How close are we to mobility as a service?

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) – the concept sounded like science fiction only a few years ago. Today, MaaS and MaaS-like projects are being planned and implemented all over the world. The future of mobility is (about to be) here.

But let’s break it down. What are the enablers, the technologies that will help make MaaS a reality, and what are examples of their use today?

MaaS Enablers

How close are we to Mobility as a Service? | TripGo BlogShared mobility – ride sharing, car sharing, bike sharing. Every bigger city has at least a few of these services today. Examples include Uber, GoCatch, Car2Go and CitiBike.

E-hailing means hailing a transport service using your smart phone or computer. Uber and most taxi apps like Way2Ride, Gett and Arro offer this feature.

There are a range of on-demand transportation services which often combine shared mobility and e-hailing. You just open the app/call the provider and order your bus, van, pod or other vehicle when you need them. Bridj is a pop-up bus service which runs in Boston, Washington DC, and Kansas City. There is a long list of on-demand services around the world on Wikipedia.

Real-time transport and traffic information and incident reporting are a further building block for a smoothly working MaaS. Apps like TripGo and Waze as well as 511.org and LiveTraffic that integrate real-time info have proven hugely popular.

How close are we to Mobility as a Service? | TripGo BlogContactless payments are made using credit/debit cards, smart cards, key fobs or other devices like mobile phones. Typically you don’t need a signature or PIN, just tap your card etc on the reader and it will deduct the payment.
This system has been around for a while, and now it’s being used more and more for transport too. London, Chicago, Utah and Southeastern Pennsylvania are accepting contactless payments for transport (not just to buy a ticket, but AS the ticket). Sydney, Australia will be joining them next year.

Multimodal apps allow the user to compare different transport modes, e.g. flight vs trains vs long-distance buses. More and more apps also allow mixed-modal trips. An example for this would be taking the train to the airport, and after the flight an Uber to your final destination. TripGo, Rome2Rio, Whim and Routerank all include multi-modal and mixed modal options.
A full comparison table of currently (or soon to be) available urban mobility apps is below – click to see in full size:
Currently (or soon to be) active apps that provide multimodal trip planning as well as booking and payment options - bring on Mobility as a Service!

So, the stage is all set for MaaS to take off. Let’s have a look at what’s been happening under the MaaS label out there.

MaaS Projects

Ubigo was piloted in Gothenburg during 2014. In the 6 month pilot, 70 households subscribed to the system, allowing them to use car sharing, car rental, taxi, bus, tram, train or bike for a monthly subscription fee. Everything was easily accessible using one app. A relaunch is planned in Sweden for later this year.

How close are we to Mobility as a Service? | TripGo BlogMaaS Global is the world’s first mobility as a service company. It is aiming to stimulate the implementation of MaaS in Europe and world wide. The company just launched it Whim App which is due to be released soon. Whim will be a full-blown MaaS solution, offering its users multi-modal and mixed modal trip suggestions as well as mobility and payment packages.

Ericsson AB has developed a MaaS platform, Västtrafik is working on one.
Finnish telecom company Sonera is currently piloting a conceptual MaaS-service (see also apps table above).

The MaaS-London is an integrated platform that also includes tailored mobility packages, intermodal journey planning, booking, smart ticketing and payment functions. It is yet not clear however when this platform will be released. They do have a nice little video explaining the system though:

Summing up

To answer our initial question “How close are we to mobility as a service?”:
very, very close.
And we at SkedGo are excited about what this future holds for all of us.

Over to you!

What are you most looking forward to when MaaS comes to your area? Let us know in the comments below!


Content (main sources)

Images & Videos

  • Title image: Mobility as a Service By SkedGo (own work)
  • Sami Pippuri: Making of MaaS – aws meetup Helsinki 2016, slide 8 on slideshare.net
  • Zotwheels bike share By JHoc27 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Credit Card logos By MB-one (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  • SkedGo: MaaS-ready apps (own work)
  • Monthly Subscription By MaaS Global on WhimApp.com
  • UCLEnergyInstitute: Mobility as a Service London on Youtube