Mobility as a Service
Inspiration from pioneers worldwide
Even though the benefits of MaaS are widely touted and publicized, it is still in the early stages of development. A recent study by TNO, a Dutch Independent Research Organization, lists key MaaS ingredients – building blocks that need development to grow towards a mature MaaS ecosystem. Diana Vonk Noordegraaf, Geiske Bouma and Nico Larco share the insights from this international comparative case study that aims to contribute to global discussions and knowledge exchanges on MaaS.
MaaS is the integration of various forms of transport services into a single mobility service accessible on demand, © Canva Pro
MaaS is a mobility concept that is developing worldwide with services growing in number and versatility. The MaaS ecosystems around these services, in which existing and new players are active, are also developing, but the distribution of roles and responsibilities and the use of policy instruments by the government differ greatly between countries.
TNO has carried out a comparative case study on behalf of and in collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) to gain insight into MaaS governance in various countries. TNO looked at cases in Austria, Finland, Île-de-France (France), Los Angeles (US), Singapore and the Netherlands and conducted desk research and at least one interview for each case. The results are published in the report Policy options to steer Mobility as a Service: international case studies.
TNO Innovation for Life
The context in which MaaS is developed is of key importance, there is no one-size-fits-all approach
Public authorities use and experiment with a wide range of policy instruments to develop MaaS, © Canva Pro
What is Mobility as a Service
MaaS “is the integration of various forms of transport services into a single mobility service accessible on demand” (MaaS Alliance, 2017). Different ‘levels’ of MaaS characterise the goals and phases of MaaS development, which range from ‘level 0’ with no integration to ‘level 4’, in which MaaS service provision can be steered towards societal goals at a systemic level (Sochor, et al., 2018). Policies and incentives can be used to steer users and providers towards optimization of mobility use in terms of societal goals such as sustainability and equity. A proper understanding of the starting point and the direction of each individual MaaS ecosystem, starts with the local “wheels on the ground”.
Figure 1 Presence of new mobility options and public transport (TNO), © TNO
Governance of MaaS
The development of MaaS raises questions such as: To which societal goals should the MaaS initiative contribute? What is the steering geared towards (e.g., the number of providers or users of a MaaS service)? Which policy options are applied? How is the pilot/living lab/policy organised? Which stakeholders are involved? What is the context and what are the (local) tasks and challenges? Is a specific policy instrument being tested (for example, an innovative form of purchasing, data sharing standards, etc.)? All these questions concern aspects of governance and steering.
TNO has developed a Governance Framework that defines governance through six main categories and three categories of contextual factors. It concerns the governance and steering approaches of public authorities (such as in choosing, prioritizing, directing, and steering) in the field of New Mobility and MaaS. This framework aims to give an overview of what governance entails and was applied in the study to support a structured case analysis.
Figure 2: TNO Governance framework for New Mobility/MaaS, © TNO
The first key lesson learned is that MaaS is still in the early stages of development. There is currently a general low uptake and utilization of MaaS services. All of the cases studied are primarily focused on developing the base conditions for MaaS deployment. TNO’s study defined the following key MaaS ingredients: new mobility options, public transport, MaaS platform(s), data (e.g., data standards and data sharing protocols), steering towards societal goals and uptake. Each MaaS strategy should pay attention to all these key MaaS ingredients and tailor the efforts to the specific context.
MaaS development is in its early stages and there is no ‘optimal’ model for deployment. Looking at different models around the globe helps us understand the kinds of things that work – and don’t work – in different contexts
Currently, most of the effort is in getting these MaaS services up and running. Public authorities use and experiment with a wide range of policy instruments to develop MaaS. Despite the variety of policy instruments that are applied in the cases studied, we found that there is relatively little steering of MaaS services. The main focus is on financing pilots, services, platforms and access/regulation to ensure a level playing field. However, many cases have a considerable number of accompanying governmental actions to promote the MaaS ecosystem. The fact that the main focus of the policies lies on a diverse set of steering is probably related to the fact that all cases are still in the early phases of development. Currently, policies focus on growing the deployment and use of MaaS. It is expected that more targeted steering options will come into play when the MaaS system is (more) mature (e.g., a large range of shared modes are offered, MaaS platforms are in place and more widely used). At that point, government action could play a stronger role in steering towards societal goals.
Figure 3: Policy instruments applied in cases, © TNO
Last, public authorities have important yet very different roles in steering MaaS. The study showed that in some countries the focus lies on active steering and the expansion of mobility and MaaS services, while in others a more reactive attitude is taken. Who the main actors are, also differs per case. In some countries public authorities play a major role and set up their own MaaS platform, in other countries, framework conditions are set and/or the government plays a facilitating role in building an ecosystem. Every case, however, shows that public-private cooperation is key. Well-formed and balanced public-private sector collaborations that are tailored to the context and culture, as well as a strong level of trust, may prove to be the most effective strategy for accelerating MaaS development. This can ensure end-user benefits while also steering towards societal goals.
“Only by managing the mobility transition, innovations can contribute to our societal goals: zero casualties, zero emissions and zero loss. MaaS has the potential to contribute to these goals, yet this requires looking ahead and the strengthening of the knowledge base on MaaS
Public authorities use and experiment with a wide range of policy instruments to develop MaaS © Canva Pro
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