UbiGo was a public 6-month trial of a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) model, undertaken by project Go:smart, in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. The project was developed as an attempt to create better conditions for sustainable travel by demonstrating how new business models and partnerships can reduce the need for private car ownership in favor of seamlessness, multimodality, and use of information technology. The public trial operated from November 2013 through May 2014, involving around 200 participants from private, urban households. UbiGo features and services included:
- Access to public transport, bike sharing, car sharing, taxi and rental cars
- A personalized, monthly household subscription (and single invoice), which could be modified on a monthly basis and which included the possibility to top up and roll over credit
- A customer service phone line open 24 hours per day
- Subscription access via web interface adapted to smartphones, in which users could activate tickets/trips, make/check bookings, and access already activated tickets (e.g. for validation purposes), check one’s balance, bonus, and trip history, and get support (in terms of FAQ/customer service)
- A smartcard, used for instance to check out a bicycle from the bikesharing service or unlock a booked car, but also charged with extra credit for the public transport system in case there was any problem using the UbiGo service
- Compensation for not using a private vehicle during the FOT (Field-Operational-Test), i.e. to offset insurance, parking, etc. up to a fixed limit.
While the service experienced a successful proof of concept and had high customer satisfaction, UbiGo service was ultimately discontinued after the pilot due to difficulties in finding a cooperative model that worked for both the region/PT-provider and UbiGo as an emerging private, commercial service.
Attributes that contributed to the success of the UbiGo pilot were identified based on participant questionnaires, interviews, and travel diaries. The following lessons learned were derived from the participants' responses:
- Ensure that the infrastructure network (carsharing sites, public transportation stops/routes, etc.) being considered for a MaaS model is extensive enough to reach the user. For example, if a carsharing site is perceived as too far away, people will not join the scheme.
- Anticipate participants’ expectations in relation to MaaS. Expectations were generally high, but the greatest expectations had to do with being better able to pay for transport and keep track of transport expenditures, having more transport mode alternatives to from which to choose, and being better able to adapt one’s mode choice to each individual trip. UbiGo largely fulfilled these expectations.
- Test new MaaS models in a low-risk environment that fosters trialability. UbiGo was not set up to stimulate behavioral change per se; it was primarily intended as a trial of the new type of service even though reduced environmental impact was a desired additional effect. Nonetheless, many participants used the service to actively trial new behavior; to see whether they would still be able to carry out their daily activities. The trial lowered the risk, effort, and uncertainty connected with undertaking a behavioral change process.
- Utilize a pay-per-use model to create transparency. Participants appreciated the pay-per-use concept (combined with the ability to roll over and top up credit); partly as this made travel costs more transparent (broken down per trip/day), and partly as not having sunk costs in a particular mode meant that they could more easily choose a mode according to each trip’s requirements.
- Utilize a dedicated login to ensure participant’s that their personal information is secure. The UbiGo app utilized a Gmail/Facebook login rather than a dedicated login. Although people generally felt secure with this, when asked what they preferred, approximated one third would have preferred a dedicated login, one-third did not care either way, and one-third preferred a Gmail/Facebook login. This indicates that such customer preferences should be taken into consideration when designing security and access features.
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