A pioneering Mobility as a Service app has been launched by The Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) to increase accessibility of integrated travel for residents and visitors in rural Scotland.
The GO-HI app, developed in partnership with leading MaaS technology platform Mobilleo, allows users to plan, book and pay for an end-to-end, multimodal journey in a single transaction using their smartphone or desktop devices. The platform offers instant access to book buses, trains, taxis, demand responsive transport (DRT), car clubs, air travel and car hire, with bicycle hire and ferries being added to the app as the project expands.
To aid with achieving project objectives around a modal shift to sustainable travel options, active travel modes such as walking and cycling are also included as part of the solution and prioritised within the app when users are planning their journeys. To support tourism in the Highlands the app can also be used to find and book hotels.
The bespoke GO-HI app integrates several new transport partners, as well as those existing on the Mobilleo platform today. Project partners include Enterprise Car Club and Car Hire, Bewegen, Brompton Bike Hire, Stagecoach Bus, Shotl, West Coast Motors, Inverness Taxis, ScotRail, Loganair, Orkney Ferries, Northlink Ferries, Leeds Institute for Transport Studies and SkedGo.
Highland Councillor and Chairman at HITRANS, Allan Henderson, said: “This pioneering, region-wide project has the potential to make a significant contribution to improve accessibility for residents and visitors, providing a one stop shop for all their travel needs.
“It also addresses Government ambitions to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging a modal shift from sole occupancy cars to shared cars and public transport alternatives. It will also help to create healthier lifestyles by improving the sustainable travel choices people can make in the region including active travel opportunities.”
The pilot project is being funded by the EU North Sea Region Stronger Combined project, and the Scottish Government’s MaaS Investment Fund. The MaaS Investment Fund has been established by Transport Scotland to improve accessibility to public transport services for residents and tourists in the country’s most rural and sparsely populated regions.
Transport Minister for Scotland, Graeme Dey commented: “The Scottish Government sees great potential in the future of Mobility as a Service and a real opportunity for Scotland to be at the forefront of developments. That’s why in 2018, our Programme for Government committed to establish the MaaS Investment Fund.
“Much has changed since 2018, but as we think about the urgent need for a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential of MaaS solutions in Scottish transport is perhaps more important than ever before. MaaS applications can directly support our vision for a more sustainable transport system as outlined in our National Transport Strategy, in addition to the bold commitments we’ve made through our updated Climate Change Plan.
“By creating new partnerships between the public and private sectors to focus on collaborative solutions to complex transport problems, I’m excited to see how GO-HI transforms the travel experience for residents and visitors to the Highlands and Islands.”
Mobilleo is providing dedicated customer support alongside the GO-HI app and a data platform that offers instant access to detailed management reporting information. In addition to promoting the app to residents and tourists, the GO-HI project team will be actively engaging with companies throughout the HITRANS region to encourage and mandate the use of GO-HI for business travel purposes.
Ross Basnett, Strategic Account Director at Mobilleo, added: “We’ve been working closely with HITRANS to develop a solution that addresses the mobility challenges faced by residents, tourists and business travellers in some of Scotland’s most rural areas.
“The GO-HI app seamlessly integrates various transport services in and around the area, allowing easier access to travel information, more reliable journey planning, in-app ticketing and a hassle-free payment system. These improvements should give people the confidence to use public transport and reduce the feeling of isolation among those without access to a car.”
The participating transport providers will be able to access data about the demand for their services, helping them to better understand the needs of people in the region and to make more informed decisions about the provision of services. The post-project analysis will ultimately lead to a better public transport service for residents and visitors to the HITRANS region.