Shotl launches its most ambitious operation to date

Moray in the Scottish Highlands is a rural local authority with a very low population density. Reconciling mobility provision for inhabitants with keeping costs down has been an oncoming challenge for transport providers that is now finally being met.

The story began when Highland Transport Authority HITRANS decided to modernize and digitize their transport system to keep up with new trends being adopted elsewhere in the world. With this aim, the Scottish government commissioned Fleetondemand to develop a MaaS project and an application called Mobilleo for users to interact with transport in the region.

In addition, a specific application was developed for HITRANS called GO-HI. Similar to Mobilleo, the HITRANS app had to integrate all Highlands transport information, from bus schedules to carsharing and, of course, the new demand-responsive transportation (DRT) system Shotl developed for Moray council, which updates the previous analog DRT system, Dial M for Moray.

Covering over 2,100 km², Moray is divided into five smaller areas: Buckie, Elgin, Forres, Keith and Speyside. The latter covers 1,200 km² and is the location for Shotl's first DRT operations, with other areas to join over the following weeks. The objective is always to evolve the service towards a unified model and improved user experience.

The operation begins with five vehicles of a total of 14 expected once all areas are integrated, and is active all day Monday-Friday and reduced hours on Saturdays.

Door to Door: taking DRT to a new level

Two major technological developments have been implemented for this operation. First, Door-to-Door, a feature that allows passengers to be picked up right at their place of origin and dropped off right outside their destination, eliminating the trip to and from the bus stop. This type of service is ideal for people with reduced mobility (PRM) or, indeed, for any other operation where it could be useful. In urban and peri-urban environments, for practical, safety or regulatory reasons, a Corner-to-Corner system is more appropriate. However, Moray is a purely rural area with a widely distributed population. Therefore, this project fully justifies Door-to-Door and builds on Shotl’s success with rural projects like Stradella (Italy) and Alta Segarra (Spain).

A Fare Calculating System has also been developed. Once certain parameters are input, like origin, destination, type of passenger and/or possible discounts, the application gives the journey price. Payment is also fully integrated into the GO-HI app.

Moray's new DRT system represents one of Shotl’s largest deployments by area to date and takes place along with the joint launch of our technology in several European cities during spring 2021.

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