Society is slowly moving towards an era in which many things will be made available as a service, and the same applies to mobility.
New technology is already enabling transport users to take a more dynamic, proactive role as a developer and data producer in the transport system. Instead of being mere consumers of services, people may become the drivers and creators of the overall system.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is one manifestation of this new user-driven future. It combines services from public and private transport providers within a single portal that creates and manages the trip. Users pay for this personalised, often multimodal trip with a single account.
The approach could have a substantial impact on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs). A recent Innovation Brief from CIVITAS PROSPERITY examines the relationship between the two concepts.
Through its inclusion within the MaaS service package, carpooling's popularity may be boosted. This should in turn help reduce car ownership, the amount of trips made, and the distance travelled using the vehicles. The approach could also have significant socioeconomic benefits by improving the mobility of people at risk of social exclusion due to poor transport access.
Such impacts are closely aligned with the core SUMP objective, namely to improve the accessibility of urban areas and provide high-quality and sustainable mobility and transport to, through, and within these.
To be preparedfor MaaS and the innovations it brings with it, cities should examine transport laws and regulations and be prepared to modify them. In addition, they need to conceive scenarios as to how MaaS might impact on local and regional travel.
With few fully operating MaaS models around the world, it is hard to ascertain exactly what level of service it can provide, at what cost, and how disruptive it might be. Regardless, if MaaS becomes widespread, SUMPs need to be ready to harness its potential to address existing urban mobility challenges.
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