Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is reshaping the world of transport in ways we’d probably never have dreamed possible only a decade or so ago.

Industry association MaaS Alliance has stated the sector is expected to be worth more than €1 trillion by 2030. Other sources value it at US$9.5 trillion by 2030. It’s big business with big potential – and it’s not just the domain of start-ups but corporations and governments too who are recognising the shifting tide.

It will be interesting to see how the market develops over the course of the next 12 months, so we came up with top key trends to look out for in 2019.

1. The rise of micro-mobility

The e-bike and scooter business is growing faster than Uber and Lyft according to industry analyst Horace Dediu. But these ride-sharing firms have no intention of being left behind. Uber and Alphabet invested $335 million in Lime earlier this year.

In November, Lime launched its dockless electric-assist bike service in Milton Keynes – the first city in the UK to get them. It now has its sights on expanding out to other areas.

These micro modes of transport are pitched as a viable alternative for inner city travel, particularly for frequent, shorter journeys. After all, no one wants to be stuck in traffic jams. It will be interesting to see how Lime and others progress in the coming months.  

2. Greater focus on interoperability and open data

We wrote about this very topic just recently (you can read it here). Open data and integrative technologies are likely to garner a lot of attention throughout 2019. It’s the glue that holds everything together. MaaS Alliance is doing a lot of good work to unite the industry with common standards and best practice. The success of multi-modal transport and MaaS applications rely on it.

True on-demand, door-to-door transport services and shared services can only work if the end user can readily see the options open to them. It’s also advantageous to the companies that share their data with the potential for more people to use their services than would have done otherwise. Certainly something that, we, at SkedGo will be looking to push over the coming year.  

3. Competition hots up for autonomous vehicles

Self-driving vehicles and IoT will see transport become smarter and cheaper as we move to a shared economy where owning a car isn’t practical or even desirable. Why have a lump of metal taking up precious space when you can tap your phone and access a choice of transportation options? Even better when you don’t have to drive them yourself.  

OK, we won’t quite make it that far in 2019 but we’ll see more partnerships like Toyota’s $500m investment in Uber to develop autonomous cars that will use Uber’s network. Other players in the market include Alphabet’s Waymo which some analysts are saying is primed to be a $100m company by 2030. Competition in the space is certainly heating up and will continue to do so throughout 2019.

4. Mobility-as-a-Service pilots deliver concrete results

MaaS pilots slowly started becoming more popular in recent years, with businesses and governments wanting to test the ground in live environments. Just looking at proposal requests and actual projects we’re going to be dealing with here at SkedGo, it seems 2019 will be the year of pilots in many regions.

From corporate mobility and MaaS pilots in the automotive sector to governments trialling MaaS offerings for their citizens, these pilots will deliver great insights into the future development of MaaS, also from a business model perspective. So keep an eye out for the next MaaS pilot in your region or sector, it happen soon!

5. Infrastructure pressures drive smart cities

Travelling in urban areas is still one of the most exasperating experiences – both for commuters and those managing the transport system. The speed of urbanisation is putting cities under increasing pressure and the density of traffic is a major issue.

Governments and transport authorities will look to build closer ties with the private sector in more public-private partnerships. The need to spread the load and bring more balance to transportation networks will require alternative modes of transport – and an easier way for citizens to access them.  

Whilst we should make the most of our existing infrastructure, governments are going to need to make sure that future infrastructures are more flexible. As the Economist Intelligence Unit points out in its Flexible Cities: The Future of Australian Infrastructure report, “Delivering infrastructure that is more responsive and flexible to future needs requires technological innovation as much as new approaches to planning, financing and procurement.” City infrastructure is high on the agenda of many of our European governments and we’ll no doubt see further initiatives and partnerships this year.

As we move through 2019, we predict the mobility choices available to citizens will continue to open up even further as organisations and governments look to ease the pressure on our resources and infrastructures and trial new technologies and business ventures.

Now we’ve given our thoughts, over to you. What MaaS trends do you think we’ll see in 2019?

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