Mobility as a Service (MaaS) schemes provide access to information on, and payment for, transport options via a single digital platform – potentially improving consumer choice and reducing the need for car ownership and use. How will they impact cities in the years to come?
A new report from the Urban Transport Group looks at the key factors that will determine the future of MaaS schemes, and sets out the issues and options for city regions on the role they might play in shaping MaaS in their areas.
The report finds that: “MaaS could be a system that steers people towards use of cars or away from them. It could make travelling easier for all, no matter their income, disability or location or it could make mobility easier for tech-savvy, city centre dwellers and harder for those who are already excluded and marginalised. It could be a great concept that takes off at scale or one that people don’t need or want in practice.”
The economic models underpinning MaaS schemes will determine how impartial, stable, extensive, competitively priced and popular they are, the authors say.
The extent to which issues around the ownership, sharing and resourcing of data are resolved will determine how comprehensive the schemes are.
And whether MaaS schemes contribute to making cities less congested, more inclusive, greener and healthier places will depend on the extent to which wider environmental, social and public health goals are built into the schemes.
Choices for local authorities range from operating or being a proactive participant in MaaS, to taking no involvement and allowing the private sector to lead.
“Cities in the UK and the wider world are looking hard at the potential benefits that MaaS could bring and the role they could play in its future,” said Vernon Everitt, managing director of Customers, Communication and Technology at Transport for London, and lead board member for smart futures at the Urban Transport Group.
“It is up to each transport authority to decide for themselves how big a role they wish to play in determining the evolution of MaaS depending on local circumstances and aspirations. By presenting the risks and opportunities, we hope this report makes that decision making process easier.”