Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
Mobility as a Service – MaaS for short – is being called the biggest transport revolution of the 21st century. The idea behind MaaS is to put the users of transport at the centre and provide them with customised mobility offers everywhere. Matched to the individual needs of city dwellers, they can choose from a bundle of flexible travel offers at any time and thus get from A to B efficiently. Mobility as a Service thus has the potential to reduce individual transport and unnecessary emissions to a minimum.
Definition: What is Mobility as a Service?
An official definition (MaaS Alliance) is: "Mobility as a Service refers to the integration of different types of transport services into a single mobility service that can be accessed on demand. A single application provides access to different forms of mobility."
In simple terms, MaaS can be defined as follows: Mobility as a Service means the use of transport as a service. Instead of owning means of transport, they are shared, used jointly and can be located and booked at any time - e.g. via app.
Trend of global urbanisation
Population living in urban areas
(Percentage of total population)
Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs
How has mobility changed?
The rise of mobility as a service can be easily understood by looking at the most important changes in mobility over time.
We briefly summarise the most important changes here:
During the first industrial revolution, the population in the ever-growing cities mainly used railways and the first means of public transport. Individual means of transport were only available to very few people.
The advent of mass-produced passenger cars enabled the widespread use of cars among all strata of the population and led to the growth of suburbs (suburbanisation) as well as an increasing decentralisation of activities outside the cities.
Progressive digitalisation and networking enable new, existing transport networks to become more efficient, environmentally friendly and user-friendly. Mobility as a Service (Maas) will make mobility offers more tailored to the wishes of users in the future. This will enable flexible and comfortable travel without having to use a car.
5 reasons MaaS will come
MasS is currently still at an early stage of development and many innovations still have an experimental character. But there are many good reasons why Mobility-as-a-Service concepts will prevail in the future - especially in large cities and metropolitan regions.
#1 Switching made easy
Flexible mobility offers are particularly attractive for the inhabitants of a city if they can use the means of transport that is most suitable for their temporary needs at any time in order to get from A to B as quickly as possible.
MaaS systems are always oriented towards customer needs and offer many mobility services, e.g.:
- Public transport (bus, train, underground, tram, cable cars, etc.)
- (E-)bike sharing
- Air taxis, drones, helicopters etc. (future scenario)
- Taxis, ride-hailing, ridepooling, car-sharing or shuttle services
- E-scooter sharing
- Ships and ferries (if rivers and lakes in the city)
#2 Central platform = great benefit
Multimodal MaaS platforms not only gather all mobility offers of a city in a central app, but they also bundle important traffic information (in real time) in it. This way, users always know how long they need to get from A to B and which means of transport is most suitable for their upcoming trip.
This has several advantages for users:
Fewer unnecessary delays
More overview of current city traffic (traffic jams, events, etc.)
Easily available real-time information about delays, disruptions, etc.
#3 Convenient planning = convenient paying
If mobility services are offered as a multimodal service, it is essential for users that both planning and payment are kept as simple as possible.
The lowest possible travel costs as well as modern payment systems adapted to the zeitgeist - e.g. subscriptions, flat rates, etc. - will contribute to making MaaS offers available and attractive to the masses.
What does multimodal mobility mean? Multimodal transport systems offer the same flexibility as a car. A city dweller, for example, is multimodal when she steps outside her front door, rides her bike to the underground, continues by underground to her place of work and rides the last few metres to the office on an e-scooter.
#4 Fewer private cars = more efficiency
If all available means of transport in a city - such as public transport, rental bikes, e-scooters, rental cars, etc. - can be found, reserved and booked at any time via a central MaaS app, it will be much easier for the inhabitants of a city to do without their cars in the future.
There are also good arguments for fewer private cars in cities:
Internal combustion engines cause about 30 % of all CO₂ emissions within the EU.
Passenger cars alone account for 60% of these emissions.
One car sharing car can replace 8 to 20 cars.
Fewer private cars lead to more traffic flow and less congestion.
Good to know: Fewer cars do not mean less efficiency! A new concept from New York proves the opposite: there, traffic planners have shown that three times as many people as today can cross the Brooklyn Bridge if only buses, autonomous vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians are on the road instead of traditional cars.
#5 Smart parking = better parking
Modern parking space management, often called smart parking, is also an important component of Mobility as a Service. Currently, up to 40 percent of traffic in cities is accounted for by the search for a parking space alone.
Car-sharing or ride-hailing cars do not have to park in the already overcrowded city centres, but can be accommodated where there is really space - e.g. in central car parks on the outskirts of the city.
In any case, fewer parked cars bring clear advantages:
There are more green spaces or places used by the public (e.g. cafés).
There is more space for pedestrians and cyclists.
Overall, quieter, greener and more liveable cities are created.
Good to know: More and more modern solutions are emerging that make it possible to find, reserve and pay for parking spaces via app. These can, among other things, display free parking spaces in the vicinity and match them to the size of the car, which significantly reduces "search trips".
Summary: Mobility as a Service
According to official United Nations forecasts, up to 70 percent of all people could be living in cities as early as 2050. Without unified transport solutions like Mobility-as-a-Service concepts aim for, current problems - congestion, noise pollution, emissions, lack of space, etc. - will most likely only be exacerbated.
If cities want to successfully implement MaaS solutions, they need to consider the following:
- City governments must participate.
- Public-private cooperation must be encouraged.
- To better involve private companies, an open transport architecture is needed.
- Public transport services must have some focus in any MaaS system.
Last but not least: In many cities, getting from A to B at almost any time of day is difficult and sometimes downright impossible. However, as more sustainable Mobility as a Service models emerge in the future, the public will embrace the most effective of these services.
FAQs – Häufige Kundenfragen kurz erklärt
Mobility as a Service means the use of transport as a service. Instead of owning means of transport, they are shared, used jointly and can be found and booked at any time - e.g. via an app.
Ownership becomes a service: instead of owning your own means of transport, MaaS is a cheap and sustainable alternative. City dwellers find and book the means of transport they need at the moment - and which gets them to their destination the fastest - simply via app.
By 2050, up to 70 percent of all people will live in cities. Chronic lack of space already characterises the image of many large cities today and leads to more...
- Noise pollution
- congestion and accidents.
Good to know: MaaS solutions can reduce individual traffic and thus make cities quieter, greener and more liveable.
The main objectives of most Mobility-as-a-Service concepts include:
- More efficient transport infrastructures
- Flexible mobility offers
- Expansion of sharing and pooling services
- Modern parking management
- Attractive - always available - public transport services
- Promotion of micro-mobility
The mobility of the future lies in digitalisation: Big Data, 5G, artificial intelligence and more connectivity increase safety, improve efficiency and reduce environmental pollution. The resulting mobility concepts are setting profound changes in motion.