Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a concept fast gaining traction on both sides of the Atlantic as a way of giving travellers digital multimodal one-stop shops and journey planning tools as an alternative to private car use. Planned delivery methods include subscription-based travel packages in Europe, and 'mobility aggregator' apps, including employee commute benefits, in the US.
Helsinki, the Finnish capital, has just kicked off the pan-European MaaS Alliance - formally unveiled at the 2015 ITS World Congress. Under the Alliance umbrella, Finnish Technical Research Centre VTT is coordinating the two-year MAASiFiE (Mobility as a Service for Linking Europe) project, which aims to deliver practical methods for making public and green transport more passenger-centric.
ITS Finland CEO Sampo Hietanen, widely regarded as the 'father' of the concept, instances a possible urban commuter package for €95 per month offering:
- Free public transport within the user's home city;
- Up to 100km of local taxi use;
- Up to 500km of car rental; and
- Up to 1,500km of national public transport use
In the US, a fast-developing MaaS project under way in California's San Francisco Bay Area, has a more employment-centric approach. It sees 'mobility aggregator' smartphone apps as the 'missing pieces' in a jigsaw puzzle of ongoing efforts aimed at reducing car dependency through a real-time travel marketplace.
Specific targets include freeing up in excess of 1050ha of surface parking for more productive uses and a 15% reduction in vehicle/km travelled by 2035.