Mobility as a service refers to integrated technology that gives people possible routes from A to B. The technology takes different forms, including ride hailing, electrified vehicles, bike routes, and many more. By bringing together mobility solutions in an easy-to-use way it has the potential to make transport options cleaner, cheaper and more efficient.
Maas and the mobility puzzle
“The exciting thing about Maas is that it’s the key to unlocking the mobility puzzle”, said Louis Burns, Partner, Mazars. “If an individual wants a low carbon method to get around, Maas has the solutions. The rules of how we get around cities are changing quickly. There are less places for parking and more zero and low carbon emission centres… alongside much more use of trains and buses. But you have to get to the start of the journey and that is where Maas comes into the play.”
While some apps for navigating urban areas are incredibly popular, Maas is still an emerging market. Krista Huhtala-Jenks, Head of Ecosystem & Sustainability, MaaS Global; Vice-President and Treasurer, MaaS Alliance, described the advantages of Maas as a consumer service being built from the ground the up. “The [Maas] business model is your sustainability strategy and vice versa. Transport is the second most expensive part of household bills and is one of the biggest emitters of carbon.” With Maas’s ability to take existing pieces of the model, she said, you can help people make greener choices like walking and cycling, which are also the cheapest.
The question of convenience
For Veruschka Becquart, Development, Marketing and Communication Director, CaoCao Mobility, Maas is all about convenience. She gave the four different approaches that providers offer: the shortest route, the best value option, the best service and the lowest carbon emitting choice.
Her emphasis on ease was echoed by Huhtala-Jenks, who said customers are “first and foremost, driven by convenience… this the first promise you have to make.” What is crucial for Maas’s development, she advised, is providing people with access. “Information is not enough… you have to provide people with the guarantee they can do it [the journey] easily. Promise that wherever you need to go, we will get you there.”
Younger generations want sustainable mobility solutions
Having grown up with technology embedded into their daily routine, younger generations are likely to see Maas as an obvious way to plan journeys. But their interest in Maas goes further, as Becquart explained: younger generations are more aware of environmental issues and want solutions that take the environment into account.
Usage over ownership
For Grégory Derouet, Partner, Mazars, Maas could go mainstream as people question what their use of transport says about them: “Before, my car was a part of my identity, but now my identity is about how I use it. Companies have to respond to that and meet the new needs of users.”
That switch in ownership to usage was picked up by Jeremy Rice, Partner, Mazars: “Ten years ago in the US everyone had a car but now more people are choosing public transport and Maas is able to provide a customisable mobility solution, even for longer journeys. However, the challenge, here and elsewhere, is the distance between different urban areas. We don’t have the Maas infrastructure to get outside of the near suburbs, so people are reluctant to fully adopt Maas because the infrastructure is not there to get from city to city.”
The impact of Maas on people’s transport usage is leading manufacturers to change what they build. For Derouet, the top priority for manufacturers is “to figure out where you are in the market and use data to do better.” Event speakers agreed Maas is influencing the vehicles that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are putting out. “People are treating a vehicle as a device”, said Derouet, “if car ownership moves to just a few hours usage per day or week then vehicles will need to be simple to use. However, that leads you down a path to something that is very generic. The challenge for manufacturers is then to create something simple but also different to competitors.”
What’s stalling Maas?
For all of its progress, Maas is still taking time to catch on. Huhtala-Jenks says the OEM and old-school operational models are stalling development: “This is stopping sustainability and [ultimately] not giving people what they need.”
Burns warns that government support is pivotal to Maas: “Ideally, successive governments need to support this. Without it – that consistent approach – it will fall down.”
Headline success in-the-making
Asked for the headlines they would like to be reading in a decade’s time about the growth and success of Maas, Burns and Becquart agreed on: ‘How Maas helped the world achieve zero carbon emissions’. Rice ended the event with: ‘How we’ve become less drivers and more passengers and used transport time to free up the rest of our days.’
Watch the second instalment of the Mazars ‘Reinventing the wheel’ events below. To find out more about what’s driving change in mobility, including sustainable solutions and the rise of mobility as a service, go here.
Recorded on Wednesday, 27 January 2021