One of the biggest buzzwords in the New Mobility sector is MaaS (Mobility as a Service). MaaS is a new modus operandi where new, sustainable and functional traffic system establishes end user-driven traffic and transport services in co-operation between the private and public sector - while the consumer benefits from digitalisation and the providers of gathered information and added value. In practice, MaaS enables customers to utilise new services and opportunities by a completely new kind of traffic operators.
New Investments Ahead
The new area is growing rapidly and the market is getting bigger and bigger, especially in Europe, which has been the early pioneer of MaaS. There have been several forecasts and studies regarding the increase of the Mobility as a Service market in the future, varying from USD 106.8 billion to an over USD 1 trillion global market by 2030. However, one thing is clear from the forecasts and studies: the market is booming. For instance, a couple of years back it was noted that over 1,700 start-ups were disrupting the automotive industry and it goes without saying that new innovations are in need of capital.
Big players in the automotive and technology industries are involved in exploring the new market, either via investments (e.g. Denso, Veho, Toyota and Karsan have invested in Finnish company MaaS Global who is providing an app called Whim ) and/or doing development of their own (e.g. Tesla's autonomous mobility service).
Forerunners of MaaS
As described in our earlier article in December 2019, the Nordic countries have proven to be well equipped to take on a leading role and shift their transport system due to the legislative environment in these countries around key trends of mobility. For instance, the Finnish Act on Transport Services (Laki liikenteen palveluista in Finnish, also known as Liikennepalvelulaki ) came into force in 2018 and aims to promote the implementation of MaaS, amongst other things. The Nordic countries are not the only well positioned countries in the new mobility industry. France is also at the forefront of the development of new mobility schemes and MaaS models. On November 19th, 2019 the French Parliament adopted the so-called “Mobility Orientation Act”, covering all aspects of terrestrial transportation: individual and shared cars, carpooling, buses, railways, and chauffeur driven vehicles, along with “soft” urban mobility such as rental bikes or electric scooters.
The main objective of the new legislation is to (i) increase the accessibility of medium-sized cities and other territories that are poorly connected to major urban centers, (ii) strengthen the daily travel offering in order to remedy the saturation of city centres’ traffic and public transportation and improve the link between urban and periurban areas, and (iii) accelerate the energy transition and fight against pollution by promoting the shared use of individual modes of transport and facilitating multimodal travels.
To this end, the French legislator wishes to foster the digitalisation of the transportation sector and encourage public and private initiatives to design and implement local MaaS platforms. A specific regulatory framework has thus been created to enable local government to fund and/or set up platforms (multimodal digital services) within their territory, whose purpose would be to provide the public with all available information on the transportation offering within the area, to calculate the best itineraries based on available static and dynamic data regarding traffic, schedules and infrastructure conditions, and to propose combined (multimodal) travel.
To this effect, mobility operators within the relevant area will be invited to join the MaaS digital platform as operated by the public authority or its delegate so that their services and offerings can be visualised and ordered through the platform. This is aimed at improving the users’ knowledge of available travel services within their region and choose the most suitable mode (including a combined mode) from a timing, environmental or financial standpoint with a specific emphasis on “soft” mobility and carpooling.
The extent of the MaaS Platform responsibilities may extend as far as issuing tickets, billing and collecting payments on behalf of the mobility operators (carpooling services, rental bike operators, parking lot managers etc.), or even selling services directly through distribution arrangements.
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