Rubén M.Cenzano

Chartered Civil Engineer specialised in Transportation

Ingeniero de Caminos especialista en Transporte

mobility as a service gaining traction in Europe and the US

Posted On Monday, 11 January 2016

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
An alternative package could include shared taxis with a guaranteed wait of 15 minutes maximum from making a mobile phone call. The Alliance believes economies of scale will bring prices down.

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.  

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