Why are MaaS Alliances forming?
- The key concept behind MaaS is to put the users, both travellers and goods, at the core of transport services, offering them tailor made mobility solutions based on their individual needs.
- Easy access to the most appropriate transport mode or service will be included in a bundle of flexible travel service options for end users.
Scandinavian / Eastern Europe MaaS Alliances
- A Scandinavian-led ‘MaaS Alliance’ of 20 European organisations was established in 2014/15 commited to work towards “a European-wide common approach to MaaS through public and private stakeholder cooperation”. Partners included Ericsson, ITS Finland/Sweden/Ukraine, National Mobile Payment Plc. (Hungary), Swedish Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation, Transport for London and Xerox.
- This alliance is supporting ‘MaaS Finland’ who have an ambition of becoming the world’s first ‘true’ MaaS operator, which will involve launching services over 2016/17.
- This initiative has been strongly supported by the Finnish Government, who have commenced a reform of their transport market, by bringing all legal provisions under one act (the Transport Code), aimed to make new market entry easier and promote interoperability between transport systems, that will enable ‘genuine service packages’ to meet rising consumer expectations.
- In particular, the intention is for taxi transport licences to be made company-specific, while removing current constraints around vehicle license quotas. Of note is also their intention to remove requirements for driver-specific licencing.
- Helsinki Transport Authority are also developing an Open Source Code Licencing approach to solution development. With this approach they have already collaborated with the Finnish Transport Agency to deploy a successful multi-modal real-time journey planner for Finland, with an in-house open-source development team.
- This means that the ITS infrastructure they have developed is open for adaption for other cities across the world. As a result, cities such as New York, Oslo and Paris are already benefiting from the open source code developed.
German/United States MaaS Alliances
- The United States were the first to deliver pilots of new ‘hybrid’ taxi/bus services, based around the private operation of 8-12 seater vehicles, that fall outside of the bus regulation powers of most cities, through Bridj in Boston in 2014 (now also launched pilots in Washington and Kansas City). This model was then copied by Uber (with Uberhop), that was piloted first in Chicago, Seattle over 2015 and was then launched earlier this year abroad in Toronto and Manilla (Phillipines).
- Meanwhile, while other car manufacturers, such as BMW, have been making significant in-roads into the Car Club market. On the other hand, German Daimler Group have succeeded in launching the first Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) MaaS platform and app (Moovel) for the German cities of Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart and the US cities of Austin and Portland.
- This means that customers in Germany can now book their Car Club car (car2go/Flinkster), taxi (mytaxi) and rail journey (Deutsche Bahn) from one app. The focus of Moovel is to create a ‘platform of platforms’, but does not necessary tackle the issue of ‘true fares integration’.
UK MaaS Alliances
- Transport Systems Catapult are about to release a research study they have completed on behalf of the Department for Transport on Mobility as a Service.
- Transport for Greater Manchester and the Department for Transport have recently completed a collaborative feasibility study into the potential for Bridj/UberHop style 8-12 seater flexible transport solutions to play a role in a city such as Manchester, called Simply-Connect.
- West Midlands Integrated Transport Authority recently commissioned transport consultancy Atkins Global to provide them with a detailed assessment of the potential for Mobility as a Service to transform service provision in Birmingham.
- There is a Scottish MaaS alliance, centred around the powerhouse of Glasgow and tourist city of Edinburgh, which is currently focusing its efforts in working with interested US companies such as Xerox and IBM.