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TravelSpirit and ODI Leeds team up for smart cities and mobility as a service

TravelSpirit Hackout laying down the gauntlet to the global commons, hack community and global co-operative movements to deliver 'Mobility as a Service' at scale!

To the backdrop of Brexit, Trump vs Civilisation, the Brazilian Meltdown, Zika and Russia's Doping Scandal another war is raging in full sight. It is one between the Digital guys and the Transport guys. Back in 2015, the CEO of Nokia proclaimed a 'Digital Tsunami is hitting Transport'. You probably know what he is talking about. Think Uber, Lyft & Didi (ride-hailing), Blablacar & Waze (ride-sharing), ZipCar & Drivenow (car sharing), Motivate, Nextbike (bike sharing) and finally Bridj, Chariot & Via (microtransit).

But it's not just the Venture Capitalists that are throwing their weight about. Social enterprises are making a mark with the support of equity crowd-funding, often supported by the emerging Internet of Things. Donkey Republic (peer to peer bike-share) have launched in Copenhagen and HiyaCar (peer to peer car-share) have launched in London.

ODI Leeds have therefore decided to join TravelSpirit's 'call-to-arms' to disrupt the VC-backed disruptive model; and create something that can feed an entire ecosystem of businesses and services, while providing customers and communities an open platform for organizing their mobility requirements, as well as enabling cities to implement sustainable and equitable transport policies. is set out to become a creative fusion of disparate open source community projects into a global architecture and commons of OSI approved licensed code. Housed by Public Software CIC, we intend to help TravelSpirit grow from a European base (where the market for Mobility as a Service is currently the strongest), with the support of a worldwide coding community. Any new code projects incubated through the TravelSpirit community will be licenced under MPLV2.

The TravelSpirit ambition is to deploy the code at scale, in combination with a range of enabling Internet of Things hardware and connectivity, to create a new co-operative platform that will provide the public a 'lifestyle and community enabler' called 'Mobility as a Service'.

In their recent publication, the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) conclude that "the rise of 'new mobility services' is part of a mobility evolution, a bigger and long term gradual evolution of transportation preferences, towards on-demand shared mobility and a multimodal system that is less car-centric."

That might be true for the US transport market, but it is certainly not true of South America, Africa, Europe, India or China, where sharing and co-operation remains deeply ingrained in our cultures. And combine that with the entrepreneurial nature of the US digital sector, combined with the social-conscience and canniness of its open-source communities, you've got the recipe for a worldwide revolution, singing to a collective tune of community empowerment, putting the individual in control of their own data, and delivering a sustainable and equitable transport system for all.

So, what is 'Mobility as a Service' (MaaS)? Well, if we don't get involved, there is a danger that a corporation might define it, and stamp on the world. Join us now, to define this from the grass-roots up. Join TravelSpirit's 'runway of events', which starts at our event in Hebden Bridge on the 6th September {#OpenSmartCitiesPlaces16 @ Wuthering Bytes} leading to a new format 'Hackout' at University College London over the weekend of the 28th October.