Research Incubator - Mobility as a Service

Dive into the world of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and the fascinating challenges it presents.

June 23 2023

AAPS Cohort 4 students were asked to take an active part in the organization of the June Research Incubator (RI), which took place from the 5th to the 9th of June at the BRLSI.

The topic for June’s RI was “Mobility as a Service” (MaaS), a concept that can revolutionize the way people access and use transportation services: MaaS aims to integrate various modes of transportation into a single, seamless platform, making it easier for individuals to plan, book, and pay for their journey. AAPS Cohort 4 students spent around three months exploring potential challenges, barriers, and opportunities of MaaS socio-technical components. After group work and literature review research, Cohort 4 identified five challenges to present on the first day of the RI to inform the attendants about MaaS’s state of the art. The challenges that have been presented were:

  1. Stakeholder and user adoption;
  2. MaaS system integration;
  3. MaaS policy, regulation and market;
  4. MaaS connectivity and data privacy;
  5. MaaS infrastructure and technology challenges. 

The attendees of the RI were from different backgrounds of disciplines: AAPS CDT students, University of Bath academics, and external experts interested in this topic took part in the RI to explore these challenges and generate potential research questions to work on potential research proposals.

On the first day of RI, the co-director of AAPS CDT – Richard Burke gave us an overview of the RI and the AAPS community, then our internal expert Rita Filipe and her supervisor Andrew Heath introduced MaaS and their research on Maas in Bath and Bristol area. After the general introduction, the 5 pre-defined challenges has been presented by cohort 4 students, which was followed by a brainstorming session to explore those 5 pre-defined challenges and note possible questions and specific areas of research. On the second day, all the result generated by the brainstorming sessions were clustered into five main areas:

  1. MaaS user uptakes and incentives
  2. User interface and digital experience
  3. Connected MaaS vehicles
  4. The role of business for MaaS
  5. Propulsion system for MaaS.

People expressed a preference for the area of interest to work on during the RI and were assigned to a specific cluster to work on a potential research question and proposed methodology to tackle it.

The rest of the week the five groups worked to define a research question and possible solution to generate a research proposal, that will have guided Cohort 4 students in their RI assignment if writing a grant proposal.
During the RI we had the chance to meet colleagues and discuss themes of interest during networking sessions. Moreover, on Tuesday evening, attendants met together for dinner at Hall and Woodhouse, which gave them the opportunity to converse with different people and socialize.

On Wednesday and Thursday, most of the activities were cluster-group discussions for the research question presentation on Friday, with daily updates for all the attendants to gain feedback on the work. One thing special happened on this RI: group 3) Connected MaaS vehicles and 5) Propulsion system for MaaS merged into a big group on the third day of RI, and they worked on three sub-small projects that presented on Friday into a single research proposal project. On the last day of RI, all five research questions generated during this RI have been presented by Cohort 4 students, which rises intense discussion and a lot of comments and brings serval worthy research insights followed by a closing statement by Richard Burke. 

As part of Cohort 4, this RI was useful to learn about MaaS’s characteristics and stakeholders as well as to develop group working skills for collaborating with industrial experts for the ideation of research proposals.

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