UK tech company Zipabout and Malaysian mobility-as-a-service platform company Asia Mobiliti have announced a government-backed collaboration to improve access to transport for millions of people in Kuala Lumpur.
The official signing ceremony of the Collaboration Agreement took place at the British High Commission in the Malaysian capital, hosted by British High Commissioner to Malaysia, His Excellency Charles Hay MVO, and attended by guests from the Department for Business and Trade and Capital A(formerly known as Air Asia).
The technology collaboration will provide passengers using the complex public transport networks in the Klang Valley region with more accurate, real-time journey information, including personalised updates on disruption. It aims to help residents travel seamlessly using different public transport modes across the region and reduce private car use. Behavioural insights generated by the project will allow Malaysian transport operators to re-route existing services and create new routes to improve access to sustainable transport, particularly amongst underserved population groups.
His Excellency Charles Hay MVO, British High Commissioner to Malaysia said:
“I’m delighted to host the signing of this exciting agreement between Zipabout and Asia Mobiliti, during Zipabout’s participation in the Midlands Sustainable Cities trade mission, organised by the Department for Business and Trade in partnership with WIPPD. I was particularly encouraged to hear that the parties had initially met via the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office-backed Newton-Ungku Omar Fund.
“I very much look forward to learning more about the results of the trial in due course. The UK and Malaysia have a lot to offer each other especially in the smart cities sector. We want to facilitate more win-win partnerships like this.”
The service will commence later this year with a six-month trial of a multimodal journey planner, powered by Asia Mobiliti’s mobility-as-a-service (Maas) platform, combined with Zipabout’s real-time multimodal travel updates delivered directly to passengers through WhatsApp and Messenger. Sophisticated data technology from Zipabout will generate real-time and predictive passenger intent and crowding data to identify areas of high transport demand but poor access.
Daniel Chick, CTO at Zipabout, said:
“We are very excited to be partnering with Asia Mobiliti on this project in Malaysia to improve and democratise social mobility in such a densely populated urban region. It builds on the work we are already doing in the UK with local authorities such as Oxfordshire County Council to support their strategic transport challenges, optimise networks and incentivise sustainable behavioural change.
“It’s great to be helping to improve public transport in Kuala Lumpur, one of Asia’s largest cities. Our work here with Asia Mobiliti will map demand, improve the flow of real-time information and give public transport passengers easier access to a sustainable, efficient and accessible alternative to getting in the car.”
Ramachandran Muniandy, CEO & Co-founder of AsiaMobiliti, said:
"We share Zipabout's goal to incentivise sustainable behavioural change through the use of our real-time journey planner that will help commuters easily visualise their entire multimodal journey, thereby promoting public transport use.
"Partnering with Zipabout will bring personalised updates and notifications for trip delays, service interruptions and cancellations, all of which are critical features that public transport users in Malaysia demand today. The success story of this joint UK-Malaysia funding programme via the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund will go a long way to serve as a roadmap for Asia Mobiliti to bring this solution to the rest of Southeast Asia."
The project, supported by the University of Birmingham, was awarded the Newton Ungku Omar Fund Grand Challenge 2019. Initial scoping for the project was carried out in 2019 but further work was delayed by the Covid pandemic until 2023.
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