Project journal
Edit 29 June 2021
by JOSEP MARIA Salanova Grau, UIA Expert

The VoxPop Project Journal No 1

Active mobility and public transport in Lisbon
This is the first edition of the VoxPop journal and aims at introducing the project, the expectations of the partners and the most relevant challenges. It also includes the major achievement and the next steps for the next period.

Project led by the City of Lisbon

VoxPop was created to facilitate the digital transformation of the mobility system of Lisbon, aiming at mobilising the various stakeholders of the local innovation ecosystem to collectively provide a response to a set of non-technological challenges of digital innovation in urban mobility.

The ambition is to accelerate the digital transition of the Lisbon’s mobility system by developing a data-sharing model where multi-party data are translated into actionable intelligence to enable the creation of enhanced user-centred mobility solutions, and unlock more efficient methods of planning, operating and maintaining transport assets.

The project motivation was the need identified by local actors to improve collaboration by sharing data and thus unlocking efficiency in the asset management of the mobility sector of the Portuguese capital. The focus is on the non-technological challenges, including governance, business models, user focus and unwanted consequences of digital innovation.

Through a process of change based on the three main vectors of digital transformation: People, Processes and Technology, the project was designed to ensure the active participation of citizens, the people who will benefit from the solutions developed.

The project is led by the Lisbon City Council with the support of various public and private actors of the mobility eco-system of the city, among them civil society, from which active citizen participation is expected. It is aligned with the vision and priorities of the Municipality and it is composed of the following innovations that will become a key structure for managing mobility in Lisbon:

  • An Innovators Alliance, a forum to foster dialogue between the mobility actors of the city, aimed at creating sustainable and responsible public and private data-sharing ecosystem with a focus on how to overcome the existing non-technological barriers to urban mobility data-sharing, and ensure both public and private entities generate value from these data.
  • Urban Access Point that will facilitate visibility of and access to private and public shared mobility datasets.
  • An Open Call aimed at mobilizing the European innovation community, allocating 1 million euros to the development of digital solutions for improving accessibility and security of the most vulnerable city users.
  • Digital mobility identity that will allow citizens to declare their needs and preferences with regards to the mobility system while having better control of their data.
  • Regulation tool for density control of shared vehicles in the public space.
  • Navigation support tool for vulnerable city users, in particular, people with reduced mobility.
  • Client-observer app that will facilitate the provision of feedback from users about the Public Transport system of the city.
  • Urban mobility observatory of Lisbon, to facilitate the access of external entities to information concerning urban mobility measures and support the impact evaluation of the project.

The partners of the project include the Lisbon City Council (project leader), EMEL, CARRIS, the Metropolitano de Lisboa and Transportes Metropolitanos de Lisboa. This consortium also has the participation of three companies for key project activities: ARMIS, Beta-i and Deloitte Portugal.

The Lisbon City Council (CML) leads The VoxPop Project. In addition to ensuring that the project is aligned with the vision and current priorities for the city, CML leads the activities of the Data Sharing Business Model and by the Observatory of Urban Mobility in Lisbon, which will become a key structure for measuring the impacts of the project.

The EMEL (Lisbon Municipal Mobility and Parking Company's) mission is the development, management, and operation of urban mobility solutions, integrated in Lisbon's global mobility and accessibility system. As the operational arm of CML for urban mobility, EMEL has a very active role in the implementation of the project. It will be responsible for the operational management of the project, sharing the responsibility for communication activities with CML.  EMEL also leads several activities in the Data Sharing and Urban Data Integration Business Model.

CARRIS is a key player of the urban mobility ecosystem in Lisbon, being the main surface Public Transport Operator in the city. As an operator, CARRIS has access to a set of relevant data and a vast experience in being part of different organisations that share databases and information. It will be responsible for leading the Urban Data Integration.

Metropolitano de Lisboa (ML) is a public company responsible for the metro system in the Lisbon area and is one of the main players in the city's urban mobility ecosystem.  Its participation in the project involves contributing to the reflections on the data sharing model and business models. ML also participates in the development activities of new and improved mobility services complementary to its current offer.

Transportes Metropolitanos de Lisboa (TML) is the entity responsible for the management of the technological platform that integrates the ticketing system and public information and for the development of studies, plans and implementation of accessibility, mobility and transport policies of the 18 municipalities that integrate the metropolitan area of Lisbon. It will also be the entity responsible for the management of AML's public road transport service. It will be a key-player in the discussion around the data-sharing model including roles and business models.

