How we design Live Navigation considering the needs of the user and market

Author: Anna Fil­by, Dig­i­tal Trainee
Anna is a Dig­i­tal Trainee at Deutsche Bahn with expe­ri­ence in new mobil­i­ty and prod­uct inno­va­tion. In her sec­ond prac­ti­cal post­ing, she worked at Mobimeo in the Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Mar­ket­ing team. Anna is con­vinced that under­stand­ing the needs of the user offers a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to redesign the way we move in cities.

The problem we solve 

In Ger­many, peo­ple spend around 80 min­utes a day on the move. They val­ue good ori­en­ta­tion and access to infor­ma­tion  – on all routes (Sources: Mobimeo Mobil­i­ty report 2017; Infas Mobil­ität in Deutsch­land 2017). Fur­ther­more, users want to be accom­pa­nied before and dur­ing their trip, deal­ing with the unex­pect­ed. In big­ger cities, nav­i­gat­ing through pub­lic trans­port can be over­whelm­ing, espe­cial­ly on unknown routes, which results in peo­ple pre­fer­ring their pri­vate car instead of using sus­tain­able mobil­i­ty options like pub­lic trans­port. Addi­tion­al­ly, com­muters val­ue peace of mind on famil­iar and unfa­mil­iar routes. On famil­iar routes, users want to relax and to make sure that they don’t miss their stop. On unfa­mil­iar routes, users want to be guid­ed safe­ly through the unknown.

At Mobimeo we took those insights into account to devel­op a fea­ture that accom­pa­nies users through­out the city when using pub­lic trans­port to offer ori­en­ta­tion and peace of mind.

Arrive relaxed with the Companion, our Live Navigation feature for public transport

The Com­pan­ion accom­pa­nies users reli­ably to their des­ti­na­tion. It not only knows the best con­nec­tion, but also nav­i­gates the user – as a car nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem would – from A to B to C to D. Thanks to proac­tive advice dur­ing the jour­ney users are always well informed and can be sure of find­ing the right way to their des­ti­na­tion. In the event of unex­pect­ed inter­rup­tions, the Com­pan­ion sug­gests the best alter­na­tives and gets users to their des­ti­na­tion quickly.

Mobimeo’s product development process

Our prod­uct devel­op­ment process fol­lows an iter­a­tive design approach, a design mod­el that allows us to get a deep under­stand­ing of user needs and to quick­ly devel­op and test fea­ture pro­to­types. In the fol­low­ing we will give some exam­ples on how we iter­ate our Live Nav­i­ga­tion fea­ture with­in dif­fer­ent steps of the prod­uct devel­op­ment process.

01 Dis­cov­er – Uncov­er basic user needs

The dis­cov­ery phase, also known as explo­ration, is where we uncov­er user needs, explore oppor­tu­ni­ty spaces and inno­va­tion. We con­duct research to co-define the tar­get user and our val­ue proposition.

Let’s have a clos­er look at the tar­get user group of our Live Nav­i­ga­tion fea­ture and the needs that they have. Our research shows that users require a mul­ti­tude of infor­ma­tion on their route. They val­ue live infor­ma­tion when trav­el­ing from A to B using pub­lic trans­port – e.g. about trans­fer pos­si­bil­i­ties and expect­ed arrivals. Users also look for guid­ance, for exam­ple in case of delays of pub­lic trans­port and a proac­tive sug­ges­tion for alternatives.

When we work on uncov­er­ing basic user needs, we are con­stant­ly look­ing for new use cas­es. For exam­ple, we recent­ly con­duct­ed research where we aimed to fur­ther under­stand the needs and pain points that peo­ple have with nav­i­ga­tion when using micro-mobil­i­ty modes (e.g. bikes). We do this to eval­u­ate the poten­tial of live nav­i­ga­tion and the ben­e­fits it could deliv­er to these use cases.

02 Define – In-depth research to under­stand user’s behaviour

In this phase we define our focus and val­i­date our hypothe­ses about user needs and poten­tial solu­tions. Final­ly, we nar­row down ideas into con­crete solutions.

The appli­ca­tion of mul­ti­ple research meth­ods is pos­si­ble in this step. In the case of our Live Nav­i­ga­tion fea­ture, we con­duct­ed some work­shops to val­i­date the val­ue this fea­ture could bring to the users. We used this phase to out­line the user jour­ney in detail to ver­i­fy our under­stand­ing of poten­tial tar­get users and how they would ben­e­fit from using this fea­ture. Fur­ther­more, we used the work­shops to find out whether the Live Nav­i­ga­tion fea­ture real­ly solves the needs and pain points uncov­ered in the pre­vi­ous phase.

03 Devel­op – Ideate and test concepts

With­in the third phase, we ideate and test our con­cepts. Through con­tin­u­ous iter­a­tions, we aim to find the most opti­mal solu­tion based on user needs. Based on the results of our user tests, we pri­ori­tise infor­ma­tion accord­ing to dif­fer­ent criteria.

From feed­back of users we learned about their need to have walk­ing guid­ance to the sta­tions. We took this feed­back away to devel­op dif­fer­ent con­cepts to resolve this need by improv­ing our Live Nav­i­ga­tion fea­ture. Test­ing the dif­fer­ent con­cepts with users helped us to pick the one deliv­er­ing the most val­ue to our users.

Anoth­er exam­ple con­sti­tutes the onboard­ing* of users to the Live Nav­i­ga­tion fea­ture. We went through an iter­a­tion process, which enabled us to go from a “glob­al onboard­ing” to a “con­tex­tu­al onboard­ing” process. The con­tex­tu­al onboard­ing process makes the Live Nav­i­ga­tion mode eas­i­er to access for the user when need­ed. This improved the over­all user expe­ri­ence and enables users more quickly.

