Mobility-as-a-Service: What We’ve Learned
By Lauren Wellbank
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is a proposed solution to ongoing transportation issues that can positively impact urban centers in pretty significant ways.
Many travelers in metropolitan areas are currently using more than one mode of transportation during their daily commute. No surprise there. As just one example, commuters may take a bus to the train station before catching the taxi that will finally take them to work.
While this may actually be the best option available for some, it may not be the most efficient. Travelers using multiple means of transit must also use multiple platforms in order to check boarding times and pay fares. In some instances this means waiting in line at a ticketing window (or more than one) and completing multiple face-to-face transactions in a single day.
So moovel Group engaged Juniper Research to get a clearer picture of commuters’ real-world needs and the challenges in meeting them. What follows is our best look yet at the facts on the ground, and how we might manage them more efficiently
MaaS: Its Impact at Every Level
First, we identified five key layers of customer-facing services to consider before deploying a MaaS solution:
- The mobility network layer — where customers go to select their mode of transport by choosing from public, private and shared options, or a combination of the three.
- A real-time mobility optimization layer — where customers can view the available modes of transportation and estimate travel times or check for disruptions.
- A mobility pricing layer — where customers can choose from available payment options.
- A value services layer — where the MaaS provider has the option to insert additional useful information into the planned travel route, such as nearby restaurants or attractions to visit.
- A future services layer — which can be adapted to meet additional needs that may arise, or for the future implementation of loyalty benefits for repeated use of the app.
Any technology that can’t or doesn’t alleviate pressures at every layer can’t be called a truly optimal solution. Where they do, however, the benefits compound for users.
Both Commuters and Businesses Reap the Rewards
Our research shows that the effective implementation of MaaS would improve citizens’ lives in myriad ways. Maybe the most compelling, it’s estimated that commuters traveling by MaaS would cut the baseline length of their journeys by as much as 37 percent. That figure translates to approximately 67 minutes per day for those who drive themselves, and 61 minutes per day for riders across all other modes of transportation.
As an added benefit, with a more streamlined approach to traveling, individuals who find themselves using their personal vehicles less could opt to use them to earn additional income. In just a few years, ridesharing platforms and similar technologies have made such prospects more palatable and plausible — even mainstream — than they might have been viewed in the recent past. In much the same way Airbnb helps connect homeowners with potential renters, online services like Turo help connect drivers and auto owners who are looking for short-term auto rentals. So a typical commuter could theoretically be saving money on transportation at the same time their vehicle is making them money elsewhere.
Area businesses should benefit significantly from the implementation of MaaS as well. In addition to having fewer road-weary employees, it’s estimated that approximately 33 percent of the time commuters save could be directly re-applied to business productivity. That alone has the potential to increase global productivity by an estimated $733 billion. Or three times Apple’s annual revenue in 2017 — certainly not small change.
moovel’s Mobility-as-a-Service Platform: A Way Forward
Based on these insights, moovel Group developers have engineered one end-to-end solution: a Mobility-as-a-Service platform. In short, moovel’s platform leverages open data technology to create a single platform that improves the commuter experience across all of the five primary MaaS layers.
For starters, commuters can access real-time information about travel conditions in their city. The app provides a central touchpoint for everything related to their commute, including assistance with trip planning, next time arrivals, a centralized payment source for multiple modes of transportation, and pricing options.
Plus, transit benefits, reduced fares and discounted tickets can be quickly distributed by third parties such as universities, businesses, institutions and employers, increasing ridership and creating new revenue channels for the local community. And with accessibility across multiple devices, it would enable commuters to discover downstream delays before they’ve encountered them, saving them time and money in the process.
All of this would streamline efficiency at travel terminals and provide an increased benefit to commuters who use more than one mode of transportation during a single commute. A commuter who travels by metro to the subway would be able to purchase tickets for both services at once — while on the move — eliminating the need to wait in ticketing lines at either location, and the need to provide a physical ticket when boarding.
And the more personalized travel management would give commuters more control over choosing transportation methods, ultimately increasing the use of alternative means of travel. As commuters began to rely more heavily on these other transportation modes, and less on their privately owned vehicles, the demand for designated parking areas should decline as well. This in turn has the potential to open up valuable real estate up for development, or for conversion into public green-spaces that encourage walking and biking in urban centers.
As Technology Progresses, So Will the Benefits
Imagine being able to personalize your day-to-day travel, weekend plans, vacations and business trips. With payment options going digital, transferring from one mode of travel to another will become relatively seamless, bringing a welcome reprieve at the end of a long day or hectic week.
The opportunity for personalization will only grow as the technology continues to develop and adoption rates increase, introducing further efficiencies that save time and money for those who rely on MaaS solutions, not to mention the cities who provide them.
While the short-term benefit may look like a less aggravating way to get from here to there, what it really comes down to is improved quality of life. Our bustling city centers aren’t going anywhere, and neither are their challenges. But our urban populations can get where they’re going more easily, bringing the benefits of those busy urban hubs a little closer to home.
Please note that this article expresses the opinions of the author and does not reflect the views of Move Forward.