ARMIS is a technology-based company focused on providing IT services in a wide range of areas, including transport and ITS. It leads the Urban Access Point for data sharing between organisations, ensuring its development in open source to promote the adoption of this solution by other EU cities ARMIS is also responsible for ensuring the harmonization of EMEL and CARRIS data with the European standards DATEX and NeTex.

Beta-i is a collaborative innovation consultancy with a global reach. It will lead the work of the Open Call, contributing with its experience in open innovation programmes. In particular, Beta-i will mobilize a group of NGOs to identify the main challenges to be solved and will accompany the development of the solutions selected, and for seeking ways to promote their transferability to wider markets.

Deloitte is a leading global provider of audit & assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services. Deloitte Portugal coordinates the Smart City Solutions Center, a centre that brings together diverse expertise in the areas of Smart Cities and Future of Mobility globally. Deloitte Portugal is responsible for the development of a regulation and control tool, which will support the municipality of Lisbon and the micro mobility operators in the use of public space.

This is the first edition of the VoxPop journal and aims at introducing the project, the expectations of the partners and the most relevant challenges. It also includes the major achievement and the next steps for the next period.

The project kicked off in September 2019, and until June 2021 has set the basis for starting its implementation: defining the governance of the project, developing a project identity and achieving internal agreement about the project plan, interdependencies and roles of every partner. From a more technical point of view, during this period, the project partners have set up the Innovators Alliance, identified the user requirements and defined the indicators for the Urban Mobility Observatory as well as put the basis for the creation of the Urban Access Point. In addition, the project has developed its first value proposition: a secure bike parking solution as an enabler of cycling in the City of Lisbon[1] and already launched the Urban Mobility Innovators Open Call.

The VoxPop project partnership has advanced on all planned activities, successfully also dealing with the uninterrupted project execution within the pandemic crisis situation both at the technical, as well as the management level of the project. More concretely, during the first 22 months the partners have managed to achieve the following:

Innovators Alliance - IA

The IA has been established and kicked-off with the participation of many relevant stakeholders including innovative mobility service providers, last-mile logistics companies and road infrastructure managers. The IA roadmap and the Terms of Reference (ToR) have been agreed with the participants.

User requirements - User-centred feedback tool

A desk research has been executed followed by 3 focus groups and 6 in depth interviews with experts as well as 2 workshops, delivering a pre-analysis of the user requirements that will be validated in a dedicated workshop. Preliminary results indicate that time is the most important aspect, but also safety, comfort and information are key issues.

Lisbon Urban Mobility Observatory – LUMO

The indicators for the LUMO have been defined and discussed with relevant experts. The ones having the highest priority have been identified and their availability clarified, giving priority to the ones not yet available.

Urban access point - UAP

The market research has been executed and the UAP designed as a “System of Systems”, a non-discriminatory facilitator moderating and creating trustworthiness between the different marketplace participants. The UPA will unlock the value of data facilitating the integration of demand and supply data within a collaborative multi-stakeholder data-sharing model.

Promotional and dissemination activities

  • The project website is ready at https://www.voxpoplisboa.pt/.
  • A story telling video of the project was produced.
  • The project partners have successfully submitted scientific papers to the ITS World congress 2021 and Velo City 2021.  
  • The project´s Open Call is planned to be activated during the Web Summit 2021, for which the initiatives are already being planned with the partners.

Successfully handling key challenges

Vox Pop is managing well the foreseen challenges. Details are provided in the respective section of this journal.

 

What to expect next

In the next period the IA will explore the barriers for sharing data, whilst identifying use cases to help tackle the barriers. Additionally, partners will also work the regulation model for micromobility operators will be drafted, co-creation workshops will be held to collect requirements, a monitoring and evaluation framework focusing on both urban mobility and digital aspects will be delivered and the requirements for the UAP agreed.

 

[1] https://www.uia-initiative.eu/en/news/voxpop-has-developed-its-first-value-proposition-secure-bike-parking-solution-enabler-cycling

2.1 Expectations from the consortium members

Significant improvement of accessibility for people with reduced mobility aiming at a higher quality of life.

