An interview with Ishra Baksh, the Executive Director of the Mobility as a Service Program at the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.
What is MaaS, and when will it start in Australia? Find out more, along with info about our MaaS projects, plus all of our articles and stories on the topic.
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 it is. Or, perhaps more correctly, what it 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. It 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 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 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.
Sydney MaaS trial – Download the final report
The MaaS trial in Sydney project, running since April 2019, has concluded, and a final report on the project has been published. That report is downloadable from this link.
How will customers pay for MaaS?
Before we get into payment options, let’s revisit the definition of MaaS. The best one we’ve come across is this, from Cubic Transportation’s white paper, Mobility as a Service: Putting Transit Front and Center of the Conversation:
… a combination of public and private transportation services within a given regional environment that provides holistic, optimal and people-centred travel options, to enable end-to-end journeys paid by the user as a single charge, and which aims to achieve public equity objectives.
That single charge could be:
• A pay-as-you-go charge for a single trip, or a single week/month
• A weekly/monthly subscription charge
The subscriptions could be offered as numerous product bundles, varying from an ‘all you can meet’, to others with a smaller choice of transport modes available.
The benefits of MaaS
As we’ve noted above, the prime benefit of MaaS is to make commuting easy, enjoyable, and efficient for customers. Shared data will also bring efficiencies and custom for providers.
And if all of that is achieved, a major side benefit of MaaS is a reduction in the use of private cars. Particularly that primary driver of traffic congestion, the single occupant car. Other side benefits? Less congestion equals greater safety, a reduction in air pollution, and reduction in feelings of stress by commuters.
If done well, MaaS will also see an increase in active transport and senses of community. Studies have also shown that where there is a rise in active transport there is an accompanying lift in local commerce.
MaaS will be good for commuters, community, and commerce. It might not be available in Australia yet, but it is coming!
Video: Sydney MaaS trial – Final outcomes
iMOVE MaaS projects
Building trust and collaboration among MaaS stakeholders
This University of Sydney PhD project is investigating the factors that would build and improve trust and collaboration among stakeholders. The methodology involves two key phases:
- Phase I uses the Constructivist Grounded Theory Method (CGTM) applied to the cases of Whim in Helsinki, Finland and Tripi in Sydney, Australia.
- Phase II uses Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) building on the constructs and themes explored through phase I.
Find out more about the project at Building trust and collaboration among MaaS stakeholders
ODIN PASS: A Mobility as Service trial at UQ
The Department of Transport and Main Roads and The University of Queensland are actively exploring how Mobility as a Service (MaaS) schemes can enhance personal mobility locally, with a particular focus on increasing public and active transport patronage. The data collected through this project will be used to assess whether a sustainable business model for MaaS exists locally and enable the concept to be explored in further areas across Queensland.
Find out more about the project at ODIN PASS: A Mobility as Service trial at UQ
MaaS business models: Lessons for operators and regulators
This project will produce an evidence-based report that provides a summary of expected outcomes from MaaS under different policy and regulatory scenarios; identify commercial opportunities for different actors in the public and private sector across the MaaS ecosystem; and recommend pragmatic actions for public sector organisations such as Transport for NSW to enable and regulate MaaS.
Find out more about the project at MaaS business models: Lessons for operators and regulators
MaaS trial in Sydney
Our second MaaS project. This one is a 6-month trial of Mobility as a Service, in which eligible participants who work, live, and travel in the Greater Sydney area will arrange their everyday travel needs through a MaaS app linked to subscription plans.
Find out more about the project at MaaS trial in Sydney or at the May 2020 update on the project at Mobility as a Service: Progress and new insights from an Australian trial.
MaaS and on-demand transport – Consumer research and report
iMOVE already has one MaaS-related project, in fact it’s our first completed project. In it we surveyed people, looking to find out only what their desire was for MaaS, but also what they knew about it.
Find out more about the project at: