MaaS – Matching Individual Needs with Sound Societal Values

Back in 2014, when we at ERTICO started working with our public and private partners to establish a dedicated Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platform, the MaaS Alliance, we knew the concept would have a disruptive impact on traditional mobility models, not only for the automotive and Intelligent Transport System (ITS) sectors butfor the transport industry as a whole. According to reports, the MaaS market is estimated to grow around 30-35 percent annually with global MaaS-related revenues exceeding €1 trillion by 2030. MaaS can be seen also as the mobility sector’s response to the calls of the circular economy; it builds on existing services, infrastructure and modes of transport, however upgrading the ways they are combined, integrated and used, thus reducing inefficiencies in the system. MaaS puts users at the centre of its model, providing a personalised and unique travel experience, addressing different needs and creating a more inclusive society.

Needless to say, such a shift cannot happen overnight. There are numerous challenges to tackle, barriers to overcome and it is up to the players involved in delivering MaaS to get to grips with these stumbling blocks. These players have to reform the way they conduct business and attract new partners in order to create more efficient, sustainable and user-centric mobility solutions.

One of the most debated topics revolves around access to secure and high quality data, which is also central to the creation of a sustainable and reliable business model. Questions concerning threats and vulnerability have to be addressed both at political and technological level, with new technologies such as blockchain, representing a possible answer to the concerns which have ensued. Interoperability is another considerable challenge as it has a great impact on the transferability of services, especially from city to city as well as cross-border, being a critical element for scalability for business.

Despite being conceived on European ground, the MaaS concept is evolving and growing in other international markets. Just a couple of months ago, we entered a partnership agreement with ITS America through the MaaS Alliance, to share best practices as the country is launching the Mobility on Demand Alliance (MODA) to coordinate and develop seamless mobility in the United States. In China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Canada various companies and cities are launching their apps and services.

With so many different players involved in the MaaS model, the importance of cooperation between stakeholders cannot be stressed enough. Behind a simple app giving one a personalised and unique mobility solution lies more than meets the eye. This collaboration is required on all fronts. A common ground within the private sector, which includes mobility service providers, vehicle manufacturers, IT companies and telecommunications, is needed as much as a common vision with local managing authorities, such as traffic management centres or public transport authorities. Support and new innovations are also needed from fleet management companies, insurances, and payment services to push the development even further.

The current discussions are centred on who will take the lead in the orchestration of a truly multimodal journey to improve the quality of life in cities. Multimodality represents an opportunity to enhance public-private partnerships and support the definition of new roles within public administrations. This bridge between public and private is ERTICO’s core mission, we see that this scheme works well in all the activities we carried out and represents a gain for all our member organisations.

MaaS can truly benefit a city’s traffic issues, improving not only the transport of passengers and commuters, but also urban freight operations combining logistics modes with other means such as bikes and public transport especially for the last mile delivery, often a missing link in established mobility chains.

The future of mobility is connected, automated, service-based and sustainable. We believe in MaaS and seamless multimodality. It is in fact  one of our flagship activities. MaaS should exploit the full potential of an ever-advancing technology, bearing in mind the endmost goal of achieving low-emission transport, ultimately improving mobility chains and urban landscapes. ERTICO will strive to be at the forefront of the development and amplification of automated MaaS which will undoubtedly thrive on the contribution of ERTICO’s partners, among which one can find the most advanced companies and stakeholders from all relevant sectors across the MaaS value chain.