Needs of people with disabilities should be defined and analyzed towards higher accessibility (e.g. indicating which are the accessible vehicles) and security (reporting tools to alert about potential dangerous points). CARRIS operates an on-call DRT-type service for people with wheelchairs and has a strong interest on improving the service for people with disabilities. With regards to innovative mobility services, CARRIS is currently establishing a DRT service, as part of a pilot project with CEF funding, which may be extended to lines with suitable characteristics (e.g. night services). For this purpose, data from the other mobility service providers should be utilized.

Other main improvements in the mobility landscape for the city of Lisbon

First, improve the mobility of those that live, work, study and visit the city of Lisbon, including school mobility and having special focus on the inclusive mobility of vulnerable people (dedicated routing and improvement of conditions). Second, reduce the use of private cars in the city, increase of the share of bikes and expansion of the bicycle network, reduction of the number of road accidents towards zero deaths and regenerating public spaces, not only in Lisbon but also in the other municipalities.

Creation of an eco-system able to share dormant, scattered, and silo-ed operational data.

Integrated information from both public and private transport service providers should be available and the establishment of links with the other members of the eco-system facilitated. Local operators already collect data related to safety or to the performance of the systems aiming to work with the city to improve the conditions when the data depicts conflictive areas or operation problems. Moreover, collaborations with local police and the local parking company to solve operation problems due to incidents are already established. However, these still rely in human operators and are therefore not as efficient as if they would be if they were relying on automatic communication channels between the involved actors, facilitating the information flow.

To put a seed that will grow to a better data collection infrastructure in Lisbon and to a better dialogue and collaboration between all the actors of the mobility eco-system.

“Transform corporate data into strategic assets to improve the quality of life of our fellow citizens, providing them a services that meet their expectations and needs”. These strategic assets should also improve the efficiency of business processes, encourage problem solving and support management in the planning- and the decision-making process. At the end VoxPop should create a culture of "co-evolution" because data and its uses, will continue to evolve. This means that the skills needed to collect, categorize, assess, and act on data will need to evolve, too.

Standardize data generated by the actors of the mobility ecosystem of Lisbon following European standards.

Data standardization and communication protocols such as DATEXII should be promoted, in line with other international, national and local relevant projects such as C-Roads, C-Streets, IDACS, DATA4PT, UVARBox, EU-EIP and of course the implementation of the Portuguese NAP (National Access Point).. Especially relevant to VoxPop is the NetEx standard, which is conceived for multimodal public transport data.

2.2 Specific challenges

2.2.1 Framing the challenges of Vox-pop

The VoxPop concept itself is complex, especially reaching a common consensus/vision shared by all involved actors. The use of information should be of interest for everyone. Data collection infrastructure is not available at the desired level for most of the stakeholders of the mobility ecosystem. The resources are limited, but there is significant know-how and expertise within the organizations that could be better exploited. A roadmap to the data goals of every organization/stakeholder should be built by mapping the data analytics needs of each organization and understanding the current availability and required adoption of technology and tools to support each type of user. Moreover, in order to apply rigorously the scientific method, the right hypothesis should be drafted. Scientifically sound methodologies should always be applied in order to have a structured and consistent project.

In addition, it is not only about information/data but about understanding and interpreting this information. For this to happen, data sharing is needed, avoiding fragmentation or silos. The contribution of the data and the associated methodologies should be discussed in the context of existing methodological gaps. At the same time, they should be considered in terms of innovation and progresses in analytical methods for all actors of the mobility ecosystem. This should result in a data-rich environment that makes data actionable, bringing perceived value to all citizens of Lisbon Metropolitan Area, which should be the main goal of this project.

With regards to the users, transport is seen as a commodity, but it should become an experience brand. Integrated door2door mobility services should be offered. Moreover, services and products that can meet people’s needs and expectations should be offered in a more holistic way. Not just one action will transform the perception of the people, but the set of all. Finally, data-value perception should be improved. There are three ways to create perceived value through data, and the last one should be the one to aim to: from only internal data; from only creating additional insights and reselling external data; by combining internal and external data sources.

2.2.2 Specific challenges identified by the partners

The current datasets are in varying and different formats.

The multiple available formats make interoperability highly complex. Even in the cases where open data is available, it is not in the right format to support multi-stakeholder communication. For this reason, the Stakeholders Alliance is of high importance towards achieving consensus with regards to data format and interoperability.

Lack of data availability concerning the transport system, not only coming from private operators but also the public ones.

