Launch of pioneering GO-HI transport accessibility app
The Highlands and Islands are leading the way in Scotland with the launch of a ground-breaking new app which will make it easier for residents, tourists and business travellers to access the information they need to make greater use of public transport and car sharing and to decide when cycling is an option.
HITRANS, the regional transport partnership, has developed the bespoke GO-HI branded app in partnership with a leading technology firm, to provide instant access to information on buses, trains, taxis, car hire, car clubs, bicycle hire, air travel 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.
GO-HI is powered by Fleetondemand’s Mobilleo Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform, which has been built with the capacity to deploy partner MaaS schemes using its powerful white label capabilities.
It is being funded by the EU North Sea Region Stronger Combined project and the Scottish Government’s MaaS Investment Fund. The MaaS Investment Fund has been established to test the concept of MaaS in Scotland, and aims to deliver on the Scottish Government’s aspirations of lowering carbon emissions, improving health, and growing digital and innovation within Scotland by developing digital solutions to encourage and enable modal shift to public transport and active travel alternatives.
Minister for Transport, Graeme Dey said: “The Scottish Government sees great potential in the future of Mobility as a Service and a real opportunity for Scotland to be at the forefront of developments. That’s why in 2018, our Programme for Government committed to establish the MaaS Investment Fund.
“Much has changed since 2018, but as we think about the urgent need for a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential of MaaS solutions in Scottish transport is perhaps more important than ever before. MaaS applications can directly support our vision for a more sustainable transport system as outlined in our National Transport Strategy, in addition to the bold commitments we’ve made through our updated Climate Change Plan.
“By creating new partnerships between the public and private sectors to focus on collaborative solutions to complex transport problems, I’m excited to see how Go-Hi transforms the travel experience for residents and visitors to the Highlands and Islands.”
Cllr Allan Henderson, Chair of HITRANS and Highland Council's Communities and Place Committee, said: “This pioneering project provides a one stop shop for all travel needs, combining a journey planner with real-time travel information, tickets and payment options, allowing integration of bus, rail, flight, bike, car club, demand responsive transport (DRT), car rental and taxi operators across the Highlands..
“It is an ambitious region-wide solution that has the potential to make a significant contribution to improve accessibility for residents and visitors. It also addresses Government ambitions to reduce carbon emissions by encouraging a modal shift from sole occupancy cars to shared cars and public transport alternatives. It will also help to create healthier lifestyles by improving the sustainable travel choices people can make in the region including active travel opportunities.”
Since the project began nearly a year ago, a significant amount of data from a wide range of transport users has been gathered to enable GO-HI to go live and in the coming weeks and months much more information will be added.
The HITRANS project engages the underlying Mobilleo platform with several new transport partners, as well as those existing on the platform today. Project partners include Enterprise Car Club and Car Hire, Bewegen, Brompton Bike Hire, Stagecoach Bus, West Coast Motors, Inverness Taxis, ScotRail, Loganair, Shotl, Skedgo, Orkney Ferries and Northlink Ferries.
Ross Basnett, Strategic Account Director at Fleetondemand, said: “We’ve been working closely with HITRANS to tailor a solution that addresses the mobility challenges faced by residents and tourists in one of Scotland’s most rural and sparsely populated areas. The GO-HI app brings together the various transport services in the area, allowing easier access to travel information, more reliable journey planning, in-app ticketing and a hassle-free payment system. These improvements should give people the confidence to use public transport and reduce the feeling of isolation among those without access to a car.”
Oz Choudhri, Head of MaaS at Enterprise, added: “We are delighted to be the preferred supplier of car hire and car club services for this exciting project. We have located 12 car club vehicles across seven locations as well as our three Rent-a-Car branches in the region to enable people to easily switch between different modes of transport. Enterprise is committed to making access to shared transport easier by working with other providers. The GO-HI project offers a blueprint for other regions and demonstrates how shared mobility can benefit rural as well as urban communities.”
This project will support 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.”
Fleetondemand is also providing dedicated customer support alongside the GO-HI app, digital marketing communications to engage with end users and a data platform that offers instant access to detailed management reporting information.
The participating transport providers will be able to access data about the demand for their services, helping them to better understand the needs of people in the 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.