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Glossary

Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

The Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concept covers data-driven digital services that aim to improve mobility through user-focused platforms.

Today, citizens have access to multiple forms of transport for their journey within urban areas – buses, streetcars, subways, carpooling, trains, bicycles or e-scooters. However, often these are disconnected, making it difficult to either choose the best solution, or plan a joined up, multimodal journey. Mobility as a Service solutions aim to provide a centralized, user-focused way of making urban mobility seamless.

What is Mobility as a Service (MaaS)?

The Mobility as a Service concept helps local authorities and citizens by making it easy for people to move around a city. It allows organizations to create new mobility services based on data.

By using and reusing mobility data public sector organizations and transport providers can improve the efficiency of their services or create new ones for citizens. Data can be collected and used either by the operator itself or by external partners. It is an essential resource for collaboration, between services or across the mobility ecosystem.

The goal is to design MaaS applications that allow users to plan, book and pay for their various trips (regardless of the means of transportation selected), all through a single platform. This enables effective intermodal transport, simplifying the process of getting from A to B. For example, a user could book a subway ticket, and then hire an e-bike from the station to finish their journey.

Mobility as a Service brings together public sector players, such as city authorities and transport operators with private organizations, from taxi companies to e-bike operators.

Why is mobility data valuable?

With greater pollution and increasing traffic jams, improving mobility in large cities is a real challenge. MaaS solutions make it possible to facilitate the easier, more seamless use of public transport, removing cars from the roads. They deliver multiple benefits:

  • Simplifying the wide range of available transport options: through a single interface and subscription, users can easily use different urban transport means to travel during the same journey.
  • Improved traffic flow: sensors are installed at strategic points (especially traffic lights) to analyze traffic in real time. MaaS solutions can update users on current traffic conditions, helping them choose better routes/modes of transport.
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions: MaaS solutions support the energy transition on two levels. Firstly, because public transport or shared vehicles emit less greenhouse gas than individual vehicles. Equally, they promote sustainable mobility such as through bike or scooter hire. They can even suggest pleasant walking routes to complete a journey.
  • Compliance with legal obligations: many countries have put in place legislation to share transport data for the common good. In addition, MaaS solutions help cities meet regulatory obligations in terms of carbon footprint, air quality, and environmental responsibility.

How can cities implement Mobility as a Service (MaaS)?

Public or private sector organizations looking to implement MaaS should cover these areas:

  • Create a platform: this gathers together all mobility data and makes it available for analysis through dashboards.
  • Booking and payment: to simplify intermodal trips, platforms should integrate online booking and payment for different forms of transport within the same interface. It is also possible to provide a monthly or weekly pass that allows citizens to use all modes of transportation.
  • Share your platform with all users: to encourage all citizens to use your data services, it is imperative to make your platform or app easy to use and able to meet user requirements.

4 examples of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions

Mobility data allows public or private actors to create new services. Here are some examples of concrete applications:

  • The Bordeaux metropolis has set up an API to promote mobility within the region. This tool allows the sharing of up-to-date data to provide citizens with real-time information. This includes the time of the next bus, tram or train, detours, available self-service bicycles, and available parking spaces. Additionally it allows the city to analyze traffic across the area.
  • The Whim app is one of the first MaaS platforms available. It was launched in 2016. Today, the app is available in Helsinki, Turku, Vienna, Tokyo, Switzerland, Belgium and the Middle East. It allows you to plan, book and pay for all intermodal trips in one place.
  • The Transit application also offers online payment for various means of transportation, including self-service bicycles. Here, the application integrates the public transport capabilities of local authorities, but also the transport services of private companies.
  • The Meep application: this mobility as a service solution is active in Barcelona, Malta, Lisbon, Valencia, Cyprus, Seville, Zaragoza, Malaga and the entire Asturias region.
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