Queensland trials Mobility as a Service

Queensland public transport services, taxis, rideshare, car share, e-scooters and e-bikes will be involved in a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) trial.

Mark Bailey

The MaaS concept, based on integrating public and private transport through a common digital interface into a one-stop-shop, is seen as a way of getting cars off the road, reducing congestion and cutting emissions.

The 12-month Brisbane trial will test the ability to plan, book and pay for multi-modal trips using a smartphone app.

The trial is part of the iMove CRC program will be jointly led by the Department of Transport and Main Roads and the Universtity of Queensland, and funded by Australian-based MaaS technology company SkedGo.

The ODIN PASS app that will be used in the trial also provides real-time traffic data and updates to give users information about road disruptions and alternative routes, and lets them choose the most environmentally friendly route.

Tailored trips

Transport Minister Mark Bailey says participants will be able to tailor their trips by combining multiple transport options.

“For example, some people may get off a bus and need to walk some distance to get to their desired destination, so this app will assist trial participants to plan out a seamless transition using different transport modes to help them get to their destination faster,” he said in a statement.

“Being able to plan and test different mobility solutions through a single app is a real game-changer.”

UQ CEO Andrew Flannery says the trial demonstrates how collaboration between government, research institutions, business and the community can help find better transport options.

He says he hopes the trial will increase public transport use by providing easy access and a seamless transition between multiple transport options.

The trial is available to UQ students and staff within a geo-fenced area.

“The MaaS trial is innovative and will investigate real options that make passenger and active transport more appealing,” he said.

Not just a digital planner

iMove describes MaaS as an “integrated transport service brokered by an integrator via a digital platform”.

It says MaaS isn’t just a digital travel planner but “a framework for delivering a portfolio of multi-modal mobility service that places the user at the centre”.

Australia’s first MaaS trial was launched in Sydney in 2019.

A report released in March found that travellers appeared to see very little value in MaaS in the presence of existing apps, such as Opal Connect and Google Pay, without a monetary incentive.

However it noted the trial was limited and not necessarily representative of the general population and its duration was curtailed by covid.

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