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Bringing the next revolution in mobility with Mobility as a Service

Bringing the next revolution in mobility with Mobility as a Service

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) will bring the next revolution in mobility by giving access to a wider range of transportation services, beyond just booking, navigation or ticket purchasing. Grouping together all means of transportation in a city, public or private, MaaS platforms will allow users to plan and book door-to-door trips using a single app, as well as help cities improve the traffic experiences of their citizens.


The curious case of sharing

In recent times, we have seen a markedly different way of matching supply and demand - a trend called “collaborative consumption.” The power of Internet is now used to reinvent traditional market behaviors, such as buying, renting and lending, through the use of technology. It does not simply redefine the way we consume; it encapsulates the very change in human nature – from the culture of “me” to the culture of “we.”

Collaborative consumption or the sharing economy has proliferated across various sectors of the economy including hospitality (Airbnb), education (Italki), financing (Kickstarter), the labor market (TaskRabbit), property (BRICKX), in freight and passenger transportation. A multitude of application-based, shared mobility propositions have spread across both developed and developing countries, being led (with controversy) by pioneers like Uber, Lyft, Curb, Bla Bla Car, Didi Chuxing, Grab and Ola. These transportation network companies operate as peer-to-peer (or customer-to-customer) mutualization schemes, challenging the traditional business-to-customer retail channel.


We need to rethink the idea of mobility

The technological developments and general access to technology were the enablers of the reborn of shared mobility. Shared mobility refers to transportation services that are shared among users, including a variety of options from services where the vehicle itself is shared i.e., various forms of car sharing ranging from the traditional (or station based) to free-floating, as well as bike-sharing, to services were the ride is shared.

Through the advance of information and communications technology, GPS and smartphones these services are much more accessible and convenient. The different technological advances led to dramatic improvements of existing services and creation of new ones.


What is Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is seen as one of the next big things in transportation, allowing people to seamlessly plan and pay for door-to-door multi-modal journeys. At its core, MaaS relies on a digital platform that integrates end-to-end trip planning, booking, electronic ticketing, and payment services across all modes of transportation, public or private. It offers users the possibility to use a single app to plan and book door-to-door journeys instead of having to locate, book, and pay for each mode of transportation separately.

Journey planning apps, which help users identify and compare different modal options for getting to their destinations, have become commonplace, with local and global offerings available in every city. Cities and municipalities can create a localized MaaS solution that works with the transportation assets and private-sector partners available.  

It goes without saying that transition to MaaS solutions needs to take into account a series of prerequisites: infrastructure, data providers, transport operators and trusted mobility providers.


The architecture of a MaaS and some of the features which could be found

At the center of the architecture are the actors that make MaaS feasible, tangible and visible in terms of its technical functionality:

  • The Mobility Service Provider develops a customer interface that will be provided through an appropriate device (notably a smartphone app in the short term). The Customer Interface provides the communication link with the customer and supplies a range of features that support the value proposition. These features may include providing the customer with the ability to purchase mobility, receive personalized and contextualized information on which to make real-time travel decisions.

  • Data flow between the Customer Interface and the Back Office System is enabled. This can provide journey planning, transaction, and payment, billing and usage information.

  • The Data and Communications Service Provider offers data and analytics capabilities. This includes processing, re-packaging, and publishing data from a range of sources including open data and private data. The data sources might vary: the available routes, pricing information, real time asset/vehicle position, transaction validation, mode usage or characteristics

  • Transport Service Providers provide capacity and access to mobility assets. Transport Operators can include traditional public transport operators, parking operators, electric vehicle charging infrastructure owners and petrol filling station owners. Individual citizens who wish to share their own vehicles by offering them as a service through the MaaS Provider are also considered with this category. The Transport Operators share data collected from a range of sources, including potentially crowdsourcing activities.


How PitechPlus wants to explore MaaS opportunities - City 4.0

We want to build a holistic urban mobility solution catering to needs of local administration and citizens for a more sustainable city life by bringing technology expertise on urban mobility and a solid mobility solution. We believe technology can bring together public and private actors in one platform with some of its features detailed below:

Journey planner: The app allows users to plan their journeys from a point A to a point B, offering the ability to select the routes based on various preferences such as fastest, cheapest, greenest option. All transportation means will be considered in a planning route, featuring intermodal journeys by public transport, bike sharing, e-scooters etc. Information with regards to distance, duration, and price will be made available in this step.

Booking: This stage follows the journey planning stage and it is the place where users will be able to book any transportation means that require in advance booking. The booking system will be a central platform where users and transporters are brought together, with the aim to integrate different booking systems for a more pleasant user experience. Clear information about pricing and provider will be easily accessible to allow users to make informed decisions.

Real time information: For seamless assistance during planning and traveling, real time information will be featured in city 4.0. This means cities can inform travelers about delays, closures, congestion areas and quickly redirect the citizens to optimal travel routes. This will free up city traffic and ensure most efficient use of existing transportation means. It would also ensure better travel experiences, encouraging citizens to utilize alternative transportation means before choosing their own cars.  

Payment: To significantly enhance the user experience, city 4.0 aims to have one single payment for the entire journey. Considerations such as monthly subscriptions will be taken into account when the overall journey cost is presented. It will be of utmost importance to provide all cost information before the user authorizes the payment. Following the payment, a proof of purchase will be issued, with the possibility to adapt this proof based on individual city or provider needs.

Intelligent City Mobility Analytics: We have developed new ways to identify and analyze data from multiple sources with advanced algorithms, that gives insights on the usage of urban mobility options, demographic and behavioral mobility patterns, quality of the transit system, being also capable of making predictions on future usage, capacity planning, and policy definition.

Future of mobility will bring further developments, all with the potential to disrupt and lead to another mobility revolution. MaaS is the next step and will certainly change the way in which we all view mobility. Therefore, with Mobility as a Service solutions, the user will no longer only be the consumer in the transport system; instead, the whole transport system will be generated together with and by the people.