At the moment, the world of mobility very often talks about MaaS (Mobility as a Service), which is set to revolutionize mobility practices.
If the target seems clear to many experts, to offer a mix of services bringing together public and private transport offers (especially cars), the way to get there remains to be defined.
And certain detours will probably have to be made to be able to bring on board all the public and private actors and find sustainable economic models.
WHAT IS MAAS (FOR THE RARE WHO HAVE NOT YET HEARD ABOUT IT)?
The answer is not so obvious and may depend on the points of view: public actors, mobility operators, car manufacturers, integrators, developers of traveler information applications, etc.
MaaS can be seen as a concept (a new way of conceiving mobility), as a phenomenon (encounter between new mobility practices and digital technology), a technology (association between traveler information and ticketing) or even a new transport service (combining several modes of transport and several mobility offers).
The most widespread vision is probably that of a service offering on a single interface a range of mobility offers, combining public transport (public transport, car-sharing, bike-sharing, parking) and private transport offers (carpooling, vehicle rental by professionals or between individuals, taxi, VTC, etc.).
MaaS is in a way the promise of being able to move freely from point A to point B by taking the mode of transport most suited to its movement. Talking about MaaS without talking about the car is therefore still missing out on the vast majority of trips.
MaaS projects abound all over the world. The best-known example is that of Helsinki, a precursor, with its Whim service which offers monthly subscriptions (89 € to 150 €) allowing unlimited use of various mobility solutions: public transport, taxi, car rental, etc.
ONE MAAS OR SEVERAL MAAS?
MaaS projects can involve a large number of players: transport organizing authorities, transport network operators, carpooling operators, vehicle rental companies, car manufacturers, parking managers, taxis, public and private funders, mobile application developers, integrators, developers of algorithms matching supply and demand.
This non-exhaustive list makes it easy to imagine the difficulty of bringing out common positions… Projects can be long and complex. They are progressing little by little, adding bricks as they go: addition of new mobility solutions, gradual pricing integration (which can always raise the sensitive issue of the distribution of charges and revenues), interoperability of ticketing systems , convergence of traveler information.
To avoid getting lost along the way, the recommended approach is generally to start from the needs of end customers, to segment different populations and to build service offers adapted to the needs of each segment. Because, who really needs to use all the transport offers that can be found in a given region or country?
Some customers might be ready to pay “premium” MaaS, like the Green Class CFF offer, which offers a general 1st class season ticket for 12,200 Swiss francs, the rental of a BMW i3 electric car, as well as ‘subscription to PubliBike (electric bike sharing), Mobility (car rental) and P+Rail (parking at stations). For others, it might be appropriate to think about MaaS “low cost” (train 2nd class, long-distance bus, air transport “low cost” or carpooling).
We can thus imagine that in the future, several MaaS will coexist: MaaS for daily journeys and MaaS for occasional journeys, MaaS offering mobility offers adapted to different socio-professional categories or different populations (young people, workers, senior), MaaS for People with Reduced Mobility, etc.
WHAT ECONOMIC MODELS FOR MAAS?
Starting from mobility needs also has a better chance of bringing about the emergence of sustainable economic models thanks to the establishment of specific ecosystems bringing together actors with common development objectives.
The business models of MaaS have the common point of being multi-sided platform models associating different players who can also be competitors.
MaaS, a platform model
Many economists have already extensively described the key success factors of platform models , in particular:
- Generation of network effects (reaching a “critical mass” generates network externalities causing the population of all sides to grow),
- Decrease in “frictions” thanks to adapted regulatory mechanisms which give confidence (monitoring of partners’ practices, particularly in terms of the reuse of data and information, protection of privacy and industrial secrecy) and ultimately make it possible to attract competitive competitors. ‘the same side,
- Construction of a revenue model that ensures the participation of each side. However, the different sides do not necessarily all pay to benefit from the services offered by the platform. In some cases, one side pays nothing (example: free of charge for a search engine for Internet users), or has a lower pricing, or even is paid to use the service (like bank card holders receiving discounts on their purchases).
More concretely, one of the avenues most often mentioned to structure the MaaS economic model is the dispossession of the individual vehicle: we eliminate the costs of owning a vehicle (vehicle purchase, insurance, gasoline) and we move into a logic of pay-per-use, by adding various mobility services (including public transport). The traveler must then be convinced to part with their vehicle, which is not always eas…
But after all, we don’t buy CDs anymore and we subscribe to streaming music services (spending more than before!). Why couldn’t this type of model be used for mobility?
“Valuable intermediaries – How Blablacar, Facebook, Paypal or Uber create value” – D. Evans (entrepreneur) and R. Schmalensee (MIT) – Ed. Odile Jacob.