Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in a broad sense is essentially utilizing modern digital technology to advance private and public transport services via enhanced journey information, increased connectivity, and integrated payment/ticketing systems to address the complete mobility needs of the customer.
Here we describe what is MaaS, briefly go through its architecture and highlight what benefits MaaS could bring to telematics in general and fleet management in particular.
MaaS in brief
MaaS as a term originates from the Intelligent Transportation Systems area. MaaS is a relatively new concept, that believed to be used first by Sampo Hietanen, who founded MaaS Global ltd around 2015. According to Fortune Business Insights, the MaaS market value was USD 182.12 billion in 2018 and is likely to exhibit a CAGR of 1.9% between 2019 and 2026.
Following the MaaS Alliance definition, MaaS is the integration of various forms of transport services into a single mobility service, accessible on demand. For the user, MaaS offers added value through the use of a single application to provide access to mobility, with a single payment channel instead of multiple ticketing and payment operations.
MaaS could potentially significantly reduce the dependency of individuals and businesses on a particular type of transportation and provide one with the right mode for the planned journey, allowing cost and time-efficient moving from point A to point B.
The figure above represents a MaaS development roadmap from 2020 to 2035, looking at the evolution of MaaS from Core through Advanced to Integrated offerings, according to [P. Blythe, IET report].
MaaS concept and architecture
To begin with, let’s consider a conceptual system architecture for MaaS by Pflügler et al in the context of digital mobility services for the smart city. The authors’ goal was to design a concept for the architecture of an open mobility services platform. The considered platform includes four main layers:
- data sources
- modular services
- integration layer
- solutions layer
The main idea behind this platform was to make data available that already exists in many smart cities and create a mobility ecosystem that fosters the development of innovative mobility solutions based on the offered modular services. The concept architecture of such a platform is shown in the figure below.
Another variation of MaaS concept architecture is the one proposed by UCL-MaaSLab. In this case, MaaS defined as a user-centric, intelligent mobility management and distribution system, in which an integrator brings together offerings of multiple mobility service providers, and provides end-users access to through a digital interface, allowing them to seamlessly plan and pay for mobility.
As shown in the figure above, the supply side includes Mobility Service Providers (any public or private organizations) providing transport / mobility-related services. Crucial providers are transport operators, supplying services like car sharing, carpooling, public transport, on-demand services, and more. It’s important to notice that MaaS in such scenarios is not acting as a contributor to additional transport capacity creation, but rather as an integrator of existing transport capacity.
MaaS in Fleet Management and Telematics
Based on the MaaS infrastructure, instruments, and possibilities it potentially provides, MaaS could indeed add a lot to telematics and fleet management. For instance, it could act as a bridge from asset management to mobility planning, meaning that, say, instead of managing a few selected physical assets within an organization, one could manage mobility for all of them even across a number of companies.
MaaS-boosted fleet management could enable more management responsibilities to account for various modes of transportation. Fleet owners could control and guide multimode transportation, benefit from a car-sharing program within their own organization, or even sharing vehicles with other companies. Such opportunity also opens new horizons for small to mid companies in managing their fleet costs and transportation efficiency. MaaS also stimulating further a transition from vehicle ownership towards actual vehicle usage.
Some of the other beneficial characteristics [Jittrapirom P., et al, 2017] of MaaS for telematics/fleet owners/businesses/end-users are:
- On-Demand oriented (MaaS is a user-centric paradigm, providing a transport solution that is best from customer’s perspective and made via multimodal trip planning feature, including demand-responsive services).
- Relying on modern technologies (Modern smartphones, mobile computers, 4G/5G/6G, LTE, e-ticketing/payment, IoT, IoV).
- Single platform (MaaS platform offers users two types of tariffs in accessing its mobility services: mobility package and pay-as-you-go).
- Multiple actors-enabled ecosystems (MaaS ecosystem is built on interactions between different groups of actors through a digital platform: demanders of mobility, a supplier of transport services, and platform owners. Other actors can also cooperate to enable the functioning of the service and improve its efficiency).
- Transport modes integration (MaaS scheme’s goal is to encourage the use of public transport services, by bringing together multi-modal transportation and allowing the users to choose and facilitating them in their intermodal trips).
- Personalization (The system provides the end-user with specific recommendations and tailor-made solutions on the basis of her/his profile, expressed preferences, and past behaviors. They may also connect their social network profiles with their MaaS account).
- Customization opportunities (Users may freely compose a specified chained trip or build their mobility package with a different volume of usage of certain transport modes to better achieve their preferred travel experiences).
- State of the Art of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Ecosystems and Architectures—An Overview of, and a Definition, Ecosystem, and System Architecture for Electric Mobility as a Service (eMaaS). José Roberto Reyes García et al, 2016.
- Future bus transport contracts under mobility as a service (MaaS) regime in the digital age: are they likely to change? D. A. Hensher et al, 2017.
- Mobility as a Service – MaaS. Describing the framework. Per-Erik Holmberg et al, 2016.
- Mobility as a Service: An Opportunity for Fleets and Fleet Managers, Martha Garcia-Perry, 2018.
- MaaS and sustainable urban mobility planning. European Platform on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans, 2019.
- Mobility as a Service: A Critical Review of Definitions, Assessments of Schemes, and Key Challenges. P. Jittrapirom et al., 2017.