What is MaaS?
The easiest part of defining MaaS is that it’s an acronym, the abbreviated form of Mobility as a Service.
Now to the trickier part, describing what MaaS is. Or, perhaps more correctly, what MaaS might be. Though there have been numerous attempts at a partial MaaS, in its ideal form it is still very much an idea. And that is true of Australia. MaaS isn’t here yet, but Australians do have a desire for it, as shown in the iMOVE project, the MaaS and On-Demand Transport – Consumer Research and Report.
But what is *the* ideal form MaaS will take? It will allow a person to easily plan their travel from A to B, via as many, or as few, transport modes as possible. A traveller might have the options of choosing the quickest, cheapest, easiest, or most scenic journey. Perhaps ‘least stressful’ could be an option.
It will be both bookable and payable via a single app, and that one app will guide the traveller on their journey. Although there may indeed be several transit points, and several transport modes, journeys taken by MaaS customers put their desired outcome front and centre.
What modes will be available?
Again, in a perfect MaaS world, all available transport modes will be in the mix for customers. That could be bus, train, ferry, tram, ride sharing, bike sharing, e-bikes, car hire, taxi, on-demand public transport, electric scooter, rickshaw, Segway, walking … the higher the number of modes, the more flexibility there is for customers, and the more attractive the system for both customers and providers.
It will include both public and private transport. Service providers will have to be willing to enter into a shared accounting system in order to be paid for its share of the services provided.
Crucially, these providers must be willing to share their data. If the trip is to be as seamless as possible, if delays or issues along a route need to be conveyed to the customer, if the MaaS system is to be of optimal efficiency, effectiveness, and convenience, then data MUST be shared.
Without shared data it is again the separate networks competing for primacy, rather than putting customers as the core concern.