*Onboard­ing: but­ton with­in the app which enables the user to switch to the Live Nav­i­ga­tion mode

04 Deliv­er – Test­ing our final product

Right before we launch our prod­uct or new fea­tures in the mar­ket, we con­duct alpha and beta test­ings to ensure that we deliv­er the best pos­si­ble user expe­ri­ence. For this usabil­i­ty research of avail­able fea­tures, we use var­i­ous meth­ods and sources such as in-app feed­back, Mobimeo-inter­nal field trips or crowd testing.

05 Evolve – Fur­ther devel­op our product

After we launch, we dig deep­er into mea­sur­ing impact and suc­cess. With the help of ongo­ing eval­u­a­tions and app ana­lyt­ics, we have the chance to improve and expand our products.

In addi­tion, we receive qual­i­ta­tive feed­back from the users, which we pass on to the oth­er teams involved in the devel­op­ment process. It helps us to fur­ther improve live nav­i­ga­tion and to increase user engagement.

Out­look: In our next episode, we will give some deep­er insights on how we fur­ther inno­vate the Com­pan­ion by explor­ing a turn-by-turn guid­ance com­po­nent. By doing so, we fol­low our vision for Com­pan­ion: to bring peace of mind to mil­lions of users.

Mobimeo’s User-Centric Approach for Product Development

Author: Anna Filby, Digital Trainee

Anna is a Dig­i­tal Trainee at Deutsche Bahn with expe­ri­ence in new mobil­i­ty and prod­uct inno­va­tion. In her sec­ond prac­ti­cal post­ing, she worked at Mobimeo in the Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and Mar­ket­ing team. Anna is con­vinced that under­stand­ing the needs of the user offers a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to redesign the way we move in cities.

We use our knowledge of users and the market to create engagement

To ensure we build prod­ucts that are user-cen­tric and address the needs of the mar­ket, we keep one eye on the user and the oth­er on the needs of the mar­ket dur­ing our devel­op­ment process.

Our 4 principles for product development

Our goal is to uncov­er user needs and mar­ket oppor­tu­ni­ties to dri­ve Mobimeo to devel­op bet­ter, user-cen­tric prod­ucts that increase engage­ment. Our vision is to make cities green­er and mobil­i­ty eas­i­er. Based on user needs, we apply four core prin­ci­ples to do this:
1. Rad­i­cal­ly sim­ple design: Mobimeo’s design lan­guage is cre­at­ed to enable an easy-to-use inter­face by reduc­ing com­plex­i­ty for the user. There­fore, our design is the foun­da­tion for a great prod­uct experience.

2. Per­son­al­i­sa­tion: At Mobimeo, we devel­op a dig­i­tal mobil­i­ty plat­form with per­son­alised route offers and infor­ma­tion to cre­ate added val­ue for individuals.

3. Con­tex­tu­al­i­sa­tion: We give con­tex­tu­al rec­om­men­da­tions so that users can choose the best con­nec­tion to their destination.

4. One-stop shop: We pro­vide route search, deep inte­gra­tion and deep link­ing of mobil­i­ty providers as well as book­ing options in one solu­tion that makes it easy for users to choose green­er modes of transport.

We develop MaaS solutions based on users’ needs

As mobil­i­ty is chang­ing rapid­ly, new forms are emerg­ing and numer­ous apps to access these ser­vices have entered the mar­ket. In recent years, this has become increas­ing­ly con­fus­ing for the user and it is often a chal­lenge to find the most suit­able mode of trans­port for one’s sit­u­a­tion. These are just some of the prob­lems users face. At Mobimeo, we are shap­ing the future of urban mobil­i­ty by tai­lor­ing our prod­ucts to people’s needs, based on research and insights.

To devel­op MaaS appli­ca­tions, we look close­ly at our users by deploy­ing per­sonas. We know how to excite users and bring them into the MaaS world by con­tin­u­ous­ly eval­u­at­ing and con­sid­er­ing their needs, pref­er­ences, sit­u­a­tions and chal­lenges. Based on data from var­i­ous stud­ies and the ana­lyt­ics team, we con­tin­u­ous­ly enrich and evolve our per­sonas. The uptake of our prod­ucts is high as we devel­op our fea­tures for dif­fer­ent tar­get groups. Our goal is to make dai­ly mobil­i­ty as easy as possible.

Mobimeo’s product development process

Our prod­uct devel­op­ment process fol­lows a struc­tured design approach that is divid­ed into sev­er­al phas­es. To ensure that the user is at the cen­ter of this process, we have a strong team that con­stant­ly shares insights to have the best prod­uct ver­sion avail­able and cre­ate excep­tion­al experiences.

01 Dis­cov­er
In the dis­cov­ery phase, we uncov­er user needs, explore oppor­tu­ni­ty spaces and inno­va­tion. We con­duct research to joint­ly define the tar­get user and our val­ue proposition.

02 Define
We define our focus, design and val­i­date con­cepts and our hypothe­ses about needs and solu­tions to nar­row down ideas.

03 Devel­op
We ideate and test our con­cepts to val­i­date user experience.

04 Deliv­er
We embed qual­i­ty assur­ance prac­tices deep into the devel­op­ment cycle and reg­u­lar­ly test our apps in var­i­ous test sce­nar­ios to increase qual­i­ty in our process­es and prod­ucts. Just before we launch our prod­uct or new fea­tures, we con­duct usabil­i­ty test­ings (method of eval­u­at­ing prod­ucts with users) and beta tests to close­ly track how our prod­ucts are used.

05 Evolve
After we launch, we are not done. We con­tin­u­ous­ly mon­i­tor the apps to val­i­date hypothe­ses and explore new pos­si­bil­i­ties for prod­uct improve­ments. Ongo­ing eval­u­a­tions, fol­low-up inter­views and analy­ses enable us to improve and expand our prod­uct. For exam­ple, we analyse how users inter­act with our prod­uct. We col­lect user feed­back that we pass on to the oth­er teams in the devel­op­ment process.

