The Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Business Model
For those who aren’t familiar, mobility as a service (MaaS) is a series of concepts about a new transportation model—particularly in urban areas—that removes the need for private vehicle ownership by offering bundled transportation options as a service. Through the combined efforts of public and private organizations, riders embark on personalized and optimized transportation routes using a variety of different transportation modes: cars, trains, scooters, etc. MaaS promises to revolutionize transportation as we know it, so how does it work?
Primary Roles in the MaaS Model
As mentioned previously, there are multiple variations of the MaaS concept. Instead of describing the subtleties of each version, we believe that defining the contributing roles paints a clearer picture. We can expect organizations to consolidate many of these roles over time.
Manufacturers are the developers and wholesalers in the MaaS model. Although a primary goal of mobility as a service is to remove the need for personal vehicle ownership, transportation providers require fleets of different vehicles to meet people’s different transportation needs. These manufacturers develop a variety of vehicles and sell them in bulk to transportation providers.
The role of transportation providers in the MaaS model differs little from their role today; they provide transportation. Except now, they transport riders by working with other providers. For MaaS to be viable, these organization must share data.
New software enables the MaaS movement. These providers connect the passenger-facing interface to the routing software of transportation providers to create a seamless rider experience. Additionally, they work with infrastructure managers to facilitate data sharing.
MaaS is a system with many different moving parts. In all likelihood, several organizations will take the role of infrastructure managers. Their primary responsibility will be to facilitate the cooperation between all organizations in the system. This partnership includes data sharing, payment distributions, and other administrative tasks. Collaboration is vital for MaaS to work effectively.
Ultimately MaaS exists to meet the needs of the rider. Passengers are the end users and those responsible for ensuring the MaaS model is profitable. Without adoption from citizens—an arguably uphill battle—mobility as a service will never see the light of day.
Every business model requires a monetization method. Mobility as a service on the surface has a straightforward model: MaaS providers charge either a fixed-rate or variable rate for different service options. However, things get complicated due to the interconnectivity of the system. While specific roles maintain traditional revenue models such as manufactures wholesaling, transportation providers rely on a complicated method for dividing up payments. This method hinges upon many variables including rides per day, distance traveled, cost per trip, etc. These organizations will need to create a fair system that makes MaaS profitable for all those involved.
As public and private institutions continue to flesh out MaaS as a viable concept, pieces of this model will no doubt evolve. One thing we can be sure of is that MaaS is a customer-centric transportation system that will adapt the meet the needs of riders and the cities in which they live. If you are interested in learning more about MaaS and National Express Transit’s role, check out our comprehensive guide on mobility as a service.
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