The Sydney MaaS trial

Two years ago, in April 2019, a MaaS trial started in Sydney, Australia’s biggest city. The study was able to obtain the top level of MaaS, integrating information (L1), booking & payment (L2), services (L3) and societal goals (L4). Now, the trial has concluded, a final report has been released – and much has been learned.

This post is just a short overview of the project and its findings; click here for the full report, or scroll to the bottom for further reading (and watching).


The project was led by IAG, Australia’s largest general insurer, with research and project management run by the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) at the University of Sydney, and the app used by trial participants was developed by SkedGo. One hundred IAG employees in Sydney participated in the in-field trial.

The overall MaaS trial approach. Source: Sydney MaaS trial final report, p. 154 (via Hensher, D. A., Ho, C. & Reck, D. J. (2020). Mobility as a Service and private car use: evidence from the Sydney MaaS trial. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice)


The trial commenced planning in early 2019, with a pre-trial phase designed to ensure that all elements were in place, followed by the in-field trial during November 2019 through to mid-March 2020, and a post-trial analysis and evaluation period up to March 2021.

The Sydney MaaS Trial journey from the participant perspective. Source: Sydney MaaS trial brochure, p. 3

At the beginning of the in-field trial, only a PAYG option was available to allow users to familiarise themselves with the app (“Tripi”). Then, a new bundle got introduced each month and users could choose to stay with the PAYG option or switch to a bundle. The four subscription bundles that were developed by ITLS and IAG during the trial contained incentives for choosing more sustainable transport options and reducing private car use.


Key findings:

  • Multi-modal travellers are more interested in MaaS than others; MaaS also has appeal to car owners and frequent car users
  • Without a (monetary) incentive, travellers appear to see very little value in MaaS
  • Therefore, doubt that sustainable goals can be achieved without adequate financial rewards (including rewards for non-transport services); these make best sense as part of a subscription plan (i.e., a bundle offer), so that carefully designed subscription bundles can be used as a tool to obtain societal goals
  • PAYG users appear to maintain their travel behaviour (i.e., make no difference to sustainability); monthly subscribers evidently reduce their private car kilometres and increase public transport use, helping to reduce both CO2 emissions and traffic congestion
  • MaaS does not just require an app; other key factors are customer service, data analysis capability, marketing, sales, and billing; also needed: open-minded core team with complementary skills (business development, research, app development), relationship building and trust between stakeholders
  • Profitability goes hand-in-hand with scalability and without this, MaaS is unlikely to take off unless it is driven by financial support from government or other non-mobility sources => a financially sustainable business model for MaaS is likely to need a level of cross-subsidy, given that heavily subsidised public transport is the backbone of MaaS

New definition of MaaS:

As part of the project, a new definition of MaaS was developed by  David Hensher (Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS), University of Sydney) with extensive input from Natasha J Hinrichsen (Transport and Main Roads Qld), Sampo Hietanen (MaaS Global), Corinne Mulley (ITLS, University of Sydney), John Nelson (ITLS, University of Sydney) and Andy Taylor (Cubic).

The new definition aims to provide a clearer view of what constitutes MaaS (and what does not) to use as a reference benchmark to decide if a MaaS solution is being offered:

“MaaS is a framework for delivering a portfolio of multi-modal mobility services that places the user at the centre of the offer. MaaS frameworks are ideally designed to achieve sustainable policy goals and objectives. MaaS is an integrated transport service brokered by an integrator through a digital platform. A digital platform provides information, booking, ticketing, payment (as PAYG and/or subscription plans), and feedback that improves the travel experience.

The MaaS framework can operate at any spatial scale (i.e.urban or regional or global) and cover any combination of multi-modal and non-transport-related multi-service offerings, including the private car and parking, whether subsidised or not by the public sector.

MaaS is not simply a digital version of a travel planner, nor a flexible transport service (such as Mobility on Demand), nor a single shared transport offering (such as car sharing). ‘Emerging MaaS’ best describes MaaS offered on a niche foundation. This relates to situations where MaaS is offered on a limited spatial scale, to a limited segment of society or focused on limited modes of transport. The MaaS framework becomes mainstream when the usage by travellers dominates a spatial scale and the framework encompasses a majority of the modes of transport.”

More on this project

If you have a MaaS project you’d like to discuss, or simply to get more information, get in touch; together, we can make the future of transport happen.

Title image source: Sydney MaaS trial final report, p. 214
All images used courtesy of IAG and ITLS.