Data driven decisions

To under­stand the user from the begin­ning, Mobimeo’s UX Research team applies var­i­ous meth­ods, from ethno­graph­ic stud­ies, user jour­ney analy­sis and per­sonas, usabil­i­ty test­ing to mar­ket analy­sis and fea­ture pri­ori­ti­sa­tion. The Prod­uct and Qual­i­ty Assur­ance team con­tin­u­ous­ly iter­ates on prod­ucts and embeds qual­i­ty assur­ance prac­tices deep into the devel­op­ment cycle. At Mobimeo, we reg­u­lar­ly test our apps in var­i­ous sce­nar­ios. We also do field trips to eval­u­ate new fea­tures. There­fore, we involve mul­ti­ple Mobimeos from oth­er teams as well as users to make our tests as accu­rate as pos­si­ble. The Prod­uct Ana­lyt­ics team mea­sures at the same time the suc­cess of the prod­uct and eval­u­ates which expe­ri­ences are most like­ly to appeal to users to make them use the apps for a long time and increase the reach. Last but not least, the design team trans­lates the prod­uct vision into visu­als and tests the app inter­face for user expe­ri­ence and intu­itive user guid­ance. These agile teams work cross-func­tion­al­ly in iter­a­tions, which allows Mobimeo to be very flex­i­ble and respond quick­ly to user requests.

Benefits of Mobimeo’s user-centric approach for mobility providers and of course their users!

There are many chal­lenges regard­ing mobil­i­ty and encour­ag­ing a shift to more sus­tain­able modes of trans­port. By putting the user at the cen­ter of our devel­op­ment process­es, we build tai­lored MaaS solu­tions and expe­ri­ences that peo­ple will not eas­i­ly part with!

The key ben­e­fits from our approach for pub­lic trans­port oper­a­tors, trans­port asso­ci­a­tions and oth­er mobil­i­ty providers can be sum­marised as follows:
1. User knowl­edge
Gain insights about users, their needs and mobil­i­ty behaviour

2. Reach a broad user base
Devel­op dig­i­tal prod­ucts for dif­fer­ent tar­get groups to take var­i­ous users needs into account 

3. Inno­v­a­tive user-cen­tric features
Include user voice right from the start to ensure a human-cen­tered design

4. Always have the newest version
Ongo­ing devel­op­ment, con­tin­u­ous iter­a­tions and new releas­es through agile processes

The results are
High user loy­al­ty: Improv­ing the dig­i­tal chan­nel to build cus­tomer loy­al­ty with your business

Strong user engage­ment: Increase month­ly active users and tick­et sales by know­ing your users

Pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able mobil­i­ty behav­iour: Encour­age users to switch towards more sus­tain­able modes of trans­port, e.g. pub­lic trans­port or green­er modes

Out­look: In the next blog post, we will show how this user-cen­tric approach is incor­po­rat­ed into our prod­uct devel­op­ment with con­crete examples.

Covid-19 and its implications for MaaS

The new normal of home office and mobility

This change is most vis­i­ble in the way that work­ing from home has estab­lished itself as a gen­uine alter­na­tive to the nor­mal work­place. Although com­pa­nies and organ­i­sa­tions could have made this tech­ni­cal­ly pos­si­ble years ago through the intro­duc­tion of the “dig­i­tal work­place”, it is the present health cri­sis that has made home office a main­stream fea­ture of the pro­fes­sion­al world. Its essen­tial fea­ture is that it makes work more flex­i­ble. Work­ing hours and the place of work are no longer nec­es­sar­i­ly fixed. As well as cre­at­ing new free­doms, this brings a need for greater flex­i­bil­i­ty in oth­er areas, includ­ing mobility.

Besides the home office trend, the pan­dem­ic itself is alter­ing the para­me­ters of mobil­i­ty. Lock­downs, cur­fews, a restrict­ed trav­el radius and social dis­tanc­ing rules are severe­ly cur­tail­ing people’s mobil­i­ty. At the same time, more and more Ger­mans are opt­ing for bicy­cles, their own cars or walk­ing, as a study by For­sashows. Shar­ing mod­els are also gain­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty. Pub­lic trans­port, on the oth­er hand, is suf­fer­ing the most in the present sit­u­a­tion. Dis­tanc­ing rules and the elim­i­na­tion of com­mutes to work are dri­ving the trend of few­er pas­sen­gers. In light of this, the man­age­ment con­sul­tan­cy Deloitte describes the pan­dem­ic as caus­ing a shift in mobil­i­ty “from pub­lic to pri­vate”.

Lasting trends

At the same time, it is evi­dent that indi­vid­ual pref­er­ences stem from habits that were already in place before the pan­dem­ic. Dri­vers who own a pri­vate vehi­cle tend to use it more. Con­verse­ly, those who were rely­ing on pub­lic trans­port now make more jour­neys on foot, by bicy­cle or using shar­ing vehi­cles – or by com­bin­ing mul­ti­ple modes of trans­port, as McK­in­sey points out.

Over a year into the cri­sis, it is becom­ing clear that this devel­op­ment is not a short-term trend. The Asso­ci­a­tion of Ger­man Trans­port Com­pa­nies (VDV) notes that pub­lic trans­port use was far below pre-cri­sis lev­els even while restric­tions were relaxed in the sum­mer of 2020. A sur­vey by For­sa on behalf of the Ger­man Ener­gy Agency (dena) found that 61 per­cent of Ger­mans expect to main­tain their cur­rent mobil­i­ty habits even after the pandemic.

