The Nordic Mobility Innovation Platform: A roadmap for seamless, multimodal, sustainable transportation within and among the Nordic countries

Boyer, R. (ed.), Arby H., Djupsjöbacka F., Farstad E., Haavisto N., Holmberg P-E., Niskanen P., Sarasini S.
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Seamless mobility, using modes of transportation other than the personal motor vehicle, across the Nordics and the rest of Europe, will require deliberate planning among multiple organizations and actors. We are encouraged by several parallel developments in ICT and business model innovation that, together, increase the likelihood of seamless trans-European mobility, or "mobility roaming".

Firstly, Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) unlocks the ability for an individual to plan and pay for travel on almost mode of transportation using a single mobile application. MaaS exists in multiple cities across Europe, and a current groundswell of new business initiatives signal that MaaS is more than a passing craze. In its current state MaaS operations remain anchored to a single metropolitan region and their respective transportation networks, but as MaaS diffuses and matures in Nordic countries, we believe it is very likely that travelers will demand the ability to ‘roam’ between different metropolitan regions without having to download and subscribe to distinct mobility applications.

The history of mobile telecom roaming in the Nordics offers an encouraging example of multinational cooperation from which MaaS roaming can draw inspiration. In a few short decades mobile phones transitioned from a cumbersome technology tethered to a relatively local service area, to its current nimble and virtually ubiquitous state.

Given that the ICT necessary for MaaS roaming is effectively already in existence, we believe the transition from localized MaaS to Nordic MaaS will proceed even faster. Roaming can begin with simple multilateral agreements among different MaaS operators and accelerate to entire international mobility markets from which MaaS operators broker a diverse and competitive pool of transport providers across different countries.

Of course, achieving this vision demands organizational innovation and cooperation among actors with different objectives, and the history of Mobilitetstorget in Sweden illustrates the importance of building a platform that offers transparent benefits to complementors. This report has referenced multiple theoretical models that detail different multi-actor platforms in business and government. They include Information Systems of Plans (ISoP) and open innovation platforms, which both involve independent actors benefiting from sharing information about intentions across a decision landscape. Both also require agreement around a general vision, clarity about how different participants will benefit from contributing to the platform, a flexible and accessible technical architecture, and open-mindedness about the evolution of the platform as it adapts to new opportunities and challenges.

We envision a Nordic Mobility Innovation Platform (NMIP) built around three priorities: 1) seamless travel across for all users across different transportation modes and geographies, 2) a pan-Nordic mobility market that units individual transport providers and MaaS operators around transparent standards and business practices, 3) open data and information sharing to promote research and innovation across the Nordic region.

The NMIP will evolve in three phases: Phase 1 will involve a ‘proof of concept’ study with low- risk experiments that help participants (mobility operators and researchers) understand the practical barriers to implementing roaming between a small number of service providers in different countries. This study will be followed by a larger pilot study in which MaaS customers are offered international roaming options. The pilot study will collect data on a variety of issues related to travel behavior and service integration. The results will help determine standards for Nordic roaming. Phase 2 will launch MaaS roaming across Nordic countries, and Phase 3 envisions an open European market for MaaS roaming.

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This report is sponsored by Nordic Innovation's Nordic Smart Mobility and Connectivity Program, and co-authored with representatives from RISE, Transportøkonomisk institutt (Norway), as well as mobility providers Kyyti, and Ubigo.