MaaS Explained

what is maas

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is a transport system that integrates all mobility options in a single platform. It aims to provide customers with a seamless travel experience. MaaS combines the transport services from both public and private transportation providers. The customers can plan, book and pay for mobility services within a single journey. The solution encourages customers to shift away from using privately owned cars.

What are the benefits of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)?

The MaaS solutions aim to address the following issues on transportation:

  • Constrained Capacity
  • Increasing Global Demand among Passengers
  • First Mile-Last Mile Connectivity
  • Diverse Transport Options
  • Complex Travel Behaviour in every City
  • Increasing Road Congestion
  • Need for multi-modality and Micro-Mobility
  • Demand for Smart Journey Planner (directions, cost, and timing)
  • Safe routes for Senior Citizens and children
  • Accessibility – Using a combination of modes to get around inaccessible places

How Mobility-as-a-Service Affects People with Limited Mobility
It is vital to understand the importance of accessibility, inclusion and equality among disabled travellers in our society. 
Creating a MaaS solution can make travelling easier for people with limited mobility.  It can aid with every aspect of travelling from planning to actual travel and looking for better ways of navigating around new places.
Most countries develop a MaaS system that specifically covers the following issues for disabled travellers:

  • Planning and Preparing
  • Transport and Direction
  • Finding Public Amenities

Access to transport and public transportation systems is a key component in ensuring the inclusion and participation of disabled travellers in societies.

Evolution of Mobility as a Service - Brief History

MaaS started in 1996. It gained its popularity again after almost a decade. The system kept its upward trend from 2015. Transport sectors from several countries started to adopt MaaS.
In 2020, Covid-19 played a role in the drastic changes in both public and private transportation. But still, the Government and private entities continue to explore the use of Mobility-as-a-Service solutions in creating an efficient and sustainable integrated transport system for their jurisdiction.

1996- Introduction at the ENTER Conference  
Mobility-as-a-Service is a way to achieve sustainability in the transport system. The introduction of MaaS was during the ENTER Conference. They proposed the concept as an intelligent information assistant.

2009- Trial in Sweden  
The initial implementation of the MaaS concept was in Gothenburg, Sweden. They use a monthly subscription model. The pilot test was a success. Unfortunately, it has to be discontinued due to a lack of support from the Swedish Government level even if the system was considered well-executed. Issues arise in terms of third-party on-sell of tickets for public transportation.

2011- The Concept Reached Finland
The initial concept of mobility-as-a-service was taken into consideration by Finland. The National Transport Strategy included the implementation of MaaS solutions. 

2012- The rise of E-mobility as a Service
When smartphones were launched, it paved the way for MaaS discussion during the E-Mobility-as-a-Service conference in San Francisco, California. Agrion sponsored the half-day event. The idea is to create a seamless multimodal transportation network. The plan is to implement it with real-time information and connectivity with the use of smartphones.  

2015- World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems
The MaaS system became a well-discussed topic during the 2015 World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems held in Bordeaux, France.

2015- Mobility as a Service Alliance Belgium
Mobility-as-a-Service Alliance was established and located in Brussels, Belgium.

2016- MaaS Global in Finland 
Sampo Hietanen created the company MaaS Global. The pilot test of their system was in Helsinki, Finland. 

2017- Launch of White Paper on Mobility as a Service Ecosystem
MaaS Alliance published a white paper about the MaaS concept and provided the foundation for an effective and efficient MaaS ecosystem. 

2017- Mobility Services in the UK
The European Union funded the Mobinet Project (Internet of Mobility). It provides the basic foundation of MaaS in the UK. It is the groundwork for the Pan-European Management of Travellers, trip planners links, and other payment details. 

2018- Wider MaaS application in the UK
The UK integrated MaaS by launching the NaviGoGo app for Scotland and Whim app for West Midlands. Maas Global Finland created the Whim app. They aim to meet the mobility requirements of the customers. It included a payment system and real-time information on multimodal options from private and public transport service providers.

2019- MaaS Solution in Germany
Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), Berlin public transport authority, launched their version of Mobility as a Service in partnership with Trafi, a Lithuanian mobility startup company. They did a city-owned large scale project called Jelbi, the first large scale plan in the world.   

2019- MaaS America Established 
MaaS America is a non-profit organisation that shows America’s form of Mobility as a Service.

2020- Mobility as a Service in the Covid-19 Era
MaaS has a setback in early 2020 since the emergence of the COVID-19. The shared mobility framework became less attractive. Usage of public transport, ride-share, bike-sharing services and even car-sharing services reduced.  Travel restrictions while working from home are encouraged. An increase in private car-use is evident since it lessens the exposure of travellers from one another. Social distancing takes effect. Mobility options were in half or less than half of its maximum capacity. 

2021- Mobility as a Service Reboot
Micro-mobility-as-a service became an added option for multimodal trips. The parameters align with the health and safety protocols. Future of Mobility-as-a-Service: Dynamics and Complexities. The transport system had some drastic changes. Gone were the days of a typical home-work-home journey. Trip planning and daily commute became an inconsistent trend of multiple travel points and constant changes to transport. 

The complexity of the mobility patterns and factors in choosing the mode of transport is evident. These evolving environments foster the development of Mobility-as-a-Service.
These dynamics changed the transport planning and operational system. New challenges arise at different levels. MaaS transforms the physical transport system and highlights the use of the internet of things (IoT). It takes advantage of digitalisation and data leverage.  MaaS platforms offer commuter-centric services that include on-demand, real-time travel updates. It is a digital approach to multimodal journey methods such as:

  • Public transport

  • Car Sharing

  • Bike Sharing

  • E-scooters

  • Taxis

  • Electric Vehicle Deployment, etc.

There are several factors that passengers and road-users consider when they choose the most practical transport mode:  

  • Cost of Transport

  • Reliability of Service

  • Regularity of Service

  • Safety and Security during Travel

  • Over-all Travel Experience

The key to an effective MaaS system is integrating these transport services to plan and manage the customer journey. The concept is to combine mobility solutions and a single payment system using a single account in a single platform.
With digitalisation, the MaaS platform eliminates physical tickets and will facilitate payment or ticketing system instead. A sustainable mobility system in every part of the world is evolving. 
Businesses, private sectors and the Government’s transport agencies are adapting the MaaS system. The focus is to improve productivity by providing a more convenient and seamless journey for consumers. Operators, service providers, and Governments have roles in the MaaS ecosystem.

Mobility-as-a-Service is a concept created but with several names and forms. MaaS can now be considered not only as a multimodal service but also offers multi-services.
But regardless of these complexities and dynamics, stakeholders must keep track of the overall objective of MaaS- collaboration to create a sustainable transport system for the people.