Demand for greater flexibility and multimodality

Many employ­ees wel­come the new, more flex­i­ble mobil­i­ty as it lets them choose from var­i­ous options, depend­ing on the sit­u­a­tion. Trans­port com­pa­nies and asso­ci­a­tions are respond­ing to this grow­ing need for flex­i­bil­i­ty and are pre­sent­ing their cus­tomers with more adapt­able offers. The impor­tance of the clas­sic sub­scrip­tion mod­el in pub­lic trans­port is cur­rent­ly on the decline. The VDV notes that sub­scrip­tion can­cel­la­tions did not reach their peak at the begin­ning, but lat­er on in the course of the pan­dem­ic. This implies that the con­ven­tion­al pro­vi­sion of pub­lic trans­port is not ade­quate­ly meet­ing people’s mobil­i­ty needs dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. One response to this issue is to devise new tick­et­ing mod­els. For exam­ple, Verkehrsver­bund Stuttgart (VVS) has intro­duced a new 10-day tick­et that can be used flex­i­bly on days the user chooses.

Oth­er inno­v­a­tive approach­es are also emerg­ing. A grow­ing num­ber of com­pa­nies now offer their employ­ees a mobil­i­ty bud­get instead of a month­ly or annu­al pub­lic trans­port tick­et, and in some cas­es this even takes the place of a com­pa­ny car. The employ­er pro­vides a cred­it bal­ance that can be freely spent on jour­neys using pub­lic trans­port, shar­ing vehi­cles or taxis. Organ­i­sa­tions embrac­ing the mobil­i­ty bud­get mod­el include SAP, the city of Bre­men and Fros­ta. In this way, employ­ees can make their own choic­es about how to make use of all the mobil­i­ty ser­vices on offer.

Mobimeo’s problem-solution fit

Mobimeo sup­ports trans­port com­pa­nies and asso­ci­a­tions in find­ing appro­pri­ate respons­es to chang­ing user behav­iour. We lever­age our com­bi­na­tion of indus­try know-how, tech­ni­cal exper­tise and prod­uct insights to devel­op inno­v­a­tive solu­tions that meet the needs of both mobil­i­ty providers and users. White label apps built on Mobimeo’s MaaS plat­form offer the full range of local mobil­i­ty. The plat­form is open to region­al require­ments such as spe­cif­ic tar­iff sys­tems and data sources. We have also rapid­ly imple­ment­ed some very spe­cif­ic require­ments in the apps that arose dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, such as show­ing bike routes for users with their own two wheels, show­ing them the option to cov­er longer dis­tances on foot, inte­grat­ing con­tact­less pay­ment and dis­play­ing the lat­est information.

The poten­tial impacts of the Covid-19 pan­dem­ic on sub­scrip­tion pur­chas­es and the grow­ing flex­i­bil­i­ty in trans­port choic­es make it more vital than ever to build and expand a dig­i­tal cus­tomer inter­face – as a means of retain­ing cus­tomers, attract­ing new user groups and as a sales channel.

It is still too ear­ly to tell how vac­ci­na­tion pro­grammes, the occur­rence of Covid vari­ants and any relax­ation of social dis­tanc­ing mea­sures will affect the pro­gres­sion of the pan­dem­ic in the medi­um to long term. So it is all the more cru­cial to have the abil­i­ty to adapt dig­i­tal offer­ings to chang­ing user behav­iour at short notice.

Mobility from a single source: ioki and Mobimeo team up for the first time to upgrade the multimodal app KVV.mobil

The MaaS plat­form devel­oped by Mobimeo pro­vides intu­itive access to all avail­able mobil­i­ty options, from search­ing to book­ing and pay­ment. With the appli­ca­tion pro­gram­ming inter­face (API) it has devel­oped, ioki now enables the direct book­ing and han­dling of on-demand jour­neys to be deeply inte­grat­ed in a MaaS app for the first time. The imple­men­ta­tion of this tech­ni­cal solu­tion marks the first coop­er­a­tion on a joint project between these two Deutsche Bahn sub­sidiaries. Users of the KVV.mobil app can now also use it to book MyShut­tle vehicles.
Nev­er­the­less, the pre­vi­ous­ly released ioki kvv.easy app will still be avail­able to customers.

Heike Löf­fler, Chief Com­mer­cial Offi­cer (CCO) of Mobimeo: “The update to the KVV.mobil app is a tru­ly spe­cial occa­sion for us for two rea­sons: When we acquired the B2B/B2G busi­ness of moov­el last autumn, we got the oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­vince KVV of the capa­bil­i­ties of Mobimeo’s MaaS plat­form. And the fact that the inte­gra­tion of MyShut­tle has giv­en us the chance to work togeth­er with our col­leagues from ioki with­in one app is tes­ta­ment to the strength of our inte­grat­ed offering.”

Dr. Michael Bar­il­lère-Scholz, CEO of ioki: “By offer­ing to upgrade apps with this API, we are open­ing up our ioki plat­form to all trans­port providers with deeply inte­grat­ed mobil­i­ty-as-a-ser­vice solu­tions. We can now also dis­play our on-demand book­ings with­in com­pre­hen­sive mobil­i­ty-as-a-ser­vice apps, thus offer­ing even greater val­ue to users. We are delight­ed to deploy this inter­face for the first time with our DB sis­ter com­pa­ny Mobimeo as part of our joint project with KVV.”

Besides the deep inte­gra­tion of the elec­tric on-demand rideshar­ing ser­vice MyShut­tle, users ben­e­fit from addi­tion­al shar­ing options. The KVV.mobil app also offers sim­ple and con­tact­less pur­chas­ing of pub­lic trans­port tick­ets, based on the select­ed route or direct­ly in the tick­et shop.

You can down­load the app here:

iOS

Android

Press con­tact:

Mobimeo: media@mobimeo.com

ioki: press@ioki.com


About ioki
ioki devel­ops smart mobil­i­ty solu­tions for the future. Whether for trans­port com­pa­nies, local author­i­ties or busi­ness­es, whether in rur­al areas or in the city: as an expert for mobil­i­ty analy­ses, the Deutsche Bahn sub­sidiary iden­ti­fies needs and pro­vides data-based advice for the plan­ning of new ser­vices. With the help of its intel­li­gent plat­form, the DB busi­ness unit, as a tech­nol­o­gy part­ner, also enables flex­i­ble on-demand mobil­i­ty that is inte­grat­ed into pub­lic trans­port, thus strength­en­ing pub­lic trans­port in the long term. ioki sup­ports its cus­tomers from A to Z: from iden­ti­fy­ing mean­ing­ful areas of use to the devel­op­ment of a user-friend­ly app to the actu­al imple­men­ta­tion on the road. In this way, mobil­i­ty becomes acces­si­ble for every­one, any­time and any­where – sus­tain­able, acces­si­ble and demand-responsive.

