Motivation Behind the Pilot

According to the UN, 55% of the world’s population lived in urban areas in 2018 and is projected to increase to 70% by 2050. With increasing populations, cities around the world are looking for solutions to manage existing infrastructure demands. In addition, the way people like to move around is also evolving. They want a seamless, efficient, integrated multimodal transit and MaaS experience. While centralized platforms claim to offer the solution, they lack the interoperability needed to scale. At the same time, integration costs are high for providers, and retaining users’ and providers’ data privacy, along with fair business practices, is simply not possible.

To this end, MOBI created Citopia, a federated Web3 marketplace and tokenized ecosystem where mobility stakeholders can securely transact in a privacy preserving manner. By using Self-Sovereign Digital Twins and W3C Verifiable Credentials (VCs), Citopia enables seamless and secure connected mobility experience where users have control over their data. Read more about how Citopia works here.

The MaaS proposal was awarded by the Transit IDEA Program to begin in January 2022. The Transit IDEA Program is a part of the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), which is sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

What the Pilot Demonstrates

Citopia MaaS offers a secure, easy-to-navigate federated marketplace where users can plan/book multimodal trips with seamless itinerary, ticketing, and payment on Citopia with the blockchain-based Integrated Trust Network (ITN) as the trust anchor/DIDs registry for identity management. Users select their trip preferences to choose from different providers and travel routes that best suit their needs while retaining full control over who sees their data and how that data is used.

Citopia uses W3C Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs), and Zero Knowledge Proof technology to ensure that the SSDTs™ of travelers, transit agencies, vehicles, mobility service providers, and other connected entities in the ecosystem are compatible, can communicate, and can transact while preserving data privacy.

All transactions go through the SSDTs™ of the stakeholders by issuing VCs with embedded DIDs (digital signatures) for future verifications. Users’ personal (or organizational) data is always stored on the users’ device or server and cannot be shared without permission.

The demonstration will involve developing Citopia MaaS (marketplace) mobile app for users and web interface for service providers; integrating Citopia and ITN core services to enable the creation of decentralized, self-sovereign identities; coordinating communication of trip data between modal service providers; and creating MOBI Trusted Trip (MTT), VCs and other necessary VCs that enable seamless multimodal transit. The demonstration will use GTFS data and sovereign identities linked with timestamped locations to enable the issuance of MTT VCs.

The project advisory panel is made up of members of the following organizations: Atlanta-Region Transit Link Authority, Austin Capital Metropolitan Transit Authority, EZ Pass, Houston METRO, IBI Group, Oregon Department of Transportation, SEPTA, and USC Viterbi Center for Cyber-Physical Systems & IoT, State Road & Tollway Authority.

The goal is to create a product-market fit for real-world implementation once the pilot is successfully demonstrated.

The Innovation

  • Executing trip planning, booking, and payment transactions via W3C compliant VCs
  • Coupled with zero knowledge proofs, this technology enables greater/complete data privacy for end users and service providers
  • First implementation of Self-Sovereign Digital Twins (SSDTs) for all ecosystem stakeholders such as end users, providers (e.g. transit agencies, insurance, tolling, road usage charge), and vehicles
  • Mapping of Citopia technical and W3C Universal Wallet capabilities for ecosystem SSDTs to enable business automation on Citopia and interoperability with others also using W3C DID standard
  • Blockchain is not yet mature enough for many enterprise applications and sensitive data should not be stored on chains. This pilot demonstrates a novel enterprise use case of blockchain by using the blockchain-based ITN to register DIDs for the participants/stakeholders in an ecosystem in a secure, decentralized, and privacy preserving manner. DIDs do not contain/store any personally (or organizational) identifiable information (PII)
  • First project to write core libraries in the UI software framework React-Native to enable functionalities of MaaS/Multimodal transit applications. In a larger context, this will enable portability of applications across platforms (such as iOS and Android apps, servers, and standard browser implementations) without having to do adjustments which, is a significant competitive advantage

An example of a multimodal commute using Citopia

Progress and Next Steps

Citopia MaaS project is currently in progress for completion by January 2023. The project team has been working with the advisory panel as part of the Transit IDEA award program to refine the project plan and deliverables.

The project started out with a kickoff meeting with the advisory panel where/in which the project timeline and scope were discussed/determined. This was followed by defining user journeys, stories, schemas, screen designs, product backlog, data needs, API integrations, and test cases to build the fully functional demo app. Citopia MaaS app and web interface development (frontend and backend) began in the first quarter and is currently in progress. Development is currently focused on deploying SSDTs and integrating ITN core services with the Citopia Marketplace as well as service provider onboarding (via APIs) to enable seamless multimodal trip planning.  

After the successful completion of the demo and submission of the final project report to the Transit IDEA Program, the project team will work on incorporating feedback to improve/iterate Citopia.

Appendix: Decentralized Identity Solutions

Decentralized Identity and/or Self Sovereign Identity (SSI) is a new cryptographic technology that enables entities to assert ownership of their identity, where the identity remains private and not disclosed during transactions in decentralized ecosystems.

Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) represent a globally unique identifier that can be resolved to a DID Document, much like a URL on the Internet.

A Verifiable Credential (VC) is a credential that attests to a specific piece of information about an entity. VCs may be created by any entity on Citopia to establish trust during transactions.

A Digital Twin is a digital representation of a real-world entity or system. The implementation of a digital twin is an encapsulated software object or model that mirrors a unique physical object, process, organization, person, or other abstraction. 

A Self-Sovereign Digital Twin™ (SSDT™) is a digital twin whose controller has the ability to participate as an autonomous economic agent in trusted Web3 transactions.

Citopia SSDT™ is a universal translator and encrypted locked data vault which is only accessible by the SSDT’s controller. The SSDT™ stores a combination of static and real-time data to log an entity’s journey throughout its lifetime.