Partner in the Spotlight - AustriaTech

Shift2MaaS counts 13 partners, who all have a different role in the project. To get to know our partners, we have asked them about their role in Shift2MaaS, their interest into Shift2Rail IP4 technologies, and their commitment to enabling seamless passenger experience.
Next one up is AustriaTech, a consultative agency and 100% subsidiary of the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology. We spoke to Alexander Hausmann, Project Manager.

Can you explain what the exact role is of AustriaTech in the Shift2MaaS project?
AustriaTech is a 100% subsidiary of the Austrian Ministry for Climate Action and as such sits right at the interface between technology, strategy and policy. We are involved in the evaluation of the IP4 technologies demonstrated in the project, but also have a look at the interplay between the Shift2MaaS solutions and European regulations and legislation. Contrary – or maybe complementary is the more appropriate term – to the vast field of railway operators that are involved in Shift2Rail in general and in Shift2MaaS in particular, we do not operate any systems yet still have profound experience in the field of multimodal traveller information services from our position as a mobility agency. Therefore AustriaTech can contribute input from alternative viewpoints, making the overall solution of Shift2Maas a more comprehensive one.

Shift2MaaS demonstrates the benefits of IP4 technologies for the uptake of MaaS platforms – how does AustriaTech view the importance of these IP4 technologies for shared mobility services in Europe?
With all the social and environmental challenges looming large, I think it is out of question that mobility takes a crucial part in tackling them while at the same time offering targeted and flexible services to the people. Origin and destination of a journey do not necessarily lie within geographical or institutional borders and neither should the information services. It is about time that traveller information not only supports users on their trips with shared and flexible solutions, but enriches the journey with possible ancillary information and displays unexpected alternatives.

From your perspective, what could boost the deployment of S2R IP4 technologies at European scale?
Successful projects serve as incubators where the manifold aspects of new technologies can be developed, tested, refined and matured, making use of an experimental environment that is yet closely connected to live operation. Current efforts all over Europe already show extensive involvement of operators and service providers, which indicates that the first and most important step has already been taken. Deployment will best be boosted when the deploying parties see potential benefits in innovative solutions and work self-motivated to achieve them, which is exactly what happens throughout the Shift2Rail environment. These benefits of course include increased user satisfaction and a more beneficial modal split, but also comprise improved management processes and better knowledge of operators about their users. The structured approaches and profound documentation also ensure that the results can be used for future collaboration and upscaling. In combination with the use of standards, such as the technical specification on Open Journey Planning recommended for use among others by the EC Delegated Regulation on multimodal travel information services, the converging of services is supported all along the value chain. Here we also see our responsibility and motivation in the project for sound evaluation in order to make these benefits tangible.

Can you tell us a bit more about other (EU) initiatives AustriaTech is involved in and how they relate to Shift2MaaS?

AustriaTech has quite a track record in projects dealing with innovative traveller information services. An important initiative was the project EDITS (2012-2014) which really took a step forward in cross-border traveller information services and consistent levels of content and quality. The concept of linking services was then further elaborated in LinkingDanube and follow-up projects like LinkingAlps and OJP4Danube. Standards were always in the focus of these initiatives as is the case also especially in DATA4PT, which deals with the deployment of Transmodel, NeTEx and SIRI as well as with data validation and testing platforms. In this position, we are very happy to contribute our share to all these initiatives and contribute to the deployment of innovative mobility solutions in an overall European context.