About Mobimeo
Mobimeo GmbH (Mobimeo) devel­ops a Mobil­i­ty-as-a-Ser­vice (MaaS) plat­form for the mobil­i­ty of tomor­row. As a part­ner of trans­port com­pa­nies, trans­port asso­ci­a­tions and oth­er mobil­i­ty providers, Mobimeo con­nects exist­ing pub­lic trans­port sys­tems, shar­ing and on-demand options. For mobil­i­ty providers, Mobimeo offers high-per­for­mance tech­ni­cal prod­ucts: apps built on Mobimeo’s plat­form impress with their ele­gant design, their intu­itive route search, book­ing and pay­ment func­tions and con­tin­u­ous jour­ney progress infor­ma­tion. They offer users mul­ti­modal, per­son­alised and event-dri­ven sug­ges­tions to find the best pos­si­ble route to their des­ti­na­tion. The result is a relaxed and enjoy­able trav­el expe­ri­ence for mil­lions of pub­lic trans­port users – with­out depen­dence on pri­vate cars.

The com­pa­ny was found­ed by Deutsche Bahn AG in 2018. In 2020 Mobimeo acquired a part of moov­el Group GmbH (moov­el) that devel­ops mobil­i­ty plat­forms for munic­i­pal­i­ties and trans­port asso­ci­a­tions (B2B/B2G soft­ware solu­tions). Mobimeo has thus become one of Europe’s largest plat­form devel­op­ers for Mobil­i­ty-as-a-Ser­vice appli­ca­tions (MaaS). Togeth­er with the exist­ing share­hold­ers of moov­el – BMW Group and Daim­ler Mobil­i­ty AG – Deutsche Bahn is com­bin­ing resources to devel­op region­al MaaS plat­forms at Mobimeo.

Pioneering spirit and a new era – Where we come from

Author: Philip Fürmann, Head of Delivery & Program Management

A new era

When I start­ed in Busi­ness Devel­op­ment at moov­el in 2014, some ele­ments that are now con­sid­ered inte­gral to Mobil­i­ty as a Ser­vice (MaaS) were already part of our prod­uct vision, but were still a long way from becom­ing estab­lished. We were not aware at the time that we were work­ing on “MaaS”. It took time for a clear pic­ture of poten­tial solu­tions to the now proven mantra “search – book – pay” to devel­op. Nor was it fore­see­able at the time that white-label solu­tions would hold the key to success.

How moovel brought the “from A to B principle” to an app

Even before I joined moov­el, Daim­ler was run­ning the suc­cess­ful app car2go – one of the first ever car shar­ing apps. It applied the broad­er trend of “shar­ing instead of own­ing” to cars and led to a break­through for the niche phe­nom­e­non of car shar­ing. moov­el then expand­ed the “new mobil­i­ty” con­cept. The idea was sim­ple: moov­el com­bines all options for get­ting from A to B by pub­lic trans­port or shar­ing vehi­cles in one app. At its core are the three steps: search – book  – pay.

At moov­el, we helped to shape much of what defines MaaS today. When it was found­ed in 2012, moov­el ini­tial­ly pur­sued an even broad­er approach: as well as means of trans­port, users should be able to book oth­er offers through the app, such as hotels or event tick­ets. An “app for every­thing” might sound appeal­ing at first, but in prac­tice it over­whelms most users, as the main ben­e­fit of hav­ing a clear and intu­itive app gets lost along the way. Our answer was to strip it down to the essen­tials – and this remains a key part of our phi­los­o­phy at Mobimeo today. Back in 2015, we com­bined pub­lic trans­port, car and bike shar­ing, taxi ser­vices and Deutsche Bahn offers in our app. In 2016, moov­el received the Ger­man Mobil­i­ty Award for this innovation.

From B2C to the white-label approach

At that time, many tech com­pa­nies want­ed to build mobil­i­ty plat­forms under their own brands. With their direct access to usage and cus­tomer data, they sought to con­trol the inter­face between providers and users. Even then, many of our part­ners expressed their wish to retain con­trol over this data, which is at the heart of their cus­tomer rela­tion­ships. Our response to this request was to evolve our offer­ing towards white-label apps. Their look and feel can be adapt­ed to the brand of our cus­tomers – pri­mar­i­ly trans­port com­pa­nies and asso­ci­a­tions – who gain their own pres­ence on the mar­ket with our apps. Using this approach, we won over cus­tomers in Stuttgart, where we were head­quar­tered, in Ham­burg, Karl­sruhe, Düs­sel­dorf, Aschaf­fen­burg and abroad.

The next step was to expand out­side of Ger­many. In North Amer­i­ca, for instance, moov­el became the lead­ing provider of mobile tick­et­ing appli­ca­tions. And in Japan, a key mar­ket for future tech trends, we estab­lished a coop­er­a­tion for a MaaS app with one of the world’s largest pas­sen­ger rail com­pa­nies in col­lab­o­ra­tion with anoth­er con­glom­er­ate active in trans­port, real estate, retail, leisure and cul­ture. As a result, moov­el grew to reach over five mil­lion users.

