The arrival of many new players in the mobility sector has disrupted the balance established over the last decades. These new offers are transforming users’ requirements and their mode of travel in the city. The diversity of mobility services can lead to greater complexity for the user who needs to find the best route alternative and have to switch from one application to another depending on the ≈ chosen operator.
Mobility as a service makes a shift of perspective from the mobility system towards the user. MaaS is a continuous process of aggregation with multiple layers of services and functionalities. It simplifies the shift between different modes of transport for a single trip offering a smooth transition from information, booking to payment.
MaaS is not a new concept… It is important to clarify the difference between MaaS and existing concepts of multimodality and intermodality:
At Via ID, we define MaaS as an aggregation process including a plurality of mobility services and different levels of functionality ranging from information, itinerary, payment, booking to multimodal subscription.
MaaS is a hybrid ecosystem composed of digital elements (platforms, applications) and physical infrastructures (vehicles, roads, parking spaces, stations, etc.).
Why is everyone talking about MaaS?
MaaS is a way to tackle complexity and simplify urban experience. Dense cities offer multiple modes of transport (shared mobility, on-demand, self-service and traditional transport).
Dense cities offer multiple modes of transportation (shared mobility, on demand, free floating and traditional transportation). The arrival of new entrants in this sector lead to more complexity for the user whose dream is to get access to the most convenient modes with the tap of a finger. It will thus be able to choose its modes of mobility according to criteria such as price, travel time, quality of service or safety.
For cities, MaaS represents an opportunity to solve congestion, pollution and parking problems. Cities perceive MaaS as a strategic way to optimize their operations at a reasonable cost. MaaS platforms give the opportunity to combine existing mass-transit schemes with a growing variety of private services. Public authority should demonstrate their ability to renew the regulatory framework to keep control over transportation management and to lead to an overall optimization.
For traditional operators, MaaS is a strategic pivot. Public transport operators are over specialized over one vertical. They were not initially conceived to become aggregators. Regulatory developments should allow them to exploit their full potential to aggregate multiple services and change their positioning to be more user-centric.
For startups, MaaS is a great market opportunity. Startups developed two strategies to position themselves over MaaS. We can mention startups such as Uber, which already benefit from a high level of traction regarding its critical mass of users. Its leader position in ride-hailing allows it to diversify its assets in order to offer more services and become an aggregator.
Other startups such as Whim or Ubigo are starting from scratch and must set up agreements with the various players in order to reference their solutions on their application.
“MaaS is the new paradigm for the cities of tomorrow.”
Yann Marteil, Chief Executive Officer of Via ID
Today, we identify 3 levels of MaaS aggregation from the simplest to the most complete:
Level 1: Information platform
Level 2: Aggregation platform
Level 3: Subscription platform
At Via ID, we don’t believe in a winner takes all scenario. Different offers via different actors will be set up on a local level (region) depending on the constraints of each territory and the current offers. This plurality will require significant supervision from the Mobility Organizing Authorities, who will have a very important role to play.
MaaS should be seen as a complement to our current uses, whether we are used to public transport, our private car or any other form of soft mobility. The main challenge remains to successfully convert users in order to create value for each actor, whether public or private.