The Lisbon Public Transport system has a large fragmentation of operators (some owned by Local Authorities, others by the State, others are private) which leads to difficulties in sharing data. However, in specific cases data sharing does happen. The public transport operators only have access to a partial information of the ticketing system, i.e. the ticket validations in the public transport systems operated by them. The ticketing system is managed by TML (former OTLIS) and the access to the same data of the other operators is more difficult so it cannot be used to optimize the daily operation of the vehicles as part of the trip chain of multimodal public transport users. In addition, no socio-economic data is available due to the sensitive aspect of this data, which is related to the privacy of passengers. In addition, not all mobility data needed for the observatory is available (e.g. private vehicles data is missing; public transport data is outdated).

With regards to the users, these are not captive anymore as in the past, where limited offer for mobility services was available (basically public transport or private cars/motorcycles). Multi-modality has significantly increased, and people are used to use multiple transport modes, even within the same trip chain.

Finally, during unexpected situations, such as the pandemic period of 2020-2021, new user needs collection methodologies have to be developed to allow its collection during such non-normal conditions.

The Open Call

The open call presents two challenges: first, it will be difficult to find evaluators with the right expertise to cover all the subjects of the open call; second, the “client” of the open call is the society itself, which makes more complex to define the financial sustainability of the selected solutions since open source is one of the requisites, which does not allow the winner company to keep the IPR.

The Innovators Alliance

The Innovators Alliance presents two challenges: first, to convince and engage the big-players to the Innovators Alliance, second ,to manage the individual motivations towards a common goal.

Lack of human resources to run the project from the side of the Municipality

Resources allocation has been complicated, mainly due to the response to the pandemic constraints, which implied the redefinition of priorities with consequences in the allocation of human resources to the project.

Additional / complementary challenges

  • Lack of social awareness of people with reduced mobility.
  • Complying with GDPR by providing anonymized data.
  • The efforts should continue after the end of the project.
  • Fragmented responsibilities in the public companies managing mobility.
  • Engage and keep the commitment of the private sector

This is how the key implementation challenges tracker is illustrated for the period since the start of the project to the time of writing of this journal.

Key implementation challenges tracker for the VoxPop project (status as of June 2021)

Challenge

Status

Notes

Leadership for implementation: aversion to risk by administrations

Low

Political commitment has been ensured at high level. Indeed the project already created expectations to be fulfilled, therefore priority to its implementation will be given by the public side. At the same time, it is a strategic project for the participating entities (including the private ones), so it is placed high on their agendas. This challenge is expected to remain low during the whole duration of the project.

Public procurement: prepare the right tender and attract the right providers to achieve expected results and ensure local benefits

Medium

No large procurement is foreseen in the project, only external expertise and services. Still, the project has planned cascade funding for an open call, which may be challenging to implement from the administrative side. In addition, other problems related to the IT equipment might appear, such as difficulties arising from regulations or from low interoperability between the open framework and the legacy IT systems. All these issues will be taken into account when designing the tenders so they do not hinder the project implementation.

Integrated cross-departmental work: “silo” organisational culture

High > Low

The project fits the strategy of the city and has the support of the different departments potentially involved from the Lisbon Municipality side and the other participating entities. On the other hand, mobilisation of internal resources has been taking longer than initially envisaged which led to significant delays in the start of the activities. Indeed the establishment of the governance of the project was identified as high risk and it appeared, creating a delay in the start of the project. Today this issue has been mostly solved.

Participative approach: how to co-create and keep participants motivated?

Medium

The project has been conceived to be participatory by design. Co-creation and co-implementation are foreseen. Still, attraction of the citizens’ attention and ensuring their long-term engagement can be challenging. In order to ensure the participation of citizens, NGOs and citizens’ associations will be also involved in the identification and design of the challenges.

Monitoring & Evaluation: how to achieve a deep understanding of the impact achieved?

Medium

Monitoring and assessing the results of the project will be challenging, especially the indirect ones. The number of data sets shared or services enriched by the project can be easily measured, but the final impact in the mobility experience of the Lisbon citizens will be more difficult to quantify. It will be critical to be able to demonstrate the added value of the data sharing ecosystem, and the magnitude of its results in the local context. Causality of the impacts and activities will be quite challenging to determine. Moreover, the establishment of the baseline will be even harder to determine due to COVID effects. An activity dealing with the Monitoring & Evaluation of the project results has been foreseen to plan in advance how these issues will be tackled.