An ideal combination – moovel and Mobimeo

In 2020, moov­el and Mobimeo joined forces to accom­plish even more togeth­er: we aim to become the num­ber one for MaaS solu­tions in Ger­many and a lead­ing provider in Europe. Both com­pa­nies have a proven track record in their fields. moov­el brings its expe­ri­ence from the pio­neer­ing years of MaaS and the tech­nol­o­gy it has devel­oped since. Mobimeo, found­ed as a cor­po­rate start-up of Deutsche Bahn, has a strong con­nec­tion to the “nat­ur­al own­ers” of pub­lic trans­port, i.e. the trans­port com­pa­nies and asso­ci­a­tions. By bring­ing togeth­er the per­spec­tives of the providers and the users, we cre­ate the ide­al con­di­tions to devel­op inno­v­a­tive MaaS plat­forms for every­day use in the mobil­i­ty sector.

Work­ing with the inte­grat­ed mobil­i­ty providers, we cov­er all options for users to get from A to B in cities – whether on road or rail, by train, bus, bike, e‑scooter or even by car.

MaaS – how a European development is revolutionising mobility

Author: Felix Salfn­er, Head of Product

First movers in North America

The start­ing shot for MaaS came in 2014, the year when Uber man­aged to raise USD 1.2 bil­lion in a financ­ing round. Major investors includ­ed Google and Gold­man Sachs. This event epit­o­mis­es a trend that gained momen­tum through­out the mid-2010s: mobile dig­i­tal plat­forms as enablers for the shar­ing econ­o­my and on-demand ser­vices that go beyond local solu­tions. In North Amer­i­ca, the focus is on new brands that spend a con­sid­er­able amount of time and effort to attract users (busi­ness-to-con­sumer, B2C). The key fea­ture of the appli­ca­tions is rad­i­cal­ly sim­ple oper­a­tion via the smart­phone (user experience/UX). Mean­while, Europe has a dif­fer­ent blueprint.

MaaS – the European roots

While “big cap­i­tal” was break­ing new ground in North Amer­i­ca by devel­op­ing dig­i­tal busi­ness mod­els for the mobil­i­ty sec­tor, more mod­est ear­ly steps were tak­en in Europe. In May 2014, a grad­u­ate stu­dent named Son­ja Heikkilä sub­mit­ted her Master’s the­sis on “Mobil­i­ty as a Ser­vice – A Pro­pos­al for Action for the Pub­lic Admin­is­tra­tion, Case Helsin­ki”. The the­sis caused an inter­na­tion­al sen­sa­tion. Media from all over the world report­ed on Heikkilä and Helsinki’s attempt to trans­form urban trans­port using this nov­el, dig­i­tal and sus­tain­able approach. The focus is on coop­er­a­tion between munic­i­pal­i­ties and trans­port com­pa­nies (busi­ness-to-gov­ern­ment, B2G) to cre­ate a ser­vice for the ben­e­fit of cit­i­zens. The “Helsin­ki Mod­el” marked the birth of MaaS in the nar­row­er sense and gen­er­at­ed a great deal of excite­ment. A few years on, MaaS con­tin­ues to be regard­ed with the same fascination.

The fascination of MaaS

At that time, I worked first for SAP and then for Soft­ware Diag­nos­tics and trav­elled a lot for my job. Each time I arrived in a city, I faced the same race against time to nav­i­gate the unfa­mil­iar fare sys­tems and choose from the var­i­ous pub­lic trans­port options to get to my meet­ings on time. Most of the apps avail­able back then were lim­it­ed to a route find­er func­tion. On top of that, you had to install sep­a­rate apps for bus, train or taxi ser­vices and sign up with each of them. As the num­ber of mobil­i­ty providers increased, so did the num­ber of apps. At the time I was keep­ing a close eye on devel­op­ments in North Amer­i­ca and reports about the Helsin­ki Mod­el, so I won­dered if the whole pro­ce­dure could be sim­pli­fied in Ger­many as well. Today, as Head of Prod­uct at Mobimeo, I work towards mak­ing all mobil­i­ty ser­vices avail­able on a sin­gle plat­form. It con­nects pub­lic trans­port with taxis, shar­ing ser­vices for bikes, e‑scooters or cars, and much more.

The ben­e­fits of MaaS for soci­ety, the envi­ron­ment and indi­vid­ual users include:

– Per­son­al­i­sa­tion and flex­i­ble adjust­ment to the needs of the user through multimodality
– Sus­tain­abil­i­ty through cli­mate-friend­ly alter­na­tives to per­son­al cars
– Reduced con­ges­tion in urban trans­port, , e.g. through bet­ter capac­i­ty utilization
– New billing mod­els for mobility

How­ev­er, mobil­i­ty is also a com­pet­i­tive, mul­ti-bil­lion-euro mar­ket. So it’s only log­i­cal that new play­ers are enter­ing the mar­ket and investors want to see large returns.

MaaS requires long-term commitment

An ear­ly peri­od of enthu­si­asm in the mid-2010s ini­tial­ly gave way to dis­il­lu­sion­ment. First movers includ­ing Uber, Lyft and many mobil­i­ty ser­vice providers (MSPs) are still not prof­itable to this day. The first decade of MaaS, which has yet to run its course, is marked by rel­a­tive­ly low user num­bers and a pro­lif­er­a­tion of ser­vice providers. Even in Helsin­ki, the Euro­pean birth­place of MaaS, user num­bers are far low­er than expect­ed. The real­i­sa­tion is that a fun­da­men­tal change in mobil­i­ty behav­iour, the kind that MaaS is aim­ing for, can­not be achieved with­in a few years. These are longer-term goals that require the inter­play of numer­ous actors. Cur­rent­ly, Ger­many and Europe offer the best frame­work con­di­tions to pur­sue these goals.

Good prospects for European innovations

Leg­isla­tive ini­tia­tives of the Euro­pean Union such as the Dig­i­tal Mar­kets Act, the Dig­i­tal Ser­vices Act and the Gen­er­al Data Pro­tec­tion Reg­u­la­tion (GDPR) are a strong sig­nal that Europe has a new sense of con­fi­dence to build and oper­ate its own dig­i­tal plat­forms. The Euro­pean frame­work helps to raise stan­dards for trans­paren­cy and data pro­tec­tion. It means that Euro­pean tech com­pa­nies, when they first begin design­ing their offer­ings, can already con­sid­er the relat­ed requirements.

