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Mobility as a service (MaaS) has proven to be successful in several experiments around the world. Many organizations are therefore experimenting with it, each with their own mobility perspective. What are the challenges for organizations that want to re-invent our mobility?
MaaS-platform in Cascais
Let us take you to the Portuguese city of Cascais: located about 15 miles west of Lisbon, home to approximately 210,000 residents and welcoming another 1.2 million tourists annually. To accommodate the fluctuating population and in an effort to secure a position as a world-class travel destination, the city launched MobiCascais in 2016.
MobiCascais enables a user to reserve, manage, and pay for the use of every mobility-related service, including bike sharing, motor sharing, smart parking, taxi, transport on request, carpooling, electric vehicle charging, car sharing, and information on public transit (bus and train) routes and stations. Based on a seamless card, it connects with users through an app and a web portal. The system, which we helped develop, is an integrated platform that manages real-time information regarding all multimodal transportation systems. The system thus also allows for management of urban logistics and traffic.
A new mobility ecosystem
In the report ‘Cities explore digital mobility platforms’ you can read about more cities that experiment with mobility platforms. “As a new ecosystem emerges–including autonomous vehicles–it’s time for cities to move toward developing integrated mobility platforms”, the authors write.
This is where mobility is headed and that is why a lot of organizations—from automotive and technology companies, to municipalities and public transport organizations—are experimenting with more or less similar MaaS-platforms or are participating in one. If they won’t do it, others will. In this blog we address a few of the challenges that organizations will face if they want to dive into the future of mobility.
Internal change management might be the most important part of considering building or participating in a mobility platform. When an organization has the ambition to participate in the future of mobility, this should not (only) be a project of the innovation department.
The board, the IT and financial department and product developers should also be change ready, because traditional revenue models will disappear, just as the traditional customer-supplier relationship. This affects the work of everyone within an organization.
Owning a car
One of the other challenges is the end user. Will people actually use a mobility platform? Organizations tend to think that people won’t give up their car and that they are happy with the way they organize their mobility now.
There might however be a latent need: when we were still riding horses, we didn’t ask for a car to be invented, and we also didn’t ask for the smartphone to be invented when we were using our Nokia 3310s. Also bear in mind that not all car owners are the same. They have different reasons to own a car. Some may be lured out of a car easier than others.
Besides that: millennials and the generation after that—in other words the mobility users of the future—are much less interested in owning a car than their parents and grandparents were. They often live in urban environments and like to use flexible means of transport. The youngest generations are also more inclined towards using new technologies and therefore an interesting target audience for platforms.
Mobility providers and the government
As a mobility platform provider you enable other providers to offer their services on your platform. Cooperation with these different providers is therefore yet another challenge when building a MaaS-platform. They have to be technologically mature enough to be able to exchange data and have a technologically focused organization. What further complicates this issue is that up until now there is no global standard for the exchange of data.
If the government wants to play a catalytic role in MaaS-platforms, they have to dive into their regulations. The Dutch tax regulations for car lease, for example, make it more advantageous to possess a car, than to share one. And municipalities and provinces should reconsider their tendering procedures: now public transport is tendered per transport region (vervoersregio in Dutch) and sometimes also per target audience—elderly, disabled, school-age children—which means that there is a lot of efficiency loss.
If handled correctly, these challenges won’t be showstoppers. Being aware of them helps organizations to make future-proof decisions so that in the end these organizations will play an important role in our new mobility ecosystem.