A new app has been launched to interlink all modes of transport in the Highlands & Islands, making it easier for locals and visitors alike to get around by having all the information they need in one place.
GO-HI was launched this week by regional transport partnership HITRANS and offers end-to-end “multi-modal” travel planning that links buses, trains, taxis, car hire, car clubs, bike hire, air travel and ferries.
Known in transport circles as MaaS (mobility as a service), this approach 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.
Funded by the EU North Sea Region Stronger Combined project and the Scottish Government’s MaaS Investment Fund, GO-HI is part of a programme to test the concept of MaaS in Scotland. While several MaaS concepts are well established in European cities, the idea is still in its infancy in rural settings.
Holyrood’s new transport minister Graeme Dey said: “I’m excited to see how GO-HI transforms the travel experience for residents and visitors to the Highlands and Islands.”
During the year-long ramp-up phase, the app’s developers Fleetondemand gathered a “significant amount of data from a wide range of transport users” before the app went live on 21 June. That information flow is set to increase as users get to grips with it over the coming weeks and months.
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,” adding: “These improvements should give people the confidence to use public transport and reduce the feeling of isolation among those without access to a car.”
According to a HITRANS statement, 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.
Highland Councillor Allan Henderson chairs HITRANS. He said: “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.”
Photo credit: Mobilleo