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Proving Mobility as a Service (MaaS) via 5G in rural communities.

The Forest of Dean’s Challenge

Geographic Limitations

The Forest of Dean is located in the west of the county of Gloucestershire. On the western border is the River Wye with major crossing points at Monmouth and Chepstow into Monmouthshire. The eastern border is with the River Severn and extends from Beachley Point in the South to the outskirts of Gloucester in the north. The district extends north and is bordered by Herefordshire and Worcestershire just north of the M50. Major access into the District is via the M50 in the north, Monmouth in the NW, Chepstow in the South and Gloucester to the East. There are no crossings of the Severn between the M48 and Gloucester.

Cross Border Connectivity

Historically commuting and travelling in and out of the district is challenging. With notable pinchpoints at Chepstow, Monmouth and Gloucester. Recent removal of the Severn Bridge Tolls has increased visitors to the area and a noticeable increase in commuting. Traffic jams are a regular occurrence during weekdays, as well as weekends. Weekend jams are likely as a result of additional journeys from the Bristol and further area.

The Forest of Dean is not an island and any development needs to reflect the needs of the population and their wider aspirations and needs. This provides the opportunity for joined up thinking along Travel to Work Areas and conventional commuting corridors. It needs to be connected to:

  • Major Towns and Cities – Gloucester; Cheltenham; Stroud; Newport; Cardiff; Bristol
  • Market and Smaller Towns – Monmouth; Chepstow, Caldicot; Cinderford; Coleford; Lydney; Thornbury; Dursley

Sustainable Development

The challenges for the District on sustainability are:

  • Environmental sustainability, protecting our unique environment and heritage.
  • Economic sustainability through high quality work, incomes and success.
  • Social sustainability driven by the need for access for all.

The MaaS Concept

According to the MaaS Alliance;

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is the integration of various forms of transport services into a single mobility service accessible on demand. To meet a customer’s request, a MaaS operator facilitates a diverse menu of transport options, be they public transport, ride-, car- or bike-sharing, taxi or car rental/lease, or a combination thereof. For the user, MaaS can offer added value through use of a single application to provide access to mobility, with a single payment channel instead of multiple ticketing and payment operations. For its users, MaaS should be the best value proposition, by helping them meet their mobility needs and solve the inconvenient parts of individual journeys as well as the entire system of mobility services.

A successful MaaS service also brings new business models and ways to organise and operate the various transport options, with advantages for transport operators including access to improved user and demand information and new opportunities to serve unmet demand. The aim of MaaS is to provide an alternative to the use of the private car that may be as convenient, more sustainable, help to reduce congestion and constraints in transport capacity, and can be even cheaper.

MaaS has three challenges:

  • Computing and Data Requirements
  • Governance
  • Operating Model

5G provides a potential opportunity for MaaS. Current technology (3G, 4G) allows for certain movement of data. But as MaaS develops from simplistic models to more sophisticated models which adapt on demand and have an ever-increasing need for data capacity and reduced latency so 5G.

FEP is keen to discuss with potential partners about this potential project.