Motion Hub, the implementation of an integrated end-to-end journey planner
The term “eMobility” and been brought into use partly to encourage use of electric vehicles but more especially to focus on the transformation from electric vehicles as products to electrified personal transport as a service. Under the wider umbrella of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) this has accompanied the growth of car clubs in general. The Motion Hub project has taken this concept a step further to include not just the car journey but the end-to-end journey. The booking of multifaceted journeys is well established in the leisure and business travel industries, where flights, car hire and hotels are regularly booked with a single transaction on a website. To complete an end-to-end scenario Motion Hub provides integration of public transport with electric vehicle and electric bike use. Building on a previous InnovateUK funded project that reviewed the feasibility of an integrated journey management system, the Motion Hub project has brought together a Car Club, a University, and EV infrastructure company, a bicycle hire company with electric bicycle capabilities and a municipality to implement a scheme and test it on the ground. At the heart of the project has been the development of a website that integrates the public transport booking with the hire of electric vehicles or bicycles. Taking the implementation to a fully working system accessible to members of the public presents a number of significant challenges. This paper identifies those challenges, details the progress and success of the Motion Hub and sets out the lessons learnt about end-to-end travel. The project was fortunate to have as its municipal partner the Council of a sizeable South East England town, Southend-on-Sea. With a population of 174,800 residents with good road, rail and air links there is considerable traffic in and out of the town. The Council has already shown its commitment to sustainable transport. In the previous six years it had installed a number of electric vehicle charging points for use by the public and latterly had trialled car club activity. An early challenge in the project was the location of physical infrastructure in an already crowded municipal space in order to provide the local ‘spokes’ of the system. In addition to its existing charging points, Southend now has four locations where electric cars can be hired, five where electric bikes are available and the local resources to maintain these assets. Combining a number of web-based services and amalgamating their financial transactions is relatively straightforward. However, introducing the potential for public transport ticketing as well raises additional security, scale and financial constraints. The project has engaged with major players and regulators across the public transport industry.