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Accelerators and proposals for action for the Italian Way to Connected Mobility

In the previous article – “The new mobility paradigm: a development model and some elements behind the pilot projects” – emphasis was given to the four objectives underlying a new customer centric mobility model, namely:

  • building transparency, interoperability and trust among stakeholders;
  • evolution of the business model of the actors involved towards open models in which co-opetitive logics allow for the creation of greater value precisely from openness;
  • creation of value for the community through the contribution that connected mobility can make to the smart city and, in particular, to the promotion of Vision Zero already mentioned several times in previous articles;
  • creation of an innovation ecosystem, which exploits the potential of data to open up the industry to Open innovation logics. In the same way as in the financial sector, with the so-called ‘fintech’ phenomenon, a ‘mobilitytech’ ecosystem could be created in the field of mobility.

This customer-centric vision has been identified by OCTO and The European House – Ambrosetti as the fulcrum around which to build the Italian way to connected mobility, which will have to be implemented through various pilot projects according to an ecosystem approach, in which institutions and mobility players must work together according to the logic of co-opetition and co-creation of services and experiences, through the enabling made possible by data.

This article will explore the five barriers identified as potential impediments to the realisation of this vision and propose targeted solutions, drawing on the case studies explored during the initiative.

  1. The first of these hindering factors concerns the heterogeneity of approaches in the creation of Mobility Data Spaces (MDS) in public transport. As repeatedly stated in previous articles, data only have value for mobility if they can be made available to the different actors in the market in order to realise the three characteristics of a platform model:
    • Free: these are mainly free templates for the user.
    • Perfect: allow you to work towards the highest possible system efficiency.
    • Instant: they are able to send and receive information constantly to/from all users, being continuously updated.

This aim is challenged by the continuous proliferation of different data exchange procedures at the level of individual public transport operators without a single national standard and the lack of territorial coverage that brings together the different local realities, which in a country like Italy, characterised by the presence of urban centres spread throughout the territory, is even more relevant.

Also at European level, the need has emerged to create communication standards that allow different local mobility actors to interact with each other: EU countries have decided to create a set of regulations aimed at defining National Access Points (NAPs) with the objective of standardising the different standards across all EU countries. Through the deployment of NAPs and uniform standards, it will be possible for third party actors to access, exchange and re-use transport data to help support the provision of interoperable travel and traffic services across the EU.

At national level, it is proposed to set up a working table coordinated by the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility to speed up the creation of Mobility Data Spaces with single national standards and interoperability criteria (integrated with European ones) for the exchange of public transport data, avoiding the proliferation of local level approaches. The definition of these standards should also be such as to facilitate the involvement in the data space of private actors who intend to propose market-based mobility solutions complementary to the public service. The data should also be made available to market players in different forms of APIs.

  1. The second obstacle is the difficulty in involving private actors in the Mobility Data Space in order to create complementarity between the different forms of transport and enable the creation of innovative services. This hindering factor is strongly rooted in different areas of the Italian economy, where there is often a lack of collaboration between private actors, and is considered one of the main brakes on the competitiveness of our country; the main points that substantiate the reluctance towards collaboration are:
    • Lack of vision with respect to achievable benefits and low tangibility of return on investment.
    • Lack of skills and infrastructure necessary for the development of Open Data models..
    • Regulatory uncertainty due to the Data Management Regulation (GDPR).

In this sense, GAIA-X is an example of a private company-led initiative to create a shared data infrastructure for federated services at EU level, which can be borrowed at national level. With GAIA-X, representatives from business, research and politics at European level have created a proposal for the development of the next generation of a European data infrastructure: a secure, federated system that meets the highest standards of digital sovereignty, while promoting innovation. This project is the cradle of an open and transparent digital ecosystem, where data and services can be made available, collected and shared in an environment of trust.

A possible solution for Italy lies in encouraging the confederation of the main private actors of Italian mobility for the creation of federated service ecosystems on the Gaia-X model, also by means of appropriate regulatory incentives for the adhering companies, such as, for example, reductions and incentives on the necessary investments and requirements within the agreements with the Local Administrations.

  1. The third hostile factor relates to the difficulty in establishing collaborations between public and private actors for the sharing and use of data for smart city needs. Public-private partnerships are fundamental to allow public administrations to achieve the goals outlined by a vision zero: due to the competitive structure of the market, in fact, the PA is not able to act on all the levers necessary to achieve this goal, but must also be able to coordinate with private players operating in the mobility sector.

The possibility of collaboration between private actors and public administrations, as mentioned several times in the Working Tables organised by The European House – Ambrosetti and OCTO, is the basis for creating favourable conditions for experimentation.

The lack of dedicated structures in public offices and the lack of regulatory clarity with regard to the ability to give sight to partnerships based on the exchange and use of data is one of the main problems within public administration.

A possible solution is to create a round table between public and private actors to start the co-design of collaboration models, containing operational, technical and legal provisions, easily implementable by Local Public Administrations. These models of collaboration should foresee standard schemes in which it is clear, both under the aspects of procurement regulations and data protection, which is the perimeter within which private actors and Public Administration can move. These schemes could provide for an authentic interpretation by the Parliament with respect to the procurement code and an opinion by the Data Protection Authority on the applicability of the proposed new schemes.

  1. The fourth obstacle is the regulatory backwardness of the Highway Code, which clashes with the need to encourage the spread of new forms of mobility. In this case the problem lies in the slowness of the regulator to adapt to changes resulting from technological progress, which often prevent the adoption of innovative solutions capable of improving the competitiveness of the players involved in a market and increasing the satisfaction of the end users. One example is the difficulty in regulating new forms of mobility, such as rental, sharing and micro-mobility, which are currently completely absent from the Code.

Among the solutions identified is the possibility of providing for a regulation in the Highway Code dedicated to the renting and sharing of different forms of vehicles that takes into account the growing importance of these models of vehicle use and the provision for experimenting with new mobility solutions for the development of further shared mobility models.

  1. The fifth and final hindering factor concerns the need to update insurance regulations (Highway Code and Insurance Code) in order to associate new insurance formulas with new forms of mobility (e.g. user insurance instead of vehicle insurance).

The spread of new ways of using mobility, in particular connected and sharing, has highlighted the possibility of developing new insurance models that take into account factors that could not previously be recorded, such as the driving style of the insured, on the one hand, and data relating to the vehicle used, such as its state of wear and tear, on the other.

In order to make the role of insurance more innovative and up-to-date, it is possible to envisage within the framework of the Highway Code and the Insurance Code the possibility of experimenting with new forms of insurance dedicated to different forms of mobility using user data.

In conclusion, in order to realise the vision of an Italian way to connected mobility, as advocated by OCTO and The European House-Ambrosetti, urgent action is needed to ensure that these five hostile factors are transformed into enabling factors that promote the development of a fertile Italian ecosystem for the experimentation of new projects, exploiting the value of data and the tools made available by new technologies, to make available increasingly customer-centric mobility solutions at the service of the smart city concept.

The next article will go into the concrete realisation of the outlined vision and present a series of pilot projects with practical applications of value creation through data, in which OCTO can position itself as an enabler at the heart of the development of the connected mobility ecosystem according to a co-creation logic together with key stakeholders in the sector.


Alessandro Viviani : Senior Consultant – Innotech Hub
Corrado Panzeri : Associate Partner – Head of InnoTech Hub
The European House – Ambrosetti

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