Mobility as a Service has the power to change the way we travel. Ito World CEO Johan Herrlin shares what’s driving the movement forward, from smartphones to autonomous vehicles, and the critical role that data – especially open data – can play
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) describes the idea that we’re moving away from privately owned modes of transportation and towards consuming transportation solutions as a service.
This will be enabled by blending both public and private transportation providers across multiple modes of transportation, and providing a single-access interface for managing trips.
MaaS has the potential to transform our society by changing the way people and goods move from place to place over the next few decades through multimodal, multisector transportation options. More open data being used will be key to making this happen.
Transport apps offer users a comprehensive view of transportation options and the ability to manage the entire lifecycle of a trip, from journey planning to ticketing. MaaS providers sell access to these for individual journeys or as a monthly subscription for a particular geography, typically making money on the margin they earn – in buying tickets wholesale and selling retail, for example.
The short answer is smartphones and the sharing economy.
Smartphones enable users to get information when they need it, request services and see options mapped out. Most importantly, smart phones are location-aware. The sharing economy, represented by companies such as Uber, Airbnb or bike-sharing schemes, have changed the expectation for how goods and services are consumed – from ownership to consumption. There are, of course, many other factors that have enabled MaaS.
Globally, we are seeing more people moving towards cities and dense urban areas necessitating and enabling new forms of transportation. Millennials are generally far less concerned about the prestige value of car ownership and more interested in simply having access to cars. They are increasingly gravitating towards areas where car ownership is less of a necessity, thanks to new modes of transportation like ride-sharing services.
The development of autonomous vehicles will have a huge impact on MaaS as it allows consumers to more seamlessly use cars in conjunction with other forms of transportation.
Today, a commuter is unlikely to want to switch from a car to a train on their journey, even if it means getting to work sooner. The reason for this is that they would have to leave the car at the station (and pay for parking), and then have to come back to that same station in the evening to pick up the car. It may not make sense for the commuter to take the same route home as they did on their way into work. With autonomous vehicles, this problem goes away.
Electric vehicles allow for greater efficiency and cleaner solutions.