Better than Google & Co

Pub­lic trans­port is the cor­ner­stone of the trans­port tran­si­tion in Ger­many. It is the back­bone of mobil­i­ty in com­mu­ni­ties, cities and regions and it enables us to get around sus­tain­ably while pro­tect­ing the cli­mate. Today, mil­lions of users already use the dig­i­tal ser­vices of their local pub­lic trans­port oper­a­tors, for exam­ple search­ing for the best route on the web­site or app. The trans­port com­pa­nies and asso­ci­a­tions have there­fore tak­en a first step and laid a cru­cial foun­da­tion for a suc­cess­ful trans­port tran­si­tion: a dig­i­tal inter­face to their cus­tomers that must now be devel­oped and expand­ed in order to make these apps the cen­tral access point for mobil­i­ty and to retain cus­tomers in the long term. With the estab­lish­ment of this inter­face comes the task of han­dling emerg­ing data and find­ings respon­si­bly. Since access to every­day mobil­i­ty and the use of avail­able funds to build an infra­struc­ture that meets demand will pri­mar­i­ly have a local and region­al impact, munic­i­pal­i­ties, trans­port asso­ci­a­tions and com­pa­nies are also the first point of con­tact for cit­i­zens and users on site for MaaS. The great oppor­tu­ni­ty lies in the con­nec­tion of all means of trans­porta­tion in order to be able to pro­vide offers from a sin­gle source for the needs of all user groups – from dig­i­tal natives to com­muters – which can be adapt­ed to their respec­tive needs.

Mobimeo – changing the way cities move

With intu­itive apps, seam­less­ly inte­grat­ed mul­ti­modal alter­na­tives and all rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion through­out the jour­ney, we inspire users of apps built on our plat­form for MaaS solu­tions. As a prod­uct com­pa­ny, we are able to trans­late our find­ings – from user sur­veys, for exam­ple – into new fea­tures that we make avail­able to our cus­tomers. This allows us to reach a large num­ber of users with short devel­op­ment cycles. Based on the data we pro­vide, local author­i­ties, trans­port asso­ci­a­tions and com­pa­nies can make bet­ter deci­sions about what dig­i­tal offers they want to make to their users, how they com­mu­ni­cate with them, and how they retain users.

Build­ing on our plat­form, they can cre­ate com­plete apps as well as indi­vid­ual mod­ules with­in their exist­ing apps, thus expand­ing their offer­ings and cre­at­ing last­ing cus­tomer relationships.

Shaping the future of mobility – Founding and mission of Mobimeo

Author: Lea Zander, Head of People & Organization

A new dawn

At that time, trans­port asso­ci­a­tions and com­pa­nies in Ger­many had start­ed to offer apps as dig­i­tal infor­ma­tion chan­nels for mobile devices. These apps were often lim­it­ed to one basic func­tion: find­ing the best route from A to B. At the same time, mobil­i­ty providers entered the mar­ket with offer­ings that were based on a dig­i­tal busi­ness mod­el from the start. The shar­ing econ­o­my was made pos­si­ble by smart­phones, GPS tech­nol­o­gy to show your own loca­tion and the trend towards “shar­ing over own­ing”. With­in a short peri­od of time, an over­whelm­ing vari­ety of options emerged for get­ting from A to B in nov­el ways. At the same time, a mul­ti­tude of new apps were pub­lished in the app stores, each requir­ing its own cus­tomer account and pay­ment data. As for clar­i­ty and user-friend­li­ness, they were left by the wayside.

Unterwegs!

With ser­vices such as Call a Bike and Flinkster, Deutsche Bahn (DB) par­tic­i­pat­ed in this trend from an ear­ly stage. The key ques­tion was: How can the users’ “pain” result­ing from dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion – con­fu­sion, poor com­pa­ra­bil­i­ty and labo­ri­ous book­ing – be turned into an advan­tage using the tools of digitalisation?

Based on its expe­ri­ence in dig­i­tal­is­ing busi­ness mod­els and its roots in local pub­lic trans­port, it quick­ly became clear with­in DB that a cru­cial link had to be cre­at­ed between new­ly devel­oped forms of mobil­i­ty and the tra­di­tion­al­ly frag­ment­ed local pub­lic trans­port indus­try to avoid being left behind: a spe­cialised tech­nol­o­gy ser­vice provider that knows the indus­try and can devel­op inno­v­a­tive solu­tions with the meth­ods and speed of a start-up. In just a short time, an inter­nal project called “Unter­wegs” (“On the Way”) evolved into a con­crete plan to found a new company.

Kreuzberg

Look­ing back at Mobimeo’s found­ing from today’s per­spec­tive, it all starts – as is so often the case – with an encounter: Kalle Greven, Project Man­ag­er at DB, wants to get the new com­pa­ny off the ground – prefer­ably right away. The idea is there, a pos­i­tive busi­ness case and the tech­ni­cal under­stand­ing to imple­ment it. What’s miss­ing is a col­lab­o­ra­tor to help turn the idea into real­i­ty. The search quick­ly leads to a name, then a phone call to a meet­ing. Kai Peter, financ­ing expert and entre­pre­neur­ial go-get­ter from the rail­way indus­try, finds Kalle’s enthu­si­asm infec­tious. Togeth­er they get the keys to the new company’s office on Prinzessin­nen­straße in Berlin-Kreuzberg in the sum­mer of 2018: “Unter­wegs” becomes Mobimeo GmbH.

Growth and first products

In the first few months, speed is the word most often heard in the cor­ri­dors of Mobimeo. We set a quick pace in the devel­op­ment of our min­i­mal viable prod­ucts (MVPs), with which we aim to prove to our first cus­tomers that we’re on the right track.

