CR Entretien Ferdinand Burgersdijk de MaaS Alliance (Benchmark MaaS)

From Communauté de la Fabrique des Mobilités

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Description en une ligne : Cet entretien avec Ferdinand Burgersdijk a été réalisé le 5 novembre dans le cadre du Benchmark MaaS. Il a été mené par Ghislain Delabie et Marguerite Grandjean. Il a été réalisé en anglais.

Description :

What MaaS activities did / do you do ?

Independently: Strategic advisor to the 7 Dutch national MaaS pilots, Project Lead in charge of the ETC expansion towards multi modal, cross border, seamless mobility, Lead/Strategic Advisor for the Benelux Living Laboratory for MaaS, Advisor to H2020 project Molière, Leader of the working groups on technology, standardisation and ticketing for maaS-Alliance, Expert to EIT Urban Mobility; Expert to WBCSD on data strategy/sharing and MaaS;

The concept makes sense, but how do we make the transport authorities adopt it ? Is it too big a step ?

MaaS essentially is the common digital transition in mobility. Up till now all services merely covered a part of the services, like trains, busses, and the like in Public Transport (‘PT’), and in in the Private domain Rent-a-bikes/cars (also referred to as ‘shared bikes/cars’) and demand responsive transport (‘DRT’). During the past decades digitisation and digitalisation were very much focussed on individual operations/businesses.

Engineering one platform to bring all these together makes sense from a commercial perspective in line with the first successes of Uber, Spotify and Booking and others. Uber was simply an add on of a pricing/marketing strategy on findability of available taxi’s, Booking simply did the same for hotel rooms and Spotify could not have reached it’s current potential without standardisation like MP3.

What we can learn from these examples, that there is value in standardising leading up to scale and exchangeability of information. As well to match individual needs of people to individual services and extending on this with support/advice.

Engineering the all supporting platform seems profitable and all societal benefits are easily imagined. The past five years have proven that it is not as easily said as done. The main problem is that the environment in which it wants to integrate is already occupied with other systems and solutions. On the other hand these systems and solutions have life cycles of their own including public funding. Secondly, and this is where the FabMob project comes in, how do we make sure that its implementation and governance are well supervised in order to overcome possible excesses.

For public transport authorities (‘PTA’) to adopt MaaS common understanding is needed on what MaaS is, how the services come to pass and how regulatory aspects like GDPR, Public Service Obligations (‘PSO’) are met. The technology part needs to be scalable but so do the regulatory aspects. For me, this stresses the need for public/private collaboration. The more digitally sensitive private market needs to open up and allow the public administrations to comfortably understand how it works and how data can flow safely and securely without creating asymmetries. The more regulation sensitive public administrations need to support and help private stakeholders to come to common bases to interact in new ways of collaboration. Both need to work together emphasising that the individual interests must make way for common ones, seeing that the emerging value of collaboration in the mobility system as a whole, forging efficiency and effectivity, is far bigger than the sum of all the individual stakes.

For adaptation comfortable understanding and collaboration are needed. This step is huge, indeed, but not unfeasible. As long as we don’t see MaaS merely as a technical solution, putting the power of decision making in the hands of few, whereas the public goals are similarly if not more important than the private (commercial) ones.

What happened to the MaaS API ?

In its early days MaaS Global offered its API specs to be taken as a baseline solution upon which MaaS Alliance could gradually extend new insights. But like this API it was very much a design of a group of engineers, creating a solution over maybe a set of pragmatists trying to align what’s already in place. I haven’t seen any API that doesn’t conflict. Even a bottom up process which the Ministry supported in The Netherlands, now called TOMP, is still too engineered for most bike/car sharing organisations. Because the data flow does not always coincide with the actual User Experience or Service Procedure, nor are all the definitions appropriate for individual or groups of service providers.

In the recent year and a half MaaS Alliance opened up its doors for all projects with regards to data models and standards. This brought a broad overview to the fore, where we could see similarities and also opposing viewpoints. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to comprehend that a train or a bus think along the lines of timetables, because it’s the way the services are commissioned, and we have grown accustomed to them. And seeing a lack of inflexibility it is perfectly fine not to change this all together. Taxi’s (and other DRT) on the other hand, of different shared bike/car schemes, have increased flexibility. This makes any constraint less attractive. It is not a predefined stop or station, but an address or geolocation that marks the asset. It is not a local time but a global time stamp that defines the availability.

Recently the open working groups at the MaaS Alliance on data models and standards have released a paper stating that we don’t have to do everything all over again, nor will it be possible to set up ‘the MaaS API’. We do all need to comprehend that different services enjoyed by passengers/users need to be defined from the relationship that they create. This means that an individual and an asset are tied over a transition in space and time. That these assets can be of different types (bus, train, car, bike) but also different in sort of service (a private car ride, rental services, ridehailing, mass transit). In order to improve on this new perspective, the group chooses to keep on working together to learn from each other and to bring more harmonisation across mobility.

What is your vision of MaaS

We should stop seeing the solution along the lines of the platforms that do it all. The platforms could not exist without data coming from operators nor from individuals. The operators could not, or should not be able, to operate without a set of obligations (PSO) from (democratically ran) administrations/authorities. One of those being opening up data for reuse by third parties. One must rethink whether this data should be open or under FAIR data principles, being findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.

Like in the Dutch Pilots we must look for tit for tat situations and caring for a level playing field. This requires opening up from all ends. Current business practices don’t allow for this though, due to reason like competition or shareholder value. The latter both don’t sit well with collaboration and cooperation, where transparency is concerned. So, we have to overcome old school thinking. But seeing that will not happen overnight, maybe we can find solutions that help for now and establish just enough to get some traction allowing stakeholders to grasp this and in that effect the bigger picture.

