It’s hard to keep up with the number of transport options currently at our fingertips. There are your traditional forms, such as buses, taxis and bikes, and then there are the new kids on the block, ridesharing, microtransit…the list keeps growing. With an endless supply of options, there is the potential for one integrated service, which is exactly what MaaS is attempting to deliver.
What is MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service)?
With the overwhelming array of transit options at work in our transport system, there’s a great need for consolidation. MaaS (Mobility-as-a-service) is a way for our transit offerings to be housed in the one place, operating in sync to support a smooth journey for each traveller.
Using App-based software, commuters can book a variety of transport modes within the MaaS ecosystem, including cabs, ridehailing services, buses, trains, and car or bike rentals, so that they are connected, seamless and allow travellers to arrive at their destination at the most optimal time.
How does Mobility-as-a-Service work?
MaaS sees the connectivity and co-existence of a variety of transport options, all working together to provide the best transit experience for the traveller. It works as a means of integrating the vast catalogue of transport modes on offer all in the one App, placing journey mapping at the palm of your hands. MaaS alleviates the need for multiple apps and the headache of calculating numerous pick up and drop off times across them.
This new transit model overhauls the way you traditionally schedule your trips. You could book a cab to your train station, and a connecting bus to your place of work all in the one App. The potential is endless. But for MaaS to become a viable transport model, it would take the cooperation of Transit Agencies and local governments and councils, as well as positive engagement from the wider community.
What are the benefits of MaaS?
MaaS has the ability to change the way we interact and engage with Public Transport, bringing with it a host of benefits for Transit Agencies, local governments and councils, and the wider community.
The App-based software required to operate this service model allows for seamless trip scheduling between transport modes. This means you can book cabs, ridehailing services, buses, trains, and car or bike rentals all in the one place, and have the App do all the calculating for you.
Integrating a number of transport modes to promote MaaS can also simplify costs for the traveller. For companies such as Transdev, who are leading the way in rolling out such a service, transit expenses are more easily paid through a monthly subscription fee or pay-as-you-go option. Depending on the Transit Agency and their particular business model, there is also the potential to save on costs for the traveller, attracting more business through cheaper transit offerings.
The main benefit of utilising MaaS is that it promotes the use of Public Transport over private car ownership. By making transit fees cheaper and the scheduling process more seamless, travellers would be encouraged to use Public Transport modes, impacting our community in a variety of ways. Public Transport is more environmentally friendly given that it requires less vehicles than private car ownership, and maximises on vehicle occupancy. This would, in turn, lead to less congestion on our roads, reduced damage to our infrastructure, and would free up parking spaces in our community to be utilised for other services by local governments and councils.
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How do we begin to shift towards MaaS?
Integrating a number of transport modes into one single platform is a challenging and complex undertaking. But by taking a few steps in the right direction, we could see the establishment of a full MaaS ecosystem that provides a smooth and seamless service to our community.
The first step would be to combine on-demand and mass transit modes into a single payment gateway, allowing Transit Agencies to gain necessary insights for pre-MaaS pilots. This will give them the opportunity to become familiar with the scope involved in managing such a system, offering them quality control and effective management come launch time.
But to be successful in launching MaaS, Transit Agencies would need to align with the right partners. Liftango has created an On-Demand transport platform that utilises data-driven software to schedule and manage a fleet of medium-capacity passenger vehicles. This is a comprehensive platform that could help support the generation of a full MaaS ecosystem.
What does the future of transport look like with MaaS?
Our roads and infrastructure, as they currently stand, cannot withstand the volume of cars traversing them. A favouring of private car ownership over Public Transport has caused much more congestion than anticipated, leading to a number of complications for transit.
MaaS can play a significant role in remedying this issue, forcing the favour to return once more to Public Transport over private car ownership. This would spell a variety of benefits for Transit Agencies, local governments and councils, and the community, alleviating congestion, promoting more environmentally friendly transit options, and forging a seamless journey for the commuter.
Were this transport model to be integrated into our communities, we would be privy to an expansive and efficient means of travel that supports all public transit modes. And with such a wide variety of options at our fingertips, all readily available at the click of a button, we may just see a reversion back to Public Transport as the primary mode of transit in years to come.