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IMPART Workshop Event – Mobility as a Service – Designing with Users at the Centre of the Proposition

IMPART Workshop Event – Mobility as a Service – Designing with Users at the Centre of the Proposition

IMPART Workshop Event – Mobility as a Service – Designing with Users at the Centre of the Proposition


This article was written by James Thomson, one of our National Youth Team co-designers, who presented at this event with a fellow co-designer, Shannon Goundry, and the Pick&Mix project manager.


31st January 2017

We had a great couple of days representing the Pick and Mix project at the IMPART conference in Loughborough.  Our project, led by ESP Group, aims to revolutionise the way young people travel across Scotland by creating an innovative Mobility as a Service (MaaS) application enabling seamless travel across the country.

The conference was led by IMPART (Intelligent Mobility Partnership) and showcased the work of companies and organisations currently involved in the delivery of Mobility as a Service applications.  Delegates from across Britain gave presentations about their work and proposed their ideas for the future.  Pick and Mix added a unique contribution, as we were the only delegates who had been directly involved in the grassroots planning processes for our project.  Other participants on the day – many directors of the companies they represent – were interested to hear about the work of Young Scot, the National Youth Team and the journey this co-designed venture has taken so far.

Attending the conference was not just about singing our own praises!  It was a great opportunity to find out about what other organisations are doing and how they are trying to incorporate the MaaS concept into what they do.  We started in October last year and will soon be at the stage where we can develop and design the interface of our final product.  There is a long way to go, but soon enough our user-centred technology will be accessible to all young people living in Scotland.

Focus on Focus Groups

Focus on Focus Groups

Themes into features

Through diligent research and lively debate, the National Youth Team has identified a set of key themes to consider when building the mobility platform. These themes include information, safety, ownership, trust, and fun. The next problem for the project team and the National Youth Team to solve is: how do these themes translate into useful features of a potential Pick&Mix platform?

With this in mind, the project team have recently held four focus groups, with 6-10 participants in each, to discuss the key themes with young adults (ages 16-25): one with University students in Edinburgh, one with young professionals in Glasgow, one with Call Centre staff in Arbroath (as an example of a small-medium sized town) and one with a rural high school in Angus. The focus groups tested potential features of the emerging mobility platform, discussing the functionality of different features and ranking their relative importance in order.

Differences and commonality between focus groups                                                                                                     

Of all the themes identified by the National Youth Team, the number one priority identified across focus groups was basic travel information: accurate and easy to access prices, times and updates across multiple modes. Additional lifestyle features around themes such as safety and fun were valued but viewed as ‘nice to have’ extras.

Of the ‘nice to haves’, a feature which appealed to all groups was the ‘guaranteed ride home’ e.g. a taxi ride if you miss the last bus home. However, some priorities differed between the four cohorts that we spoke to during focus groups.

The University students in Edinburgh were enthused by features which would allow them to personalise their mobility service, such as the ability to continually change their subscription or by personalising journey searches.

Conversely, the young professionals in Glasgow valued efficiency above all else; getting information, and getting to their destination, quickly.

The groups in Arbroath and Angus felt more constrained by their transport options, and so were excited by the opportunities that Pick&Mix could bring in their local area and when they travelled to cities. Particularly valued was access to bikes through bike share or hire schemes.

Will Pick&Mix be desirable?

Towards the end of each focus group, participants were asked: would you be interested in using a new mobility platform which addresses these key issues? The answer was an overwhelming yes! Most could see how the service could simplify their transport needs BUT only if the platform works well. Whilst the service resulting from the Pick&Mix project aims to go beyond just providing transport information, by integrating into wider lifestyle needs, we must ensure that the core service: providing up to date, integrated, basic information, is of high quality. No matter how attractive other features of a mobility platform are, this will be a determining factor of whether the service is used in the first place.

How Young People Around the World Travel

How Young People Around the World Travel

Trains, planes, automobiles and much more… there’s loads of ways to travel! And whilst cycling might suit one persons’ journey, another person might have to rely on a car to get around. It can all depend on the distance they are travelling, the cost, where they are going and how good the local public transport is. Walking is the most popular way to travel for Scottish students – at school, college and university. After that it’s catching a lift in a car, going by bus and cycling. But how do other young people travel around the world?


The subway is the most popular way to get around in Tokyo. Young Japanese students and workers are a significant part of the eight million people who use the metro every single day. Shinjuku Station, in particular, has over 3.6 million daily passengers making it the busiest in the world. We’ll never complain about having to stand on the bus again!


Train is the most popular way of getting around in India. The rail network is the fourth longest, and most heavily used by the country’s 1.3 billion people, in the world. Eager to avoid the commuting chaos, most Indians prefer to walk, cycle or use traditional tuk-tuks.


Nomads spend their entire life travelling. There are communities all over the world who never settle in one place permanently. Lots of children in these communities learn a mix of academic and traditional skills on the move which they continue to use into their adult lives.


In Scotland, most of the travelling we do is to get to work or school, visit friends or to have fun. But in many countries, people need to travel just to survive. Nearly one billion people need to travel to access clean water. In Sub-Saharan Africa, women and children travel on average six kilometres every day to collect fresh water. The more time spent travelling for essentials like water means less time spent at school or working.

Most of us are lucky enough to live relatively close to our schools, places of study and work. But for some remote communities around the world, travelling every day involves an obstacle course of rivers…




….and mountains.