The young com­pa­ny is grow­ing. The two founders become a team of 32 with­in the first year. Key posi­tions are filled and it quick­ly becomes clear what Mobimeo can do to stand out from its emerg­ing com­peti­tors on the mar­ket for Mobil­i­ty-as-a-Ser­vice solu­tions. One of the cru­cial fac­tors for the future suc­cess of mobil­i­ty providers is to estab­lish and devel­op the dig­i­tal inter­face to their cus­tomers. This enables the providers to offer the best ser­vice and to bind cus­tomers to their own platform.

From the very begin­ning, we have pur­sued a part­ner­ship-based approach. Togeth­er with cus­tomers and mobil­i­ty providers, we devel­op white-label apps and mod­ules that, as a first step, incor­po­rate the require­ments of Ger­man local pub­lic trans­port and give users an alter­na­tive to the offer­ings of inter­na­tion­al tech companies.

In this way, we win over S‑Bahn Stuttgart, Berlin­er Verkehrs­be­triebe (BVG) and S‑Bahn Berlin in quick suc­ces­sion. That gives us at least three rea­sons to cel­e­brate Mobimeo’s sec­ond birth­day in 2020!

2021

At the end of 2020, Mobimeo acquires part of moov­el Group GmbH (moov­el), which has been devel­op­ing mobil­i­ty plat­forms for munic­i­pal­i­ties and trans­port asso­ci­a­tions for some time. This makes us one of Europe’s largest plat­form devel­op­ers for Mobil­i­ty-as-a-Ser­vice (MaaS) appli­ca­tions. Togeth­er with BMW Group and Daim­ler Mobil­i­ty AG as the exist­ing share­hold­ers of moov­el, Deutsche Bahn AG pools its resources for devel­op­ing region­al mobil­i­ty plat­forms at Mobimeo.

Changing the way cities move 

We are con­vinced that glob­al solu­tions, like those offered by inter­na­tion­al tech com­pa­nies, are not the best solu­tion for the mobil­i­ty indus­try, nor for users. To achieve what we set out to do when we found­ed Mobimeo, we need our local per­spec­tive. How can we move through cities in a way that’s easy, con­ve­nient and still good for the plan­et? What modes of trans­port can we inte­grate into our prod­ucts to pro­vide the most com­pelling offer?

Our answer is a plat­form that we con­tin­ue to devel­op in col­lab­o­ra­tion with strong local part­ners. A plat­form for easy-to-use apps that take users straight to their destination.

We join forces – the first 100 days

Author: Kai Peter, CFO

The same passion, the same goals

The start­ing point for the merg­er was the com­mon ground that moov­el and Mobimeo share: the mis­sion to active­ly address cli­mate change and the con­vic­tion that dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion can bring about a sus­tain­able change in how var­i­ous mobil­i­ty options are used. What set the two com­pa­nies apart was their DNA: moov­el was part of a joint ven­ture between Daim­ler Mobil­i­ty AG and BMW Group, i.e. two car man­u­fac­tur­ers. Mobimeo has its roots in Deutsche Bahn AG, so it was close­ly linked to local pub­lic trans­port from the very beginning.

Despite these dif­fer­ences, build­ing bridges was straight­for­ward. One thing the employ­ees of both com­pa­nies shared even before the merg­er is their pas­sion for rethink­ing and redesign­ing mobil­i­ty. The belief in work­ing togeth­er to improve people’s qual­i­ty of life in cities is what dri­ves the new team. The coop­er­a­tion of the share­hold­ers cre­ates the ide­al con­di­tions to achieve this goal.

Day 1

The start­ing point for the new com­pa­ny was Day 1, when the teams met for the first time, after months of prepa­ra­tion and plan­ning, and had the chance to dis­cuss con­crete projects. Due to the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, Day 1 had to be held online. The par­tic­i­pant count on the video call shot up to 170, giv­ing an impres­sive illus­tra­tion of the size of the com­pa­ny and send­ing the sig­nal for the C‑level man­age­ment to present the next steps. In spite of the vir­tu­al for­mat, every­body could sense the shared ener­gy and will­ing­ness to make a dif­fer­ence together.

As the indi­vid­ual teams took deep dives into spe­cif­ic top­ics on the fol­low­ing days, we realised that we had already worked on many of the same issues before and even devel­oped com­ple­men­tary solu­tions. Look­ing at the respec­tive tech stacks, the poten­tial aris­ing from the com­bi­na­tion of our know-how, tech­nol­o­gy and exist­ing fea­tures was clear­ly evident.

Now, 100 days after the merg­er, we have made sig­nif­i­cant strides for­ward: we have devel­oped a strat­e­gy for the new com­pa­ny, built pow­er­ful teams and laid the foun­da­tions for the tech­nol­o­gy plat­form that will enable us to devel­op the best offers for munic­i­pal­i­ties, trans­port asso­ci­a­tions and com­pa­nies when it comes to MaaS solutions.

Continuity & progress

Our jour­ney is far from over. As we move for­ward as a com­bined com­pa­ny, we face the chal­lenge of mar­ry­ing our past achieve­ments with the tasks that lie ahead. One of the basic require­ments for Mobimeo’s future suc­cess is to reli­ably con­tin­ue exist­ing part­ner­ships and con­tracts. By stan­dar­d­is­ing our joint plat­form, we are lay­ing the foun­da­tions for future growth. At the same time, tech­ni­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties and user demands are chang­ing at a rapid pace. That means we will con­tin­u­ous­ly rein­vent our­selves in the future as we work with our part­ners to dri­ve inno­va­tions that offer opti­mal access to the lat­est mobil­i­ty options. With this in mind, we will con­tin­ue to devel­op our organ­i­sa­tion and adapt our process­es to the evolv­ing mar­ket­place. One thing’s for sure: we’re in for a thrilling ride!