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Taiwan looks toward integrated services, new modes and behavioral economics to reduce congestion 

Learn how the MOTC plans to reduce inter-city and intra-city single occupancy vehicle usage through Metropia's MaaS&T platform

UMAJI+

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Integration and innovation to shape the future of Taiwan's mobility

Following a competitive process which concluded In November 2019, the ROC Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications selected the Metropia-led team to deploy its UMAJI+ Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform for the entire island over the next two years.

Along the spine of the narrow island nation of Taiwan is a rugged mountain chain which has concentrated most the country’s 24 million inhabitants to the coasts. Five cities--Taipei, New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, and Kaohsiung--offer railed-based Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) systems to the public, but although nearly 40% of all daily commutes in Taipei and New Taipei City take place on either the MRT or city buses, several key issues continue to contribute to inter-city and intra-city congestion.

Supporting Technologies 

Published Reports & Papers 

Transit services vary greatly from one city to the next, and within Taipei, Taichung, and Kaosiung, the popularity of cheap and convenient taxi service have led to an overcrowding of cabs on the road. In fact, more than 30k taxis serve Taipei’s population of 4 million people, making it one of the densest taxi fleets in the world. Similarly, the convenience and the low costs of owning and operating scooters have made them a major transportation mode for urban and rural commuters. As Taiwan’s 15 million-plus scooters maneuver through the proliferation of taxis and single-occupancy vehicles (SOV’s), they are involved in half of the nation’s fatalities and injuries on city roadways.

For inter-city travel, High-Speed Rail, Taiwan Rail, and inter-city buses serve as major transit options, however disconnected modes and the lack of complete door-to-door service at either end of the trip deter many passengers from utilizing them.  As airlines ceased operating within Taipei roughly 10 years after high-speed rail’s debut, that leaves many still driving alone from one city to the next.

Through UMAJI+, the Taiwan MOTC will develop and deliver a MaaS system able to cope with certaincongested intra-city and inter-city corridors, where SOV’s are prominent due to limited mobility options and service gaps from one mode to the next. Accomplishing this important goal is two-fold: first, UMAJi+ will serve to create new mobility options as well as enhance the capabilities of existing services; once those optimizations are in place, all mode options will be integrated into a seamless door-to-door intermodal experience capable of persuading drivers to set down their keys.

UMAJI+ Visions and Goals

In this project, Metropia plans to deploy the MaaS&T platform it has developed through its years of experience and know-how in behavior research and active demand management. This MaaS&T platform, where ‘T’ represents the Tool through which agencies manage their network, emphasizes solving both personal travel pain points and system efficiency challenges in tandem. At the personal level, the service design focuses on assisting users in planning and managing their door-to-door Complete Trip, including planning and managing for various intermodal options. From the system perspective, the team discusses system goals and milestones with the funding agency and uses built-in artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to devise various behavior-changing strategies which ensure that the system's congestion levels are improving.

UMAJI+ Anticipated Project Accomplishments

Six key objectives have been set for the UMAJI+ project:

  • Integrate various existing and emerging mobile payment methods - in addition to typical credit cards, local popular mobile payment methods such as LINE payment, EasyCard and iPass will also be integrated. 

  • Fill the intermodal gap to provide a seamless door-to-door experience - through the implementation of Metropia’s transit-hailing technology and coordination with local taxi and livery service fleets, more door-to-door mobility options will be made available. 

  • Implement effective behavior change strategies - Metropia’s Mobility Options Discovery and Engagement® (MODE) techniques will be implemented in this project first to create and allow users to discover more mobility options, then use persuasive information and incentives to engage commuters and travelers to try out and adopt new options.

  • Promote various sharing and pooling transportation options - after using numerous big data analytics methods to identify target audiences, their pain points, and the relevant mobility solutions to address them, the team will strive to lower the behavior barriers related to carpooling.

  • Increase and maintain service monthly active users - make sure the services provided by UMAJI+ can truly solve the user’s pain points and consequently increase the active users for the service.

  • Reduce intra- and inter-city corridor congestion for both daily commutes and holiday travel - with more commuters adopting non-SOV modes, system congestion level will be reduced over time.

Integrated Services for Complete Trips

UMAJI, which loosely translates to “Your Best Companion,” is utilizing a white-labeled version of Metropia’s GoEzy app to serve as a Complete Trip companion for all urban commuters and inter-city travelers regardless of which transportation mode they may choose.

The concept of Complete Trips is to discover multiple intermodal mobility options for users regardless of whether their origin and destination are intra-city or inter-city. To do so, the following core capabilities need to be provisioned:

  • Intermodal trip planning: In a complete trip, multiple transportation modes can be used. In the past, multiple transportation modes have been approved by MOTC and various municipal transportation agencies. These modes include fixed-route buses, demand-responsive transit, shared bikes, cars, and scooters, livery services like taxis, rental cars, etc.

  • Journey assistant – provides various reminders and organizes journey details and tickets for reserved and confirmed trips.

  • Real-time traveler information and mobility option recommendations – searches for and provides real-time mobility option recommendations for departure time, alternative route, and transportation modes based on current location and roadway conditions.

  • First/Last-mile solutions – complements the existing major modes and fills the mobility gap with Metorpia’s Transit-Hailing capabilities to enable livery fleets to offer taxipooling or vanpooling services in compliance with current regulatory requirements.

  • Behavior learning and campaign management – uses multiple Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning methodologies to determine the types and amount of information and incentives to offer specific audiences for specific types of mobility options under different system goals and strategies.

  • Mobile payment – integrates various legacy and emerging mobile payment methods including credit cards, LINE Pay, EasyCard Pay, etc.

UMAJI+ solves both Individual and City-wide Pain Points

The primary services to be pioneered in the first year of the UMAJI+ project will include inter-city transport ticketing, taxipooling, employee-based carpooling. These three types of services will complement existing modes to enable the door-to-door Complete Trip journey planning and management.

  • Specifically, for urban commuters, Metropia will focus on providing advanced vehicle routing and dispatching capabilities to taxi and livery service Transportation Service Providers (TSPs) to enable several taxipooling services:

    • First-/last-mile taxipooling to and from the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system in major cities where MRT systems have either prominent or emerging ridership. The deployment focuses on areas outside the urban core, where connections to the MRT stations become relatively limited.

    • Taxipooling of vanpooling for major employment centers and/or tourist destination areas where severe congestion has been worsening over the years. 

  • Innovative Employee-based carpooling (E-Carpooling) service will also be launched and promoted to major enterprises. Employees in the same companies can use the Metropia developed E-Carpooling features in the UMAJI app to form social groups and to carpool among group members.

  • Inter-city high-speed rail, passenger rail, and passenger buses ticketing integration would allow travelers to inquire about the ticket availability across more 3 major inter-city modes, more than 10 TSPs.

International expertise meets local know-how and collaboration

UMAJI+ is managed and operated by Metropia Inc with the following team members and TSP partners.