The Pick&Mix Project will help all people make all types of trips from getting to school or uni, through to making their first commute. Tell us about your opinions and experiences of travel.

Supporting Rural Equality for Scottish Young People

Supporting Rural Equality for Scottish Young People

Rural accessibility is a key issue identified by Pick&Mix’s ‘National Youth Team’ – a group of 16-25 year olds shaping the new mobility service being designed and delivered within the project. When asked about their ambitions for the project, responses included “I want rural communities to be better represented and more accessible for young people” and we need a “better overall way of accessing transportation for both urban and rural settings”.

Around 25% of 16-25 year olds in Scotland are are living in non-urban environments [1]. At the same time there are rising expectation for high school leavers to continue into higher education, seek employment or undergo further training. With social inclusion and the need to ensure equal opportunities for all, high up on the Scottish agenda the importance of delivering accessible transport services across the country has never been greater. However, there is often a difficulty in providing good rural transport options when demand for such services will naturally be lower than for urban services. One of the key inequalities for many young people living in Scotland’s rural areas is reduced connectivity to the transport network. This hinders access to the resources and opportunities that many others take for granted. Young people, for instance, rate commuting as one of the main ‘red flags’ when looking at potential employers or further education opportunities[2].

In some cases, the perception amongst rural young people is that owning a car is the only viable means of transport in their local area. However, with the mounting pressure to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality we must encourage young people to think differently about how they travel and offer them realistic alternative solutions which support access to similar opportunities presented to their peers living in better connected areas. Pick&Mix’s National Youth Team (NYT) will co-design a mobility service which aims to do just this. Co-designing helps the project to foster creativity and develops its capabilities to innovate. The NYT includes a broad range of young people from across Scotland in order to draw in a wide range of insights and deeper understanding of user needs. This will enable the generation of better ideas to deliver more valuable innovation to address the difficulties identified by the both rural and urban young people.

Pick&Mix is still at an early phase, with the NYT’s service recommendations due in the next 6 weeks. As such, we do not yet know exactly what the service will include. However, from the early feedback from the NYT we may expect requirements for: resources which help individuals to choose the best services available to them based on their preferences; easier ticketing and payment; and tools to help in emergency situations . In the longer-term, we hope to see changing attitudes to car ownership; better use of public transport; and reduced inequalities for rural young people.

[1] Including Accessible Small Towns, Remote Small Towns, Accessible Rural and Remote Rural classifications. Source: National Records of Scotland – Population estimates for 6-fold Urban Rural classification, 2002-2014 [Accessed 11/11/2016 at]

[2] The intergenerational foundation – No Entry! Transport Barriers facing Young People; 28 May 2013 [Accessed 10/11/2016]

First sessions of National Youth Team

First sessions of National Youth Team

Wednesday the 19th October saw the completion of the second round of the National Youth Team recruitment held in Glasgow. The other half of the NYT met at the end of September in Edinburgh.

The teams were exploring effective transport options and creating journey stories to help explore the topic of young people and transport in Scotland. The next session will be all about planning their market research activities to dig deeper into the problems and challenges that young people in Scotland experience with transport.

Keep up to date with their progress by searching #gopickandmix

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What is Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and why are Young People the most likely adopters?

What is Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and why are Young People the most likely adopters?

‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS) is a new model for mobility and transport delivery. When anything is sold ‘as a service’ it means that people are paying for use of or access to something or a group of things instead of owning them.  In the instance of MaaS, users can purchase mobility and transport services based on their actual needs, instead of buying the means of mobility (i.e. a car, a bike, tickets). This ‘service’ would be facilitated by a central service provider whose role it is to meet all of the mobility needs of that individual or group of individuals, such as a household.

The many individual transport services such as bus, train, car share and bike share facilities will still exist, but it is imagined that a new, centralised service provider will act as a broker between the individual and these transport/mobility service providers. As such, this central service provider would be able to create a ‘package’ of mobility for individuals or households that best suits their needs and their actual usage of transport. These packages could be similar to mobile phone contracts where instead of paying a monthly allowance to access a bundle of messages, phone calls and data, we would pay to access a bundle of modes and transport services.

A MaaS approach to transport provision can create significant benefits for a user by simplifying how people can access the best modes for each trip they make. For example, helping a user to assess their travel options in terms of the factors important to them, allowing them to book and pay for multiple modes in one transaction and enabling them to give and receive feedback after they have travelled. And, most importantly, they can do all of those things on one platform.

The Pick&Mix project uses the concepts and model of MaaS with the aim of making transport easier for young people. The outcome of the project will be a service co-designed by young people, for young people. We already know that young people are generally more pragmatic about their travel choices and that they are more likely to be multi-modal travellers. Even with journeys they undertake regularly, they tend to be less habitual than other demographic groups; varying mode choice to suit their immediate requirements. This ability and attitude has been bolstered and enabled by the fact that 90% of 16-24 year olds own a smartphone. Young people also have a higher willingness to try different modes of travel and are more likely to embrace emerging travel services such as car sharing or bike sharing schemes. Furthermore, young people are at the forefront of the emerging trends of ‘the sharing economy’ and are increasingly happy to pay for access to things rather than owning them outright. Through a MaaS approach, the Pick&Mix project can embrace these attitudes and trends, while also tackling other fundamental transport challenges which face young people today.

We have already begun gathering the views of young people as part of our research process through a national survey hosted on the Young Scot rewards platform.