Communication: how to establish a two-way inclusive and honest communication process

Medium

Citizens will be involved in the design and implementation phases, so the selection of the right communication channel to reach them will be crucial. In this direction, Beta-i will be the responsible for the communication to the startups / innovators, and they have an extensive experience in communicating and engaging with these types of stakeholders. Communication to citizens’s associations and NGOs might be the more challenging, and it will be driven by the Municipality. A communication plan has been drafted to ensure proper interaction between the project partners and the citizens.

Upscaling: how to scale solutions in space and time

Medium

It will be challenging to keep the momentum generated by the project in such a multi-party effort, especially after the end of the project. In addition, there will be the need to generate a mechanism to maintain, update and enlarge the project outputs, for which sustainability should be ensured. This is not trivial since due to transparency and openness of public tenders, solutions with similar specifications but with a better value for money will be selected, not ensuring interoperability or continuity. All the way around, having pilots should not be a binding process to a concrete provider for the later scale up. These two issues should be well balanced. In this direction the project is building an engaging “general” value proposition for the innovators, but the scaling up will need to be addressed in a case by case scenario depending on the specificities of each developed solution.

Others

NA

Engage and keep the commitment of the private sector; avoid unintended consequences; create trust; ensure privacy and security; unlock data silos; ensure data quality; define use cases and ensure financial sustainability of the data sharing ecosystem. All these issues are of high importance to VoxPop and are being tackled in the relevant work packages.

One of the most important outputs of the project has been finalized. The user needs and baseline assessment to the Navigation support tool for vulnerable city users, in particular, people with reduced mobility have been identified

The main objective of this activity was to contribute to and inform about the development of a navigation support tool for vulnerable city users, in particular for people with reduced mobility. The work carried out was exploratory in nature and the main steps carried out are:

1st step - bibliographic review on mobility impairment and an analysis of the Lisbon City Council's Pedestrian Accessibility Plan were carried out.

2nd Step - in collaboration with the project partners, the most relevant user segments were selected for interview. After selecting the target audience to be interviewed, 21 people were recruited and qualitative interviews were carried out, which provided an insight into the issues that have more relevance and impact on their travel in the city of Lisbon.

3rd step - With the support of the people interviewed and the operators, a survey of the user journey was carried out, as well as of information or service gaps and opportunities for improvement in the services provided to people with reduced mobility.

4th step - benchmarking analysis was made of digital tools mentioned by the interviewed people interviewed.

After 22 months of project the partners are fully engaged in its implementation. The main activity that will take place in the next period is the identification of the main aspects that may impact the cross-domain data sharing between the members of the Alliance of Innovators through a survey and individual interviews with decision-makers among the IA members. Consequently, it will be explored the value of data through the identification of possible data sharing scenarios between Alliance members with the identification of use cases to be worked on by the IA members.

Other activities that will take place in the next period are the following:

  • Identify the data analytics, the data sets to harmonise, share and use within the project partners to inform the enhancement of existing and/or the creation of new mobility services in the city of Lisbon
  • Define the regulation model, and therefore the user requirements  to inform the development of the regulation tool for density control of shared vehicles in the public space in Lisbon.
  • Draft a monitoring and evaluation framework focusing on both urban mobility and digital transformation aspects
  • Define the requirements for the UAP
  • Preparation of the open call, which will include to carry out workshops with the cohort of NGOs to shape the specific priorities and main challenges of the Open Call; Open Call dissemination plan; Call notice and Call Text; Bid toolkit and the Submission portal

Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is an Initiative of the European Union that provides urban areas throughout Europe with resources to test new and unproven solutions to address urban challenges. Based on article 8 of ERDF, the Initiative has a total ERDF budget of EUR 372 million for 2014-2020.

UIA projects will produce a wealth of knowledge stemming from the implementation of the innovative solutions for sustainable urban development that are of interest for city practitioners and stakeholders across the EU. This journal is a paper written by a UIA Expert that captures and disseminates the lessons learnt from the project implementation and the good practices identified. The journals will be structured around the main challenges of implementation identified and faced at local level by UIA projects. They will be published on a regular basis on the UIA website.

 

 

 

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DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and are subject to change. They do not reflect the official opinion of the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative or of the Vox Pop Partnership.

Reproduction of the contents of this publication is permitted provided the source is acknowledged.

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