the world today and 95% of them spend their time idle, said Ms Teasley. She continued to suggest that for this reason, perhaps it is time that we re-evaluate how cars are used. In order to use our cars more efficiently and sustainably, Ms Teasley argued that we should try to encourage more people to get into fewer vehicles. ‘If we could do this, we could make huge steps in reducing the number of vehicles that we need,’ said Ms Teasly. She also referred to a study by The International Transport Forum that said that if every vehicle on the road today was shared, we would only need 3% of the vehicles that we have to move around the same number of people.
HERE Mobility’s Alon Paster, head of partnerships, told a story of how he and his son attended a football match and struggled to procure convenient transportation. ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could of booked all of our transport whilst booking our football tickets dad?’ Mr Pastor said that his son asking him this question led to him thinking about how useful a kind of singular transport booking platform would be. Similarly, InMotion’s executive director strategic business, Lars Klawitter questioned what the shared mobility side of Transportation as a Service would look like. ‘Whist a few a years ago the user would have only had public transport as a last mile option, they now have an abundance of choices,’ said Klawitter.
‘The race is still on and the stakes are high – for whoever becomes the ‘main’ platform the prize is obviously massive. However people are working at a slow and cautious pace because whilst the rewards would be plenty, the risk is still huge,’ explained Klawitter.
Beate Kubitz is director of policy and communications at TravelSpirit, a not-for-profit community and organisation that helps people working in the field of voluntary, public and private transportation. Ms Kubitz said that TravelSpirit had spoken to mobility professionals about how they see Mobility as a Service (MaaS), integrating public transport with last mile seamlessly, in order to create a successful last mile service.
Ms Kubitz offered a quick ‘reality check’, stating that the Department for Transport (DfT) tracking of public awareness and adoption has shown that 28% of people have used Uber or similar ride-hailed taxi and 3% of the public have used a bike share service. These kinds of stats suggest an adoption gap, Ms Kubitz said.
The panel session – How to break through with micro-mobility?
James Carter, principle consultant at Vision Mobility, chaired the panel that included Beate Kubitz, Alan Clarke, Sigrid Dalberg-Krajewski, head of marketing and communications at Trafi and Mark Thomas, vice president of marketing at Ridecell.
The key questions that were raised about micro mobility during the session where; How realistic is the idea of last mile? Do we have the wrong approach to micro mobility in the UK in regards to legislation? How accessible is micro mobility?
Ms Kubitz asked her fellow panellists whether they thought a new way to make walking more attractive is needed in order to move people away from their cars. Sigrid Dalberg-Krajewski discussed how micro mobility will make for more connected cities, as it could ‘bind cities together more effectively’. Ms Dalberg-Krajewski added that the need for low emissions also needs to be factored into micro mobility.
Patrick Ayad, a partner at Hogan Lovells, a global law firm with a strong industry sector focus that includes the automotive, mobility, technology and consumer markets, spoke about the regulatory approach needed for CAV’s. Mr Ayad stated that the ‘key players’ involved in the industry are, tech companies, consumer companies, energy players, telecommunication companies and automotive companies. All of which need to be involved with creating new regulations in order to have CAVs sold, used and regulated appropriately. However, he continued to say that the problem with introducing new laws for CAVs was that. he feels, there is no real pull from consumers or government to have the regulations put into as quickly as possible. ‘With everyone wanting access to the costumers and his or her data, problems surrounding data protection emerges. We need new regulations to deal with this,’ concluded Mr Ayad.
Mark Thomas, vice president of Ridecell said, ‘Without shared mobility, autonomy would just be fancy cruise control.’ He went on to say that it’s not just about the technology when it comes to getting CAVs on our roads, and that ride-hailing apps will play a role in assuring users that shared and connected mobility can be convenient and reliable.
80% of people surveyed by the DfT said that they use a smart phone and of those people, 86% use it for travel purposes. The majority of that percentage is made up of people using google maps. The survey also found that only 28% of people are using ride-hailing apps such as Uber. The head of future of mobility at the centre for connected and autonomous vehicles, Ella Taylor, concluded by saying that the most important factor surrounding future mobility, is that we have technology that is meeting people’s needs.