Life is about the journey, not only the destination. And that adage rings loud and true quite literally in the transportation industry. Today’s gig economy and the rise of cutting-edge technological services have enabled a new paradigm: Mobility as a Service (MaaS).
Mobility as a Service goes far beyond getting a person from A to B; it’s about understanding the journey and taking a person from A to. Z. At its core, MaaS is about people movement. It’s more than a smart way to get to a destination and it’s more than the digitization of acquiring transportation. It’s a marriage between various forms of transportation, technology and user adoption and creating a seamless on-demand service that’s set to change the way we live and provide a solution to some of the most pressing issues facing our society.
How does MaaS work?
MaaS is made possible through three core technologies: mobile, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT). More and more people interact with the technological world through one main screen: their smartphone. A mobile device contains the front-end of the MaaS experience; a unified application that allows people to plan, book, and pay for a journey.
But this high dependence on smartphones wouldn’t be possible without increased connectivity thanks to advances in wireless communications technology. The ubiquity of this wireless network gives rise to the Internet of Things, a wireless network of physical devices, vehicles and appliances that people interact with in real-time, integrated into the fabric of our world. The sensors connected to physical objects in the mobility world influence how transportation systems, personal vehicles, traffic control and even smart parking lots function.
Faster mobile speeds have contributed to the connectivity of users across urban areas, and this usage has given birth to an enormous amount of data which can be analyzed and used to improve operations and efficiency in allocating resources. As the volume of data increases exponentially, machine learning and AI become necessary to gain intelligent insights that can increase the value of services.
What are the changes we can expect with MaaS?
MaaS will likely cause a decline in car ownership, as more and more people will find that this emerging paradigm is more cost efficient, and in many ways more convenient. We’ll see all forms of mobility consumed as a service. User adoption of newer forms of mobility will continue to rise, like bicycle and scooter sharing. As well, we will see more investment in public transportation in order to effectively integrate it into a MaaS system. Down the line, we can expect to see fleets of electric and autonomous shared vehicles driving us around. Time lost looking for parking will be a thing of the past and time gained to work, socialize or relax will be the new reality.
Not only will we be freed of the maintenance of owning a personal vehicle, but our roads will reap the benefits as well. The streets will be quieter, the air will be cleaner, and people will be efficiently moving around.
How will this look in the future?
A study from Deloitte forecasts that dramatic transformation in the mobility market will occur in the next 25 years and that shared mobility will account for 80% of the mobility market by 2050.
It is, of course, digitally savvy millennials with their preference for renting over owning that is leading the shift to mobility services, with 70% already opting for ride-sharing services when going out for an evening, and 15% saying they use such services up to five times per week. Ease of use, and the ability to open an app and get a ride were cited as the top two reasons for mobility service preference.
The idea is to have a totally open mobility marketplace, where all transportation suppliers have access to demand. The HERE Mobility Marketplace does exactly that; connecting mobility suppliers and riders in one place while offering cities and transit planners smart routing options that alleviates pain points of cities and meet consumers’ mobility needs.
Smart Cities of the future
All of this points to a huge change in the way cities need to operate in the future. The Smart City concept is based on the idea of using technology to optimize basic operations of the city and its services and connect them with its citizens.
Smart Cities must, by definition, rely on smart transport. Mobility and transport lie at the heart of every urban sprawl, and without proper mobility, a city grinds to a halt. Cities that understand the way in which its citizens are moving and have mobility options available to choose from will reap the true benefits of the information age, bringing an unprecedented level of efficiency and autonomy.
With an all-important combination of ‘need and want’ governing its growth, mobility as a service is bound to become the next chapter in the way we move. MaaS is a complex and collaborative ecosystem of transportation service providers, users who are ready to progress beyond private cars to find a better way to move, and the technology that brings it all together. It is the answer how we are going to deal with increasingly dense urban populations and avoid costly and ineffective transportation infrastructure investments. It’s giving people the freedom to move on their own terms in streamlined cities.