A framework of support to scale in Mobility as a Service
This project seeks to consider the (ideal) MaaS framework that benefits users and providers in a sustainable way. It acknowledges the many actors that form the ecosystem, their specific value adding roles and potential barriers to the adaptation of a sustainable MaaS framework.
In order to orchestrate a successful, sustainable and reliable Mobility as a Service (MaaS) ecosystem, there is a need to consider a vast array of enabling frameworks. The adoption or support of any one framework in Australia is likely to have ramifications for all ecosystem participants and ultimately the adoption of MaaS within the wider community.
As a result, careful consideration of the many objectives that ecosystem participants may have is needed, in order to bring about the best possible solution and avoid an unstable, ego-driven MaaS world.
The project will develop and evaluate a proposed framework that involves a tendering authority that is responsible for a common access platform into which competitive tendered MaaS consortium bids are assessed with multiple ‘winners’ selected to ensure coverage of all multi-modal and multi-service products across the successful bid.
Such an approach serves to give users choices and ensure a competitive MaaS market administered via a common access platform. A governance model will be developed that reflects the committed interests of the relevant stakeholders.
There is a substantial and growing literature on Mobility as a Service (MaaS) defined as a type of service that, through a joint digital channel, enables users to plan, book and pay for multiple types of multi-modal mobility services.
Simply put, MaaS is ‘a one-stop travel management platform digitally unifying trip creation, purchase and delivery’. While we might question the extent to which much of the literature and commentary is really about MaaS (since this gets us nowhere)1, we begin by setting out what we think MaaS supporters would like to see in place as a MaaS framework, that benefits users and providers in a sustainable way and moves us on from consideration to action.
This is not an easy task, but vital to discussing the challenges and highlighting the necessary conditions to move MaaS out of a niche future to one that is scalable. The challenge is specially (but not exclusively) on the supply side, providing the services that users want to consume and this is the focus of this research.
The key essential elements proposed and assessed in this project are an access platform that houses all digital apps of MaaS providers, the way in which data and the types of data are shared in the MaaS access framework, the governance model that appeals to all participating parties, and the sharing of the benefits (e.g., revenue), costs, and associated risks, amongst participating parties.
The proposed framework to be tested in detail with potential stakeholders involves a tendering authority that is responsible for a common access platform into which competitive tendered MaaS consortium bids are assessed with multiple ‘winners’. If left to the market alone, integration between mobility operators is likely to be ad-hoc and could strengthen the monopolistic power of certain operators as they jockey for competitive edge.
The tendering framework with multiple providers selected resolves this concern. The selected winners will be chosen to ensure coverage of all multi-modal and multi-service products in the selected market across the successful bids, so as to give users choices and ensure a competitive MaaS market where end users can opt in and out of one or more MaaS consortia without financial loss.
Using a common access platform could potentially be a big boon given we remain sceptical of developing new bespoke software. Each MaaS consortium can have its own digital platform, but it must offer a transparent link to the common framework in a way that protects the privacy of most data of a consortium, but which requires sharing of relevant data in order to be eligible for the financial and non-financial rewards offered through the common platform to end users and MaaS product providers.
The tendering authority (public or private) will be responsible for defining a suite of societal linked key performance indicators (KPIs) that are connected to financial and non-financial rewards available to each MaaS consortium and their subscribers. Rewards are realised when the consortium shows through the common access framework the changes in travel behaviour of users that align with the agreed societal KPIs.
At the outset we must state that context is important and there can be, and indeed will be, different societal KPIs across geographical jurisdictions; however, the framework is likely to be relevant in all contexts. MaaS for Singapore for example, could differ from MaaS for Australia (indeed between and intra- States), especially with respect to the role of the car.
Not only are there major differences in the transport and land-use system, also the legal and institutional settings differ between countries and even between different levels of government in the same country.
At the moment, MaaS development is lacking, at least:
- access to ingredients (FRAND contracts2 and easy APIs);
- an appetite for private investment due to unclear markets (authorities acting as competition); and
- fair treatment especially against car leasing.
All of these elements need to be assessed within a common framework that is built on a commitment to deliver on agreed societal and sustainability goals as a way of knowing if travel behaviour change should be rewarded with financial and non-financial rewards; and that the common framework has a robust financial model that is attractive to both private and public sector participants.
In the words of Sampo Hietanen, in MaaS: “We needed better dreams”:
“Mobility as a Service (MaaS) has been there as a concept for more than 15 years. For over five years it’s been on the lips of just about everyone involved in mobility. In many ways it has been like the emperor’s new clothes: something we all should look in awe at – but not really knowing why.”
“Still, if you look at the amount of talk, research, national programs and investment, very little has changed so far. MaaS has not become mainstream, and it has not changed the way people perceive their freedom of mobility”
“Sadly, the industry has been frustratingly slow: we have been working as an ‘egosystem’, not an ecosystem.”
This project aims to meet the following objectives:
- Identify the key challenges facing the translation of MaaS from an appealing idea to one with practical and impactful merit.
- Design a prototype ecosystem that encapsulates the essential features of a MaaS framework.
- Identify and confirm the framework which is likely to garner active support and be scalable with a focus in particular on delivering travel behaviour change.
- Identify what a scalable MaaS offer may look like.
1. App developers (or more accurately the travel planner proponents) and many transport operators, continue to promote their new tools as MaaS. Overly promoting such an app as MaaS suggests that many MaaS promoters on social media don’t get, or refuse to get, what constitutes MaaS and the four levels of MaaS integration proposed by Sochor et al. (2018).
2. A fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) commitment is a voluntary agreement between the patent holder and the standards development organisation (“SDO”) regarding the licensing conditions for essential technologies.
Please note …
This page will be a living record of this project. As it matures, hits milestones, etc., we’ll continue to add information, links, images, interviews and more. Watch this space!