The transportation industry is expanding in a way no one had ever imagined. The days of old, where dreams of flying cars dominated our ideas about the future are gone, replaced by convenient, quick trips to a destination. This new model is called Mobility as a Service (MaaS), and it’s transforming our outlook on how we move. So, how will this change in the future? How will it affect traditional transportation models? And how can we adapt to these changes? This article will answer some of your questions on the topic.
What is MaaS?
Mobility as a Service is a new concept that looks at mobility from a user-centric perspective as opposed to only the provider’s perspective. It gives users the chance to register and pay for numerous mobility service types through a single digital platform. MaaS is one of the most telling signs of consumers moving away from personal vehicles like cars and into MaaS-provided vehicles. The biggest plus that MaaS provides is allowing users to travel according to whatever requirements they might have for each specific journey.
How does MaaS work?
All transportation services are available in a singular digital portal that provides overarching management to a customer’s trip. It’s basically Netflix or booking.com, but in the urban mobility industry.
The user will access a journey planner and can choose their trip based on factors such as time to destination, cost of services, and how many different vehicles they will need. The customer can then book a journey as a unit, whether it encompasses one or several forms of transportation –what’s important is that the journey is convenient to them.
One of the biggest advantages of MaaS is that the user only needs one app to book a journey with several different mobility types. Therefore, in case the user is destined to another city, it is important to know if the app works there too.
When it comes to finalizing the purchase, there are a few different ways that a user can pay for the service, and it depends on the provider. Here is a quick breakdown of the options:
- Subscription The customer can subscribe to a particular service on a scheduled basis. For example, if a user needs to use a vehicle every day within a certain area, they would likely select to pay on a per month or per year basis so they don’t have to book the service daily.
- Individual he customer can book trips only when needed. For example, if a user typically travels with public transportation, or has their own vehicle, they might not use MaaS on a regular basis. When they need MaaS, they can book a single, individual trip.
Travel requirements such as geographic limitations and length of travel, both influence these choices.
Are providers like Uber and Lyft considered Mobility as a Service?
Now that you’re uncovering the concept of Mobility as a Service, the next logical question that will arise is: are major transport tech providers like Uber and Lyft considered MaaS? The answer is yes - but with some key details that need to be explained.
We’ll use Uber as our main example here for simplicity’s sake, but other apps fit as well. The most often-confused issue with this question comes from a misunderstanding of Uber’s model. Originally, Uber was not a MaaS. It was a service that offered mobile services on a platform.However, Uber is now considered a MaaS, because it has recently started partnering with other sharing mobility companies to expand the services they offer.
Potential MaaS trends
The first thing to note is that MaaS is in trend. Issues such as climate change, the pandemic, and huge technological advancements in the mobility industry are converging, and the common denominator solution often involves using MaaS. Instead of being overly speculative, we’ll do our best to point out the things that could drive or halt it:
- It is perfect to support other surging vehicular technologies, such as automated, connected, autonomous, and electric driving.
- The ability of companies to provide services globally plays a huge part in whether MaaS can thrive. If countries across the world can make MaaS more effective than other mobility offers, it will keep expanding.
- The outlook of big-city demographics will play a massive role in whether or not MaaS continues to boom. This has so many different factors that it’s impossible to break down each one, but a good example is how the living requirements of future generations will change. Will the youth flock to big cities or spread out away from them?
- The impact of legislation on MaaS is crucial. If things like environmental concerns force politicians to act a certain way, MaaS is almost certainly going to be affected one way or another.
- It is beneficial for cities, as the data gathered by MaaS can help to make more informed decisions about transit. MaaS self-improves itself with users’ data and only becomes more and more efficient. It also gains a lot of strength when municipal transportation is added to it.
You probably already used MaaS. And if you haven’t, you will be using it soon as it’s inevitably the next step in transportation. Hopefully, this article helped you understand a little bit more about the promising future that awaits us.