Smarter cities means smarter people, smarter technology, and smarter transportation. Mobility as a Service is a rapidly growing industry, and carries the potential to increase convenience, sustainability, and accessibility for society. Read on to learn more about MaaS, and what you can expect from the future of the transportation industry. 

Mobility as a Service, or more commonly known as MaaS, is on its way to becoming the future of transportation. With every major city becoming increasingly urbanised, cities are transforming into Smart Cities, where citizens rely on smart technology and smart mobility for their convenience. Through the development of MaaS, the transportation industry is reaching new levels of convenience, and people are becoming more dependent on MaaS rather than conventional methods of transportation. 

While current Mobility on Demand systems and personalised transportation modes are leading the industry, MaaS services have the potential to improve living conditions and accessibility within metropolitan cities, and even rural regions. 

Considering the current rate of urbanisation, cities face the dilemma of regulating air pollution, traffic congestion, and commute times. These negative effects of urban transportation are accumulating, exacerbating the environment and global health. If addressed appropriately, these accessibility and liveability issues can be alleviated in the future through the implementation of MaaS solutions. Read on to learn more about the future of mobility and transportation. 

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What is MaaS?

Mobility as a Service refers to the collaboration of various types of modern transportation available to bring a unified service accessible on demand through a digital application with a single payment stream. Although there are several types of MaaS systems in existence, the overall concept of MaaS aims to deliver the values of mobility, integration, and service. By focusing on meeting the transportation needs of users, the purpose of MaaS is to be the highest value proposition for consumers, by offering a substitute to private transportation. Such change brings higher convenience, more sustainability, and less economic spending.  

MaaS operators regulate and facilitate an extensive array of transportation to meet consumer demands immediately. They are able to do so through connecting multiple mobility systems into one coherent and ordered system that is developed by both prior and current on demand trends and data. Due to the diverse transport options available nowadays, customers can decide which mode to take and even combine different options to make one complete request. Whether it be public transport, taxis, bike-sharing, or car rentals, consumers have the opportunity to combine these modes for their convenience. 

From a consumer’s perspective, Mobility as a Service offers increased value with every use, made possible by its innovative business and operation model. Since MaaS services operate on a single smartphone application, through which access to mobility is guaranteed, it cuts inconvenient bookings and inefficient arrangements. Furthermore, integrated systems of a single payment channel is a faster and simpler transaction method compared to conventional multiple ticketing or other payment procedures. In these ways, MaaS returns the best value proposition by addressing mobility demands and providing solutions that increase convenience.

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MaaS in Application

With Mobility as a Service still an evolving concept, there are only a handful of recognised MaaS system operators. In smart cities, one of the prevalent inconveniences faced while commuting is choosing the appropriate transport method according to distance, especially with relatively shorter distances too far to walk but too short to take a taxi. In such situations, the first and last mile can be a hassle to connect. An example of where MaaS has helped create a solution for this is through bicycle sharing systems. This option allows consumers to rent a bicycle for a short duration for an affordable price. This trend has picked up in recent years, and has even expanded to scooters and electric kickboards. Some of the leading businesses in this system are operators such as Citi Bike and Santander Cycles.

With many big cities in Asia becoming increasingly advanced, the opportunity for MaaS development is also great. Currently in the APAC region, countries such as Japan and Hong Kong have already adopted measures and mobility options to improve the convenience of commuting. In Japan, American startup Bird Rides has partnered with Tokyo-based BRJ Co., Ltd. to bring smart transportation to Japan with electric scooters (e-scooters). E-scooters help to alleviate all negative externalities of conventional transportation such as pollution, traffic congestion, and carbon footprint. 

Another example is Hong Kong bike sharing system, Go.Bee. Hong Kong is a highly condensed city with a bustling population. With many people commuting daily, introducing Go.Bee helps improve the environment and alleviate traffic. With the intention to promote the health benefits of cycling and make commuting easier, Go.Bee is another step towards MaaS being enabled in Hong Kong. 


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The Future of MaaS

Mobility as a Service has the power to transform the entire transportation industry. Consumers will no longer feel the need to plan out their journeys in advance, and manually calculate the cost and fastest route themselves. Topping up cards or buying tickets will also be something to leave in the past. With MaaS, getting around within a city will become more comfortable, and even travelling to suburbs will be more accessible. The integrated experience offered by MaaS promises a greener future as well, through lowered congestion and reduced travel time.

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