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Pick&Mix project aims revolutionise travel for young people in Scotland

20 July 2016  •  Author(s): Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, Eurotransport

The Pick&Mix project, a pilot funded by Innovate UK, is due to launch with the aim of improving end-to-end journeys for young people in Scotland.

Pick&Mix project aims revolutionise travel for young people in Scotland

The Pick&Mix project will create one of Scotland’s first ever Mobility as a Service (MaaS) applications. The digital service, taking the form of an app or software, will be co-designed by young people, for young people. It aims to improve how they relate to, use, and combine travel modes and transport services to meet their lifestyle needs without the requirement to own a car.

Users can access a tailored bundle of transport modes and services via a single platform

Sometimes referred to as the ‘Netflix of transport”, Mobility as a Service transforms existing, disjointed transport networks into a system whereby users can access a tailored bundle of transport modes and services via a single platform and using a single method of payment.

The Pick&Mix project will take advantage of all available transport options in the user’s locality – everything from trams, buses and trains to car and bike share schemes – alongside concessions and discounts – to provide one single, optimised transport network. The project will look at offering young people personalised information, offers, rewards and tailored recommendations to enhance their travel options. It will also explore any additional customer support requirements, such as trained advisors accessible via webchat. The platform will build an understanding of the individual user’s travel needs. With this data, and through the use of specially developed mobility algorithms, the user will receive advice on how to improve their transport mix.

A consortium of transport and mobility experts is developing the service, led by ESP Group. Steve Cassidy, Managing Director of Viaqqio, part of the ESP Group, said: “This service could almost act as a virtual travel pass as it will be linked to the Young Scot card and it could become a young person’s bus pass, car club token and reward card all in one.

“We are confident that the project will help tackle inequality and remove barriers to travel for young people”

“We are confident that the project will help tackle inequality and remove barriers to travel for young people. There has been a generational shift in attitudes towards travel. Increasingly young people are networked via technology and therefore conditioned to the flexibility of on-demand services. In essence, they already see mobility as a service. Pick&Mix will furnish young people with a co-ordinated solution that becomes competitive with private car ownership not just on a cost basis but also convenience and ease of use.”

It is also hoped that the project will go some way towards tackling the lack of interoperability within the transport industry. Steve Cassidy explained: “We believe that by bringing together a large group of users, young people in this case, within a single service, we can create a market force to drive advances in interoperability. Furthermore, we will work with industry stakeholders to demonstrate how technology can be used to overcome interoperability barriers and increase cross-modal collaboration.”

Along with ESP Group, the consortium includes JMP SYSTRA Consultants, Young Scot, Mudlark, Route Monkey Ltd and the Scottish National Entitlement Card Programme Office. Together they have secured funding to develop the new service from the ‘Enhancing End-to-End Journeys’ competition run by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

Young people have specific issues regarding access to affordable, flexible transport

Young people have specific issues regarding access to affordable, flexible transport and have reduced levels of car ownership. This prompted discussion amongst the partners about how to deliver travel for younger people now and in the future. Thus the idea for Pick&Mix was born and the consortium formed with the plan to actively involve young people in every stage of the design of the service, starting with the Young Scot Co-design process.

2 year pilot will design, build, prototype, test and refine Pick&Mix project

Over the next two years, the partners and teams of young people will design, build, prototype, test and refine Pick&Mix. Initially a team of 20 young volunteers, recruited by Young Scot, will form a National Youth Team to collaboratively design the new service with the consortium. Then around 100 volunteers will be recruited to participate in a live trial of the service in autumn 2017.

Pick&Mix aims to develop a working model that can be rolled out across the UK.  Parallel to the pilot project in Scotland, the consortium will be working with transport operators from the rest of Britain, with a view to franchising Pick&Mix throughout the UK after the Scotland pilot ends in May 2018. The information gathered as part of the trial will enable Scotland to catalyse the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) market which is expected to see rapid growth in the next couple of years.

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