Mobility as a Service - MaaS, Describing the framework

Holmberg, P-E.,Collado,M., Sarasini, S., Williander, M.
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Mobility as a Service is a quite novel term and has not a commonly agreed definition yet. In this report we use the term Combined mobility services to describe a service offering, including public transport in combination with other transport modes such as taxi, car-sharing, bike-sharing etc.

The drivers for the change in how we will consume mobility are multiple, but the report discusses Societal trends such as Urbanisation ad climate change and sharing economy, Economical trends such as excess capacity and new payment systems together with technological development as enabler for the transition.


New mobility services are constantly entering the market, and one of the most well-known is UBER. The limousine brokering service that, based on a technological platform have expanded around the world and also in terms of the service offering, now offering services covering the taxi-segment and now starting to offer services very close to public transport.

The auto-makers are starting to grasp a possible different future, and are launching mobility services such as car-pool, free-floating car-pools and simplified car-owning schemes.

Especially in the Nordic countries, the concept of MaaS is taking of, with services like Ubigo, which was piloted in Goteborg during 2014 and, a Finnish MaaS-service to be started in 2016 in Finland with the goal of a global expansion. Telecom actors like Ericsson and Sonera are also active in this area. In Sweden, the public transport sector is analysing which role they should take in the MaaS-actor-ecosystem, and in Västra Götaland, a pre-commercial procurement of combined mobility services is scheduled for 2016. On a European level, the MaaS-alliance, supported by ERTICO[1], was formed during 2015 with the aim to stimulate the implementation of MaaS in Europe. EU also supports the concept by issuing a specific topic for MaaS in the 2016 H2020 mobility call.

There are also a series of research-project ongoing, especially in Sweden and Finland, studying MaaS from a institutional, business and technical perspective. However, few studies are currently researching the sustainability effects of MaaS, even though initial studies indicates that MaaS, if designed bad, also can have negative environmental effects.


Mobility as a Service can be designed in different ways and with different types of actors as the lead. If the public transport should be the coordinator of MaaS or a facilitating collaborator is discussed in the report. The report argues that public transport can provide a better stability of such a service (compared to a commercial MaaS operator), but also that public transport do not have the same flexibility in service offering as an external actor, and that they may attract more public transport users than car-owners to the service, in which case the environmental effects can be negative. The report also argues that if MaaS-service is subsidized (other than the services provided by PT), it can also lead to negative rebound effects, and if it is NOT subsidized, there are less reasons why public transport should organise the MaaS-service.

UITP, the international organisation for public transport, have an active process for combined mobility services, CMS,(as MaaS is named in the PT sector) and promotes PT to take an active or even leading role in the establishment of this.


In the report, some models are introduced for describing different types of mobility services emerging, and the most important distinction of what the report describes as MaaS, is that a Combined Mobility Service provides a subscription of some kind and possibly also a re-packaging of included services, while integrated public transport mainly gives the user the possibility to plan, book, and pay for the whole journey with several transport modes in one service (app). CMS is therefore both a business model and a technical platform which draws its profitability on the reduction of privately owned cars, whilst integrated public transport represents mainly a technical integration which mainly simplifies the shift between modes for a single trip. Both these versions are often referred as MaaS-services.


The eco-system of MaaS, and different actor roles are introduced in the report, showing that there are business opportunities for Maas-operators, platform providers, mobility service providers as well as for public transport if the MaaS-service is designed in a right way.


Several institutional barriers are identified in the report, which if addressed, could facilitate a faster introduction of MaaS. The Swedish transport subsidy system is discussed, where subsidizing of cars is allowed, but not the subsidizing of mobility services. The role of public transport and the importance of PT (brand) facing the customer, or if a neutral actor is better in attracting private car-owners to exchange the car for mobility services. The technical matureness of public transport is addressed, while a digitized business process (buying, paying and distributing electronic tickets) is a prerequisite for a commercial MaaS-operator to be able to include public transport in the service offering. Technically, Swedish public transport has a very good position through the work done at X2AB/Samtrafiken, but the policy issues around the possibility for third-party actors to use this, is not yet addressed, especially not on a national level.

Finally several areas are identified where more research is needed to fully understand and take advantage of the possibilities with MaaS. The foremost area, where few initiatives have been identified, is the sustainability effects of MaaS. If wrongly designed, MaaS can give environmental effects of the service are negative (e.g making PT users to use more car-pools), and positive effects are gained if citizens are exchanging the owning of a car with subscription of mobility services.

Other identified research areas are social factors like accessibility are effected by less car-ownership and the introduction of MaaS, how MaaS can contribute to resource efficiency, how MaaS can be supported by policy integration and other institutional issues.


[1] European network for ITS deployment.

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