MaaS Platforms Could Save Millions of Hours Travel Time

Adoption of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) platforms will replace more than 2.3Bn urban private car journeys annually by 2023, compared with just 17.6M globally in 2018, according to a report from analytics firm Juniper Research. This follows an even more optimistic report by ABI Research.

The Juniper report placed four European cities in the top spots when it comes to taking advantage of mobility-as-a-service technology.

The adoption of MaaS integrates multi-modal transport services, such as buses, taxis, rail and metro, and boasts on demand services, resulting in a shift in the way people use transportation. At its core, MaaS relies on a digital platform that integrates end-to-end trip planning, booking, electronic ticketing, and payment services across all modes of transportation, public or private.

The Juniper study forecast the broader introduction of MaaS could lead to annual time-savings of over 500M hours by 2023 – equivalent to 90 hours per annum per MaaS user. The responsive, on demand service, enabled by MaaS will lead to more efficient use of road vehicles, with the result being a reduction of peak traffic levels, which in turn would lower both congestion and air pollution. Across the globe, Juniper claims Europe is currently the leader in the MaaS market, with Helsinki, Stockholm, Vienna and Amsterdam claiming the top four spots, based on their readiness for large-scale MaaS service deployment.

The southern tech hub and Texas capital city Austin rounded out the top five, which Juniper ranked based on metrics including the existing/planned stage of deployment, cohesion of public transport services and infrastructure development. “Helsinki has achieved its winning position in MaaS driven by collaboration between government and MaaS vendors,” research author Nick Maynard said in a statement. “Stakeholder partnerships are fundamental to MaaS in order to develop a viable multi-modal system delivering significant cost- and time-savings to the user.”

Since 2016, residents in the Finnish capital have been able to use an app called Whim to plan and pay for all modes of public and private transportation within the city, be it by train, taxi, bus, car-share or bikeshare. Anyone with the app can enter a destination, select his or her preferred mode of getting there, or in cases where no single mode covers the door- to-door journey, a combination thereof.

In an August white paper prepared with Moovel Group, a MaaS technology provider, Juniper analysts recommended open data, comprehensive security planning, and partnerships between companies and public agencies as steps to make such systems work. Cities could help their residents get around more quickly by giving them access to all modes of transportation in one app and payment platform, the report said.

The data-sharing that makes this possible could also lead to better services and city planning but laws and policies would need to change in many areas to make it all possible. The paper estimated an average time saving of 37% off the average commute time, which it estimates as 67 minutes per day for drivers and 61 minutes per day for all modes. That could boost the economy because, even if commuters spent just 33% of the extra time working, the increased productivity would equal $733Bn per year globally.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter.

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