Urban Mobility and Integrated Planning | Aurecon

What is Mobility as a Service?

What is Mobility as a Service? (MaaS)

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) seeks to provide personalised and optimal travel to get us from point A to point B by combining multiple public and private transportation services and fee structures into a single digital platform.

What are the benefits of MaaS for communities and transport networks?

There are some stark differences between our traditional approach to transport and MaaS:

Traditional transport approach vs Mobility as a Service - Aurecon

Traditional transport

  • Transport modes, operators and networks in isolation
  • Personally-owned modes of transport with low occupancy
  • Single mode and journey leg focus
  • Consumer required to conform to the prescribed schedules and evaluate potential options individually
  • Fragmented and static capture of the network utilisation
  • Traffic congestion and overcrowded public transport
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Approach - Aurecon

A MaaS approach

  • A harmonised, connected and seamless ecosystem
  • Shared and personalised transport for increased liveability
  • Emphasis on the entire trip, not just a single portion on one mode or another
  • Aggregated and demand responsive services offering, linking of/integrated trips, journey planning and payments
  • Enabling better information capture which will ensure better monitoring, management and planning of mobility services
  • Lower traffic congestion and environmental impact of transport

The potential benefits from the successful implementation of MaaS are many and include:

How is MaaS implemented?

Just like many other technological deployments, MaaS can be defined into different components and stages of maturity. A staged approach helps to break down MaaS into smaller achievable goals.

With aligned and clear strategic objectives, most of the separate components of MaaS can be implemented independently and realise their own benefits. However, without all facets of MaaS working together, a successful deployment can’t be achieved.

Stages of MaaS

  1. Readiness – At the ‘readiness’ stage, existing and possibly new transport services need to be strategically aligned and ready to integrate information. Without partnerships or connections between the operators and owners of different modes of transportation, a MaaS approach won’t get off the ground.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Strategic Objectives - Aurecon
  1. Integration of information – Multimodal travel planners require a great depth and breadth of real-time travel information with the right data and access. For example, software companies such as Google and Qixxit can analyse millions of train, bus and car connections to identify the best unique travel routes for customers and the road network.
  2. Integration of booking and payment – At this stage, the travel information is combined with the ability to book and pay for a journey. For example, Smile Einfach Mobil is an integrated mobility app that provides all the functions required for end-to-end travel on one platform: information, booking, payment, use and billing. Their interface is used by mobility providers to connect their technical systems and provide relevant data in real time, including ticket sales.
  3. Integration of the service offer – Mobility can move beyond integrating information that has traditionally been available, to providing a superior service offering through collaboration. Providers might offer users bundles or subscriptions to drive better value, or more seamless travel experiences. For example, UbiGo, which first piloted in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2013-2014 as a ride-share focused MaaS service, teamed up with Stockholm Public Transport (SL) in 2019 to offer subscription services across their combined networks. Working together they offer a superior end-to-end journey service, and even offer a free taxi ride should the public transit you planned on incorporating into your journey be delayed by more than 20 minutes.
  4. Integration of community values and goals – MaaS will both drive and deliver behavioural changes aligned to community values and goals. As community concerns about climate change and health and wellbeing continue to escalate, major behavioural changes and policy-shifts, such as those that incentivise more sustainable transport modes, are likely to occur.

What have we learnt from previous MaaS applications?

While there are a multitude of existing MaaS services that have been trialled and implemented, some cases, such as Jelbi in Berlin and mobilityX’s Zipster application for Singapore showcase what is possible for MaaS. Jelbi is a partnership between the Berlin Public Transport authority, BVG, and Trafi, a MaaS solution leader. Jelbi combines bus, train, motor scooter, electric scooter, bike, car and ridesharing modes, and users can customise their journey to the point of accounting for the weather.

Learnings from Jelbi highlight the need for deep mobility service provider (MSP) integration and plenty of time to integrate new mobility service providers. By starting with Trafi’s mature technology stack, rather than developing one from scratch, and combining the expertise and experience from both companies, Jelbi launched in just six months and is considered the world’s most extensive MaaS solution.

Zipster was recognised as Asia’s first integrated MaaS application. It demonstrated the early-adopter inclinations of under 30s, with 50 percent of users in the first 100 days of the app launching falling in that age bracket.

In Australia, the somewhat recent iMove trial was deployed to understand the role that MaaS can play in improving the traveller’s experience of using multiple complementary transport services. It’s initial findings and those found throughout COVID-19 show great insight as to how a system could operate, as well as the public perception and uptake of such a service.

Further trials are currently underway in Queensland with iMove at the University of Queensland and the Queensland Government’s Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) MaaS Project Management Office, which are expected to shed more light on MaaS in a post-COVID-19 environment.

What next for MaaS?

With MaaS still in its infancy around the world, deployments like those demonstrated above are building a trove of important learnings that will work to refine future deployments and understand the barriers and opportunities of MaaS.

For instance, TMR estimate that MaaS could have an AUD 40 billion to AUD 46 billion benefit to the transport network. This economic benefit alone showcases the impact that MaaS could have on the transport sector and wider community.

It will be exciting to see what the future holds as private and public sector continue to work together with communities to advance the reach and effectiveness of MaaS to create a healthier, cleaner, more efficient and more prosperous world for us all.

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