What is MaaS and how will it change the future? Natalie Sauber, Market Intelligence and Future Mobility Lead at Arcadis explores this in our latest guest blog. Arcadis is a leading global Design & Consultancy firm for natural and built assets, working to improve quality of life. They are a CAM Creator in the UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030.

The concept of mobility as a service (MaaS) has been subject to much hype over recent years. From Helsinki in 2014 first voicing its aim to make private car ownership obsolete by 2025, to more and more cities phasing out cash payments for public transport to embed it more firmly into our digital habits. In smart cities and rural areas of the future, MaaS will play a vital role. Done right, the concept can live up to its promise, the benefits will bring the public on-board, and realise the vision of easy access to integrated, low carbon multi-modal journeys. In line with the Roadmap, integrating connected and automated mobility (CAM) will further enhance the safety, economic and customer experience benefits achieved by MaaS.

What is MaaS?

MaaS brings together different modes of travel, combining options for different transport providers into a single service. This means that journeys can be planned and paid for on one platform, regardless of whether the passenger is using bus, train, tram, car clubs or cycle hire – or a combination of options. It makes it easier for passengers to choose more sustainable transport options and – particularly when combined with the use of incentives – can encourage changes in travel behaviours.

As cities are recovering from COVID-19 lockdown, travel demand is bouncing back slowly. Public transport systems however will not be able to operate at full capacity for some time due to the requirements of social distancing. In its absence, active travel has entered a period of renaissance with supporting infrastructure for walking or cycling being rapidly rolled out to accommodate surging demand. In addition, it is vital to reshape mobility habits longer term to help reduce overall reliance on personal private vehicles.

As well as encouraging people to consider other modes of transport, MaaS data can provide insight into how travel patterns might be changing. When it comes to planning for a post-COVID recovery, this can help local authorities and transport providers to better understand where to locate travel infrastructure to make it accessible and usable.

Since the onset of COVID-19, we have witnessed a more systematic effort from companies and governments to integrate existing user data more fully, with the understanding that this might ultimately not only be necessary, but also beneficial. Against this backdrop, MaaS may turn out to finally be able to act as the technology-based, data rich platform that links transport users directly with operators. And when CAM services become commercially available in line with the Roadmap, they can enhance customer-centric, digitally enabled, MaaS solutions to further improve quality of life.

MaaS and Arcadis

…in Scotland, UK

Arcadis is working with the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS), the statutory regional transport partnership for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, to help create and pilot an innovative new MaaS solution to benefit residents and visitors to the region. In 2019, we led the successful funding bid to Transport Scotland’s MaaS Investment Fund, with input from a range of partners. The pilot is now being developed with contributions from those partners and is due to be launched in Spring 2021.

…in Amsterdam, Netherlands  

Arcadis created and operated a demonstration MaaS service to allow employees in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district to experience MaaS and help create awareness, generate early adopter advocates and to capture essential user feedback to input into the subsequent procurement. The City of Amsterdam selected a commercial MaaS provider and the MaaS system went live in 2020, providing easy access to a range of travel options for the 50,000 employees, residents, and visitors to the region.

To view Arcadis’ contribution to the Roadmap, view the interactive tool. To find out more about Arcadis, visit their website.