It should be obvious that a true Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solution is much more than just a mobility application for consumers. MaaS rises as a response to the current state of urban mobility, it is and has to be organized around public transport, and requires to assign the role of network orchestration to a public transport authority (PTA). In other words, PTA moves away from Public Transport and becomes the urban Mobility Authority.
PTA will have three responsibilities:
We believe that MaaS will start showing its real impact — private car rides will be replaced with sustainable and active mobility options — if its fundamental requirements and the reinvented role of the PTA will be adopted by the whole industry:
All of this suggests that the next item on the MaaS roadmap is the discovery of a new legal framework that would allow standardizing all of these business requirements and technical implementation. Especially, so that every MSP would not have to over-customize their services to each city. This, in turn, would allow us to move towards a situation where any mobility option could be opened with the same master key.
Next, we get back to the crux of it all — urban residents who just want to move in their cities as seamlessly and effortlessly as possible. Today, this creates mass inefficiencies, as everyone is looking for a convenient option that suits them the best. This is only amplified with products that are user-centric and don’t take into account the needs of the whole network.
For MaaS to work, we need to focus on how to help city residents adopt MaaS applications:
Currently, most of PTA or public transport operator (PTO) owned applications are designed only for a single mode, primarily fixed transport. We as city residents benefit from mostly exclusive offerings. So, cities have their mobility products, but their product design is not ready to support the multiplicity of mobility modes and providers that MaaS promises to deliver:
There already are off-the-shelf ready products that can support public authorities in launching these MaaS solutions in cities as fast as possible. More than that, these solutions are being constantly tested and continuously improved in different geographies with different use cases. Choosing a battle-tested product guarantees quicker user adoption and less maintenance than a custom solution.
The real challenge here, and the next item on the roadmap, is educating residents to switch over to MaaS rather than to stick to unimodal private mobility. What should follow, then, are measures that significantly affect car-based travel negatively, and an extensive campaign spreading the message that moving with sustainable, affordable, and safe means is more sensible and cool than sticking to current private options.
Finally, if we have the buy-in from the mobility industry, and if city residents are already adopting MaaS, then we can have a complete picture of how the urban population moves. Not just for the sake of enjoying data visualizations, rather than to achieve something counterintuitive: how to make sure that people would be able to rely on mobility less and less, and can reach their destinations in a hyper-proximate walking distance.
With a non-pervasive and holistic understanding of where people travel and why, city authorities would finally have all the tools to design cities in such a way that public services would be accessed either from home or nearby, and businesses would be incentivized to spread out evenly in all urban areas, not just in high density and high access urban centers. Thus, we as urban residents would gain access to where we need to go without even ever needing a car.
It’s a wonderful picture. But it can start only by us all agreeing on the actual problems and choosing the right solutions.
Founded in 2013, Trafi is a Lithuanian tech start-up. Trafi is working shoulder-to-shoulder with cities, countries, and companies worldwide to create the best in class Mobility-as-a-Service alternative for congested cities. Trafi offers cities the possibility to connect all mobility services into one single platform where users can check itineraries and also book their tickets and trips.
Trafi’s mission is to empower cities’ urban transportation with technology and know-how and encourage citizens to use more sustainable modes of transportation by accessing all services into one single platform. Trafi is currently live in 4 continents around the world and 7 cities.