Talking Transportation: Industry Thought Leaders on MaaS in 2019


Mobility as a Service has been the talk of the town for many years, with buzzwords “Smart Mobility,” “Multi-Modal,” and “Intelligent Transportation” thrown into the mix. The days of a single mode of transportation has shifted in favor of the Sharing Economy, in particular carpooling and ride-sharing apps such as our SoMo app. Not to mention, the availability of scooters and bicycles available along the way. The way we travel from A to B has changed, and how urbanites get around has been reshaped.  As MaaS materializes - of which our Mobility Marketplace is a part of - we asked some of the mobility industry’s leading figures to share their perspective and definition of MaaS.  

 Azra Habibovic Azra Habibovic, Senior Researcher, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden  

From my perspective, MaaS is a combination of different transportation services enabling seamless, sustainable, safe and ethical mobility centered around user needs. MaaS is about behavior change, from the traditional setup where everyone owns their means of transportation to using a shared solution. As such, MaaS has a tremendous potential to transform our mobility and help us achieving societal and environmental goals. To get there, however, society should require that MaaS is electrified and takes into account the marginalized geographical areas and population. In future, when technology is proven to be safe, using automated vehicles for MaaS should also be required.  


Jessica Alba Jessica Alba, Transportation Policy Manager in the San Francisco Bay Area  

A fully integrated MaaS solution will alleviate a number of the steps associated with today’s travel. The reason so many of us get in a car every day is because it swiftly takes us from one point to another without necessary payments and transfers. A successful MaaS solution will mimic this type of travel by providing a reliable one-stop-shop for a combination of public and private services and modes as well as various payment options and plans. It will give the customer reasonable travel options depending on time and financial constraints, emissions and miles traveled, and even calories burned. It will also reduce the stress and confusion often associated with trying out a new system or service, making the journey more seamless even for first-time users. Ultimately, MaaS will provide the necessary linkage for a successful multimodal journey across multiple public and private operators.  


Sampo Hietanen Sampo Hietanen, CEO of MaaS Global 

Mobility as a Service is a seismic paradigm shift in transportation, and by far the best way to tackle both climate change and urban congestion. The core insight of MaaS is to combine the freedom experienced by an individual with the need to make transportation drastically more efficient than it is today. In practice it means beating the private car in its own game, freedom of mobility. You pay a yearly or a monthly fee and the world is yours, without the hassle of maintaining a vehicle and excessive burden on the environment. To me, MaaS is a future I want to fight for and live in. 


Rob van Essen Rob van Essen, Independent, Former TomTom  

In the years ahead, society will witness one of the biggest changes of the past century. Transportation, which to date has been largely dominated by the privately-owned combustion engine cars, will develop into Mobility, in which the service is the central business concept and the means are a wide variety of clean, private but shared mobility modes. This includes but is not restricted to shared electric cars, bicycles, scooters, etc. These will be seamlessly integrated into a system of mass transportation within cities and between cities. This Mobility as a Service concept will be optimized for predicted demand-response through the deployment of location-based big data and artificial intelligence. Consequences will include a redesign of the city's physical road infrastructure and a vast reduction of pollution and congestion. 


Andy Boenau Andy Boenau, Director of Mobility Strategy, Gotcha Group 

Half of American's trips are 3 miles or less, and it costs up to $10,000 each year to own a minivan or SUV. We car-owning Americans pay a fortune to go nowhere. Subscription-based transport (i.e. library of mobility options) will save us a fortune, increase choice and freedom, and reduce single-occupant vehicles. The tipping point for behavior change will come when customers have convenient transport options at a fair monthly price. Subscriptions can’t come soon enough! 


 Oliver O’Brien Senior Research Associate at University College London   

MaaS is about making it easy to travel efficiently within multiple cities. This is achieved by having multi-city service operators, worldwide standards and data interchange formats, and user-friendly applications. MaaS as a concept is demonstrated by, when travelling to cities abroad, I am able open up a dockless bikeshare app, rideshare app or multimodal journey planner, and it just works - no need to download a specific app for the city I’m visiting or to have to decide on the mode first. Ideally, the app I open would cover both multiple modes of transport and also multiple service providers for the same mode. We are certainly not there yet, for most cities and larger service providers. MaaS is the mechanism by which we will move to global, multi-modal solutions. It is also about cutting down on waste - the waste of street space by vehicles not being used, the waste of energy by not optimizing capacities, speeds, and routes when they are being used, and the waste of our own time in not being able to discover the most efficient and economical way of making a journey. 


Rachel Allen Rachel Allen, Group Product Manager - Shared Mobility, Arity  

I think we’re at a pivotal moment of acceleration for MaaS, with an increasing convergence of technology and culture that opens the door for rapid adoption. To me, broadly servicizing mobility says that we can servicize practically anything as a society. And this is a good thing because with service comes elevated consumer expectations, and with elevated consumer expectations comes elevated standards. So basically, MaaS puts us on the path to a generally better experience with life. 


Andy Taylor Andy Taylor, Strategic Director, Cubic Transportation Systems   

MaaS is more than a new concept or paradigm for mobility, it’s a lever that can empower cities to take ownership for the benefits of all citizens to improve transport and the way of life. A core premise of MaaS is the combination of public and private sectors to deliver a harmonious solution to the end user, but in order to achieve this, public agencies and private companies need to be open and honest with each other on legislation, data sharing and driving ridership for all concerned. 

Subscription models for MaaS will not happen in large cities overnight – there has to be an evolution towards these services. Customers are reticent to rely so heavily on MaaS Services without the solution being proven first. We need to work as a community of like-minded stakeholders to make sure that door-to-door services can be provided by public and private stakeholders in an efficient and cost effective manner on a repeated basis before MaaS subscription services will be accepted as the norm. 


Boyd Cohen Boyd Cohen, Co-Founder, IoMob Tech 

There is beauty in the rapid emergence of new startups and mobility services being introduced to residents and visitors around the world.  However, to make sense of the growing diversity of such services, cities desperately need to support seamless access to all of the public and private services in their city in a way that creates more cohesion and reduces congestion while reducing dependence on car ownership for achieving inclusive mobility.   

Mobility as a Service should allow for: discovery of mobility services around the user, multimodal routing, optimized for speed, price and user preferences, booking and onboarding of new services and integrated payment.  In our view, MaaS should provide the optimal route for the end user agnostic to the mobility service provider or to revenue considerations. Finally, inclusive MaaS should not only focus on cost effective mobility for all residents and visitors, but inclusive access for startups and even independent service providers to be able to collaborate and compete with established public and private operators on a level playing field. 


Lauren Isaac Lauren Isaac,  Director of Business Initiatives, EasyMile  

To me, MaaS presents me with options for how to avoid using my car to get to where I'm going matched with my unique needs of that moment. Some days I may have my son with me, some days might be raining, and other days I might be up for biking - and depending on what I have going on, I want to know how I can get to where I'm going at the right cost, reliability, and my immediate ride needs. Whether it is taking a driverless shuttle to a rail station, grabbing a Lyft, or riding my bike, I have all of my mobility options clearly laid out for my consideration.   

It's clear that MaaS as a concept can be looked at from many different angles. While the underlying benefits are quite clear, it is inspiring to see all the ways in which industry leaders imagine a future with MaaS and all the ways in which they are working to bring their vision to life. 


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