Sponsorhip

A lot of work has already gone into MaaS. And we allowed to pilot through public and private investors. Most of these funds will evaporate. It is hard in this day and age, but we don’t always come out on top. In any learning process we loose money but win insights, connections etc. And a lot of work is still needed to harmonise common tools, like language, like technology and regulatory frameworks which will allow for scalability and understanding. These three will enable the actual roll out of MaaS. The EU is stepping up to the plate DG MOVE, DG COMPETITION and DG CLIMATE, they see the importance. They’ve started on some data regulations, and are looking for projects that they themselves can learn form overcoming the current pitfalls and creating traction. Possibly the Benelux Living Laboratory for MaaS, that looks to work on this with cross-border mobility will such a project.

Leadersip

Leadership is a personal trait. There are too many projects and deflecting personal interest going on for now to speak about leadership in MaaS. And although there are quite a few well informed people willing and able, sponsorship or funds are lacking to put them in place.

Participation

As described earlier the emerging value we can create is far bigger than the sum of the individual. If the Mobility stakeholders do not get their stuff together chances are they will be outclassed by digital platforms. So choices are quite evident, work together to establish a common solution, under a common language, with common rules, or undergo the power of data and investment funds.

Don’t come to the table on a high horse based on the sheer magnitude of your company of your personal title, come as an active participant that wants to resolve issues and overcome obstacles in collaboration.

→ Go back to the minimum possible. Identification: all bikes have same numbers, whereas they need to have unique identifiers. We need to identify them uniquely, attribute identities with key values. But how do you identify someone? Not only official identity, but also how it looks? Ex. Every bike needs to be unique - we can’t have 2 bikes named #1 because they’re run from different companies. TO gives identity to cars, bikes, individuals. Each asset should have a unique identity + private / public keys. --> Different tree leaves are different even though they come from the same tree. Car name could be “ABC” but could add “number plate” to communicate to individual. In digital world you only need to know it’s a car?

How can we join in the work with MaaS Alliance ?

Connecting with the (sub) working group on data models and API’s should be really easy, because we opened them up beyond just our members to get an open and broad approach. Organisations like CEN/Transmodel, regional projects (OSLO, NOMAD, TOMP) and Mobility Data (GBFS/GTFS) joined in. I think this is a good basis for FabMob to join and learn what we brought together.

The primarily tech centric approach misses out on situational fit. There is a lot of reluctance with (bigger) rent-a-car/bike operators on simply falling in line with new reference models like TOMP simply because they’re to rigid and demand change, not only technically but also in the way current operations are set up (incl. UX and interfacing). For Public Transport operators, we must understand that they never designed their IT to be used outside their own organisation. Opening this up towards a ‘new’ standard requires a nearly complete redesign of their current landscape. This is quite similar to the banking industry.

In stead of seeing integration (interaction on the side of the user) and aggregation (collecting data on the side of the operator/supply) as the keys, we must realign completely. This is also where the current MaaS Aliance view and I differ. As a user I want to use several services like planning, booking, validation, trip execution and payment with all kinds of different market players and I don’t seek to let go of my current relations (subscriptions) necessarily. We need to establish a consistency in messaging (protocol) and a common understanding (language/format) to allow anyone to understand what’s going on, from the organisations setting up the desired infrastructure to the end user themselves to let them onboard comfortably.

We still tend to design everything from a single ‘mind’s eye’ being the most persistent or marketable seem to be the winners. But mobility is a fundamental right of mankind. We shouldn’t let the free economy take over. We’re should manage public space and offerings to maintain that freedom in balance to oyr societal goals, like managing our carbon footprint or social inclusion.

In what capacity will you be involded in MaaS ?

In order to change behaviour, you need a feedback loop. To achieve this over all sorts of services (from PT, DRT to bike/carshare) and any type of transport we need to start being more transparent. Also in view of GDPR and organisational strategy we need to understand that not all have to know everything about each other. This means we want to share information to those who have a clearly described goal to which they need data. I promote a view around data and user, where you share data with aggregators/partners on a reciprocal basis. MaaS is an opportunity to break with the current tendency in digitalisation, where we only want to gather data, accounts and seek for shareholder (individual) value, and start looking for the value that emerges from collaboration. Sticking to the old patterns will create trouble. I’ve been pushing discussions in this direction at MaaS Alliance, and also in a broader scope with (transport) authorities and actual transport operators.

Before we head into MaaS head on we first need to understand that we need to fulfil the minimum and expand from there. So, issues like parking / e-charging are less important at this point. Firstly, we need to adopt that the central object is the relationships between assets and users. Create common appreciation to comfortably understand what kind of sort and type mobility it is, that is allowing individuals to go from A to B.

In seeing a missing element for collaboration and to support common understanding and consistency in messaging, I created a solution called FairsFair. FairsFair organises data for all stakeholder in a certain relationship during the course of a leg. The latter can be categorised based on the sort of service and a type of transport. Secondly, we organised a way that allows safe and targeted consent-based exchange of (personal) information. That’s the thin line.

I will be promoting FairsFair in project like Molière and the Benelux. I’m in contact with a lot of administrations and private entities to establish collaborations. By taking out the asymmetry I want to convince authorities, operators and digital platforms to onboard using frameworks like iShare and ontologies like those in progress at MaaS Alliance.

How can we cooperate

→ We can have goals / paths that are different. → We can change way of thinking → We have imagination

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