Mobility-as-a-service & Urbanisation: Key Takeaways from AIBP Insights

Development of urban transport is important in ASEAN cities to avoid loss of time and resources due to traffic congestion, as well as to reduce greenhouse gas and carbon emission. Key technologies like geolocation, data analytics have been employed to increase the efficiency and convenience offered to the people in moving around. Emerging modes of transport like on-demand ride-hailing or mobility-as-a-services, as well as electric and autonomous vehicles will change the transport landscape and ecosystem in ASEAN.

We brought together the ecosystem of future mobility stakeholders to share about the future mobility options, its implications, and the importance of user-centricity.

The case for future mobility and alternative mobility services

The increasing focus on sustainability coupled with advancements in vehicle electrification is paving the way for the rise of alternative mobility services, or as Leong Wye Houn, Director, Future Mobility, Goldbell, puts it an “inflection point for mobility” which will affect the way goods and people move. In addition, a holistic EV ecosystem supported by both the public and private sectors, along with investments across the value chain bodes well for EV adoption.  

Mohd Junaizee Mohd Noor, Project Director, EV, TNB, brought up how collaboration between ecosystem participants will allow for smooth rollout of EV charging points. For Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), there are 2 key issues for power companies to consider in driving EV adoption. He  mentioned how TNB and PLUS’ (highway operator in Malaysia) MOU will cater for convenience with chargers along the highway. Depending on the state of the power supply networks, utilities will have to take necessary measures to ensure suitable power capacity for EV charging points.  

More importantly, as people commute across Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand by land transport, TNB is also working with the relevant authorities to standardise EV charging ports for smoother commutes and increased convenience for people travelling across borders.

Guillaume Gerondeau, Vice President, Dassault Systèmes, brought up how demographics, regulations and geographical requirements will affect mobility trends as well. Such considerations may be supported by the use of new technologies like virtual twins for simulations and testing out different mobility solutions within the city context.

What of existing mobility options and services?

Change is difficult. With people accustomed to current modes of transport, there needs to be incentives, or benefits to encourage the uptake of alternative mobility options.

A key consideration lies in the cost of EV ownership compared to ICE vehicles, which consumer education can help to address. Hoe Yeen Teck, Head, Mobility Services, ST Engineering, pointed out that savings will come over time, upfront costs pose a challenge for the private vehicle owner. Junaizee also mentioned that the cost of EVs have been decreasing globally, which will in turn support EV uptake. 

As Alan Quek, Director, WILLERS, highlighted, last-mile on-demand mobility solutions will fill up the gaps in existing transportation systems, as major cities have existing infrastructure in place. 

Yeen Teck also highlighted 2 key factors to consider for future mobility – the immediacy of challenges faced by potential customers, and the ability and willingness to purchase and acquire solutions. He also brought up the fact that as a highly heterogeneous region with different needs, Southeast Asia sees varying levels of interest and development in the different countries, with major cities taking keener interest in future mobility solutions.

Future mobility underlined by user-centricity

Technology will be an integral part of the future mobility ecosystem. SWAT Mobility augments existing solutions with data. Nicholas Stipp, Chief Revenue Officer, SWAT Mobility, shared how at BSD (Bumi Serpong Damai) City in Indonesia, SWAT Mobility uses existing data on people and movement to optimise transportation, which in turn cuts costs for operators and increases convenience for residents. More importantly, as more data is collected, new services may then be developed to suit the needs and demands of the people.

Looking more broadly at the transportation landscape, Alan mentioned that opportunities for mobility solutions will vary for urban cities and rural areas. In a similar vein, Yeen Teck highlighted the need for understanding differing requirements across different cities, and planning out projects with local and specific challenges and needs in mind.

As Guillaume brought up, aggregating data from different sources, across different scenarios and different locations and sources will enable the visualisation of solutions, plans, and scenarios for the city’s transportation network.

With this, we conclude the first focus group of our series for AIBP Insights: Future-proofed Public Services. Stay tuned for updates from Smart Sustainable Energy with Advanced Analytics, Equipping the Future-ready Citizen, and Enabling the Digital Makers of ASEAN’s Digital Economy.

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21 April 2022