The Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) is one of seven Regional Transport Partnerships in Scotland which were established through the 2005 Transport (Scotland) Act.
HITRANS works with Councils, the Scottish Government, Transport Scotland, HIE, transport operators and other stakeholders to improve transport services and infrastructure in the north of Scotland and on routes to the Highlands and Islands.
The areas covered by the partnership include Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Orkney, Highland, Moray and most of the Argyll and Bute area (Helensburgh and Lomond is covered by SPT).
In 2019, a three year, £2million, investment fund was awarded via The Scottish Government to HITRANS to undertake a pilot project that supports the testing and viability of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) within the HITRANS operating region of the Highlands and Islands.
The HITRANS region is home to 10 percent of Scotland’s population and accounts for approximately 50% of the country’s overall land mass. This large and diverse area includes long, remote coastlines, mountainous areas and many inhabited islands that present numerous public transport challenges.
The key network related challenges include the complexity of travel options, high car ownership, low public transport use by residents, and difficulties for visitors to use public transport for travel to and within the region.
HITRANS chose the Mobilleo platform to power their GO-HI rural MaaS project, which has been designed with the capacity to deploy partner MaaS schemes using its powerful white label capabilities. The bespoke GO-HI app has a regional, multi-modal journey planning system in real-time, with an account-based payment option available for all participating mobility options.
The app provides residents and visitors within the HITRANS region with instant access to book buses, trains, taxis, demand responsive transport (DRT), car clubs, air travel, car hire, bicycle hire and ferries.
This allows users to plan their journeys and find, book and pay for all modes of transport in one place using any iPhone or Android mobile device.
To aid with achieving project objectives around encouraging a modal shift to sustainable travel options, key modes such as walking and active travel have been included and prioritised within the GO-HI app.
Mobilleo is also providing dedicated customer support alongside the app, digital marketing communications to engage with end users and a data platform that offers instant access to detailed management reporting information. The GO-HI pilot project went live in June 2021.
The project also supports the delivery of Transport Scotland’s National Transport Strategy, which recognises the importance of embracing new technologies that are beneficial to society. The project will help Scotland to become an international leader in Smart Mobility by supporting digital innovation within Scotland and offering good practice in the application of MaaS for other similar regions.
The participating transport providers are able to access data about the demand for their services, helping them to better understand the needs of people in their region and to make more informed decisions about the provision of services. The post-project analysis will ultimately lead to a better public transport service for residents and visitors to the HITRANS region.