Regional integration project for Oxfordshire – the UK’s first fully integrated iMaaS programme

By: Alex Froom, Zipabout

Oxford skyline


Total integration

There has been a lot of talk about MaaS, Intelligent Mobility and the future of transport of late – but not a lot of action. Every week it seems another global consultancy produces it’s ‘dream of future transport’ or tells us about the ‘personal journey assistant’ we can expect in 2020, but little seems to be being built. That’s why we decided it was time to deliver something real.

Based on the Demand Management platform we developed for London Underground and the London 2012 Olympics, we have built an intelligent mobility platform covering all aspects of the UK transport network. Rather than look at one simple part of the problem – monitoring the angry tweets at rail companies for delays being a popular, if unchallenging, example – we wanted to see if we could integrate all of the disparate elements that influence the way we move around. Operational road, rail and car data, live positioning, delays and disruptions were the starting point, but what about the human element? The myriad of accessibility needs, the school-runs, the comfortable or the crowded? What about holidays, football matches and weather? Car share schemes, bike schemes, traffic and air quality management, electric vehicle schemes…

What about integrating independent transport networks into one seamless experience and actively engaging with every user of that super-network in a truly personalised way? Not just real-time information, but predictive, personalised information – delivered only to the people who need to know?

UK First

In order to develop a genuinely useful solution for the every stakeholder, we came to see Oxfordshire County Council, well known for their smart city approach to transport problems, and together we formed a powerful R&D consortium of the key stakeholders in the region. Chiltern Railways, Oxford Bus and Great Western Railway lead the needs of the transport operators that was vital to understand the problems and capabilities the region has. Milton Park, Harwell and Culham Science Centre represent the needs of some of the countries most important and busiest business parks, each with their own unique transport issues. A panel of other experts, such as the Met Office and Transport Focus, are guiding the project from their own unique experience and expertise, whilst we try and deliver a fully integrated solution that addresses not only the problems in the transport network but also improves the individual traveller experience.

What is the Oxfordshire pilot programme?

  • Collaborative, real-world deployment of the Zipabout IMaaS Data Collection and Communication platform
  • 2 year consortium-led R&D project involving every transport operator and stakeholder in Oxfordshire
  • Records and maps every transport input – every user journey, every influence, every disruption, every person
  • UK first for combining disparate datasets (open and closed) and fully personalised communication
  • Development of a suite of tools, both standalone (e.g. co-branded app) and integrated services for stakeholders
  • Full Business Intelligence and analytics platform designed for the needs of the stakeholders

Example challenges include: 

Traveller needs

  • Fully personalised, automated travel advisor
  • Must learn the needs of the individual, no matter how diverse or complex
  • Accessibility to the transport network addressed at an individual level
  • Push not pull approach needed to avoid disruption and delays

traveller needs

Regional needs

  • Transport on demand, smart ticketing and future cities programming
  • Identify and measure ROI for scalable infrastructure investment
  • Reduce congestion and air quality issues
  • Optimise park and rides, traffic lights and sustainable schemes
  • Keep the region moving smoothly at all times

image of Oxfordshire route map

Transport Operators

  • Improved customer experience
  • Optimise capacity and integrate with other networks
  • Predictive Demand and Disruption management
  • Route and timetable optimisation
  • Smart ticketing, dynamic routing and Transport On Demand

image of Oxford bus

Business parks

  • Optimise congestion and inflow/outflow in realtime
  • Implement targeted – not random – behavioural change
  • Integrate cycle schemes, lift-share, taxis and public transport
  • Investigate dynamic routing and timetabling around peak periods

image of Oxford bus

This article first appeared on the website of Zipabout