Hi Jaspal! You are an entrepreneur passionate about mobility, connected cars and technology. Can you tell us a bit about your background?
As you mention, I am passionate about the mobility and technology sector. I am fortunate to have a 360-degree view of the sector as I have worked with the government, operator, startups, and consulting firms. I have also worked with some of the leading mobility companies in the past, including Uber, First Transit, Serco, RATP, etc.
Currently, I am working at the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) and I am responsible for IT & Innovation, Digital Transformation, and startups initiative. Also, I am building a Mobility Innovation Lab (MIL) to promote technology and innovation in the public transportation and mobility sector.
You are now the Co-Founder of Mobility Innovators Lab, a global platform to bridge the gap between the users of technology (Cities and Corporates), innovators of technology (Startups), and growth enablers (Venture Capital firms). How did the idea of creating these companies come up?
I am quite active in the startup ecosystem. Being a founder myself and later my tenure at Uber, I saw the challenges faced by startups in the mobility and transportation space. It is a very policy-driven space. In 2019, I conducted a survey of leading public transport operators, industry players, and startups around the world. I realized that there is a big gap. The cities are looking for new ideas and innovations. On the other hand, startups face the challenge of access to capital and access to clients. I realized that there is a need to build a community and bring different stakeholders together as you mentioned innovators, users, and growth enablers. This is what our mission is to foster innovation in the mobility space.
What do you think about transport data? Would it be free and open for every mobility stakeholder?
Transport data can mean different things to different people. Just to simplify, I would say that transport data is understanding how people move from point A to B and their travel behavior. We are living in a dynamic world, and it is hard to make any decision without understanding the data.
Yes, I am a big advocate of open data systems. UITP has published many studies on the same, highlighting the benefits of an open data policy. The role of cities should be to provide the data in an open and transparent way, by hiding sensitive information. Many cities around the world are sharing transport data, which allows developers & partners to freely use their own software and services that will help improve customer experience.
Many cities have already adopted an open data policy. However, there is more that needs to be done. The cities should build a platform to encourage data sharing from the private sector too. The key goal is to ensure that customers should get reliable information in real-time.
What do you believe is the key for users to change their mobility habits and start taking advantage of the more connected and sustainable mobility offered by MaaS?
As I have worked with Uber in the past, which is credited with starting the “on-demand economy”, I can say one thing: changing behavior is not easy. The most important things for the customers are reliability and ease of use. The users are looking for the fastest and most comfortable way to travel from point A to B.
If the MaaS application can provide the fastest and most convenient ride options, the users will shift to it. They are looking for a sophisticated app with complex features. At the end of the way, the users are looking to complete their journeys and the MaaS application should help to simplify that process. This is what Google did, by providing access to reliable information.
If you had to describe the mobility of the future in three words, what would they be?
Shared, connected, and autonomous.
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