by Rossen Jekov
- Digital Excellence Practice Lead
With sustainability ever higher on the agenda (European Green deal and climate neutrality by 2050), enabling user-friendly access to low carbon, shared, and intermodal mobility has become a priority for governments, local authorities, and transport operators alike. At Sopra Steria, we are convinced that these stakeholders can fully seize the opportunities offered by the rapidly evolving mobility services by nurturing an Open MaaS (Mobility as a Service) ecosystem.
Finding transportation alternatives to private cars (solo driving with congestion and air pollution effects), especially in an urban context, is easy these days. Apart from familiar Public transportation services such as the train, tram, bus and metro, there are plenty of other and newer options around, such as (electric) bikes, scooters, and carsharing, that we are used to call new mobilities. But combining these various mobility modes is a very different story. The reason being, of course, that the data needed to provide a multimodal guidance service to travellers is often siloed, just as disparate transport information systems are not always talking to each other – not fluently or seamlessly, anyway.
In short, the current mobility environment is heterogeneous and requires a significant amount of data and systems integration work to enable a satisfactory multimodal journey for the customer. At the same time, traditional MaaS approaches show limitations as they are not able to cope with the rapid evolution of mobility services. But all this is a thing of the past because the Open MaaS ecosystem, our alternative approach, opens up new perspectives. Open MaaS means open standards of course, promoting accessibility with open data, data sharing, and open APIs. Open knowledge, open science, and open innovation are also accelerators that allow to innovate faster by involving various stakeholders in a true business ecosystem where Platform enterprises are thriving.
Push towards open standards
The key to interoperability is openness, which is achieved through open and robust standards. As in other highly sensitive domains, such as eHealth and eBanking, legislative authorities - the EU first and foremost – are defining new standards and promoting open data for the transport & mobility industry. This is also one of the aims of MaaS Alliance which is working together with public and private sector actors to drive further openness and common standards adoption within the EU mobility ecosystem.
Thanks to the creation of common standards for sharing and presenting data, as well as for modelling the transport network, transport operators and agencies can now also aggregate and streamline data more easily from different sources, external as well as internal. This evolution has paved the way for even more advanced solutions like Open MaaS, which at the end will offer to users a centralised, real-time information on intermodal and multimodal forms of transport through a mobile app or a webpage.
Much more than an app
The user interface is inevitably the most visible and therefore the most relatable part of any solution. However, our Open MaaS solutions, are offering to our customers far more than just a user-friendly mobility application. The Open MaaS includes a highly secure platform on which leading transport operators can build and nurture an intelligent, sustainable, and open mobility ecosystem, and progressively include the different transport services available.
While the modular nature of the platform makes it easy to scale, its inherent openness through robust standardisation and extensive use of APIs enables our customers to evolve their mobility platform in a heterogeneous context with multiple players. More specifically, it allows other transport operators and agencies to connect to it, while proposing to travellers a seamless service, making Open MaaS accessible and attractive to both private and public actors.
Tried and proven
Last but not least, our Open MaaS solutions are based on principles and practices that have proven their worth already across the EU. Not only in the travel and transport industries, but also in other digital platforms, such as eHealth and eBanking, that have rapidly evolved in the recent years, and in which Sopra Steria is playing a significant role.
The experience accumulated in the development of solutions for these domains, as well as in large interoperability projects for EU systems allows Sopra Steria to transpose its experience and assets to the Open MaaS solutions.
Furthermore, Sopra Steria has joined forces with key players. We are working together with start-ups and well-established players to build the Belgian Open MaaS ecosystem.