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?
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.
Contactless 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:
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.
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.
MaaS 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.
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:
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!
- Amadeus Blog: How to make multimodal travel in Europe happen (2016)
- Swedish ICT Viktoria: Mobility as a Service – Maas: Describing the Framework (2016)
- TravelSpirit: Mobility as a Service
- UCL Institute & Department of Transport: Feasibility Study for “Mobility as a Service” concept in London (2015)
- Wikipedia: Mobility as a service (transport) (2016)
- App information from App/Developer websites & PlayStore/App Store pages
- And all websites linked in the article above
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