By Matt Cole, President at Cubic Transportation Systems and Corporate Senior Vice President at Cubic Corporation
If you’ve read one of my articles before, you’ve probably heard me mention NextCity. While Cubic Transportation Systems delivers a wide and varying range of transportation solutions to customers throughout the world, our NextCity vision allows us to neatly sum up how these solutions can work together to deliver a holistic, efficient mobility experience for everyone involved. This concept is something people are now referring to as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS).
Although NextCity is often on my mind, I recognize that others may not have thought through the possible implications and benefits of MaaS. A full implementation of our NextCity vision would impact the lives of thousands of travelers in a single city on a minute-by-minute basis.
Here are a few examples of what that could look like:
Alarms go off throughout the city, and early-morning commuters awake to a notification from their traveler app with suggestions on the most efficient route into work helping them make their first meeting on time, or arrive at their regular start time. A serious accident has impacted traffic on one of the city’s major corridors, causing significant delays to multiple bus routes and road travel times; based on the average time to clear similar incidents, it is going to impact the peak-commute period on this and parallel corridors. However, the city’s congestion management platform is able to respond to the situation in a predictive way by identifying potentially impacted travelers through historic payment transactions, and it leads those commuters to alternate routes and modes through the traveler app notifications, predicted journey times and price reductions for desired routes/mode, and a congestion charge increase for the impacted corridors. In order to ensure accurate journey time predictions, priority is given to the corridors, arterials and vehicles that are expected to carry the additional load this morning at intersections across the city. For most people this morning, their journey will only take a few extra minutes and cost no more than their usual journey.
Among the thousands of commuters, some will inevitably be rushing through a station in order to make it to their meeting. However, the turnstiles are clear because commuters seamlessly and frictionlessly move through them using a virtual card in the mobile wallet which is enabled and validated as it enters the field of the turnstile, ensuring that the city’s most stressed-out travelers are able to make it to their 9:30 a.m. meetings.
Tourists arrive every day with various levels of understanding in terms of the city’s mobility options. A group of visitors from South Korea in town to see their first baseball game may not be aware that they can download an app to plan and pay for their mobility in the city, nor are they likely to know the combination of modes necessary to get to the stadium. Thankfully, NextCity empowers merchants in convenience stores across the city to sell fare products quickly and easily, also prompting them to download the traveler app. Once they’ve added a one-day ticket to their mobile wallet, the service clerk is able to point them in the right direction so they’ll be in their seats for the first pitch.
The city’s transit agency is holding a meeting to consider re-allocating buses from one route to another. Since launching their new payment system 16 months ago, they’ve been able to collect a robust set of data on traveler habits and needs. When the city last reviewed its route plan a few years ago, the decisions demanded months of study and careful analysis. With the benefit of citywide transportation data, including usage of new mobility services and private vehicle usage, they are now able to make decisions grounded in facts and data in a real-time, simulated manner. The committee adjourns after an hour for lunch, well on their way to implementing a more efficient transit network.
As the work day draws down, one downtown office employee realizes that her mobility account is running low. She lives in an outer suburb, and her commute involves three separate modes of transportation. Before NextCity, each trip home required her to keep track of three payment methods: a ridesharing app, a monthly bus ticket, and a train ticket for the city’s separate commuter rail agency. Now once she replenishes her account, she’s ready to go; the traveler app will take care of the rest.
Nearing the end of rush hour, one downtown commuter takes advantage of the post-peak hour travel rewards and only now taps in for a train ride home. This commuter was not only able to get a couple more hours of work in, but also received a coupon for half-off an iced coffee at the in-station coffee mart, as well as loyalty value that can be redeemed on their next off-peak transit journey. Call it a win-win-win.
It may seem like implementing our NextCity vision is something impossibly challenging; there are a lot of moving parts and technologies involved. However, it’s important to bear in mind that many of these critical technologies are already delivering value in cities across the world, and it’s now only a matter of linking them all together in a single metro area.
We are ready to lead the way on MaaS—which city is going to be first across the finish line?
Learn more by visiting cubic.com.
This article was previously published by Matt Cole on LinkedIn.