Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Benefits
As populations become increasingly urbanized and city densities rise, inner-city transportation models need to evolve. In many large cities across the US, even those considered to have relatively strong public transit systems, current transportation models are falling short in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. This shortcoming isn’t because the public transportation systems are set up poorly, but because the current models have surpassed their scalability. Fortunately, an alternative exists.
Mobility as a service (Maas) is a transportation model comprising of public and private organizations working in unison to meet the ever-growing transportation needs of city residents. Through a system of data sharing, these organizations personalize and optimize rider transportation routes with a variety of different vehicles including automobiles, trains, subways, bikes, scooters, etc. MaaS promises to tackle the logistical challenges of growing urban populations as well as provide a variety of benefits.
Mobility as a Service Benefits
While there are likely dozens if not hundreds of benefits of the MaaS model, we will be focusing on those primarily affecting individuals and societies.
According to Tony Seba, a Stanford Economist, car ownership is expected to drop around 80% by 2030. Some factors expected to contribute to this shift include more affordable transportation options, the rise of autonomous vehicles, and increased difficulty of automobile travel in cities. With the growth of autonomous vehicles (a significant component of MaaS), the costs of ride-hailing services are expected to drop below the cost of owning and operating a personal vehicle. Imagine never having to pay for gas, an oil change, or to fix the dreaded check engine light. MaaS provides nearly unlimited inner-city mobility without any extra charge, and it is just one component of the MaaS ecosystem.
Personalization & Optimization
Mobility as a service tailors its rides to the needs of each rider. Whether you are looking for the most eco-friendly route, the quickest, or cheapest (if you are paying as you go), your route is optimized accordingly. Using a system of shared data and a variety of vehicles, MaaS can meet individual needs on a scalable level.
We mentioned earlier that—with MaaS—you won’t have to worry about gas, oil changes, and other car troubles. This also means, you no longer have to keep track of each of these different costs in your budget. MaaS simplifies payments offering a subscription model and pay-as-you-go model. These payment methods remove the spreadsheet tracking, which inevitably leads to overlooked costs, and instead create a streamlined process for riders to manage their transportation expenses.
One often overlooked benefit of MaaS is that it leads to healthier citizens. For non-disabled people, some optimized routes will no doubt include walking, riding a bike, or scooter. As we’ve seen in other countries with more robust transit systems, the required “on-foot” travel for first/last mile trips encourages exercise.
In addition to the series of personal benefits listed above, MaaS is just more convenient. Ride-hailing services have already given us a glimpse into this convenience, where we touch our phone screens, and soon a car arrives at our house able to drive us anywhere. Imagine this level of service going to work every day. Instead of focusing on driving, you can be answering emails or just taking in the sights. No more delays from parking searches and no more car maintenance on weekends, just convenient transportation.
One of the major catalysts of MaaS is increased traffic congestion in urban cities. In the US, congestion cost around $305 billion in 2017. With MaaS, cities can reduce their reliance on personal transportation, invest in more robust public transportation infrastructure, and regain lost economic value. Plus, we aren’t stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Motor vehicle accidents or highway fatalities claim responsibility for 93% of transportation-related deaths. As autonomous vehicle technology advances, self-driving cars are expected to reduce automobile accidents to nearly zero. These self-driving vehicles in conjunction with public transit systems may transform MaaS into the safest model of transportation in the modern era.
MaaS consists of many eco-friendly transportation options including trains, buses, bicycling, etc. Additionally, it is in a strong position to better utilize these eco-friendly options to create a more sustainable transportation model. Through optimal vehicle use, MaaS may be the environmentally-friendly solution growing societies require.
Mobility as a service promises to revolutionize the transportation industry as we know it. Transportation providers such as National Express Transit are already working hard on integrating MaaS into their business models to better deliver value to individuals and societies.
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