A user perspective for sustainable journey planning
Aim of the website
The websites aim is to define a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) platform from a user perspective in the Malmö region. Consumers in this research are (potential) public transport users in the area of Malmö, that could benefit from an improved digital environment for looking up, comparing and booking public transport trips. The concept of MaaS is a field that has been researched by experts a lot lately. By analysing research and existing pilot projects, it is possible to define how potential users can benefit from a MaaS platform in Malmö.
All means of transport at one go
The core concept of MaaS is to integrate different services and make them available to users on a single surface. The MaaS platform is a collection of components that perform integral functions such as data import, data storage, travel planning, optimization, ticketing, payment and communication. These functions enable users to plan multimodal journeys, book means of transport, receive routing and rebooking suggestions in case of disruptions and pay for the travel uniformly. The relevant data include the location of public transport stations, routing and timetable information, real-time location of trains, buses, pick-up cars and bicycles, location and price information of carpooling services, and the respective booking and payment systems of the various modes of transport.
Sort your route suggestions or vehicle combinations according to CO2 emission.
Share with others
If you are not using your ticket, send it to your best friend, your grandma or a random person.
You need 20 minutes to your favourite burger shop, but you don't know if it is still open? The app gives you information about your destination, such as opening hours or phone number.
You wait longingly for your loved ones and would like to watch precisely when you can finally hold them in your arms? No problem with the live tracking function of the means of transport.
Filter your journeys
Are you training for a triathlon and want to ride a bike? You can create personalized filters of your preferences.
The app shows you all possible means of transport in your area on the map.
"What functionality would be helpful for you to include in the MaaS platform?"
What is the relevance of MaaS for city planning?
Mobility is an essential aspect of urban planning. A good sustainable mobility plan can improve the overall quality of life for residents by addressing major challenges such as congestion, air and noisepollution, climate change, road accidents, unsightly on-street parking and the integration of new mobility services.
A MaaS application provides users with the possibility to use the rising amount of mobility services more flexible. That can reduce the number of habitual choices made by citizens and give cities the change to offer citizens the best mobility offer available that suits their needs. These offers include public transport and other transport services. Citizens will make more informed decisions and are more flexible.
The satisfaction of existing multi-modal travellers has the opportunity to improve, while the combined use can become a real alternative for owning a second or even a first car. Both of these aspects can lead to a more sustainable modal split. The research within MaaS is developing extremely fast, and it is challenging policymakers to keep up with the rapid developments. The potential benefits and the fast-developing MaaS environment, make research into MaaS relevant to urban planning.
How does MaaS work?
The integration and the unified service provision are undertaken by intermediaries that are between supply and demand. As shown in the figure, the supply side consists of mobility service providers, i.e. all public or private organisations that provide transport capacity (transport companies) or mobility-related services such as parking spaces.
The main providers are transport companies that offer services such as public transport, car sharing, carpooling, on-demand services and many others. A MaaS service does not contribute to the creation of additional transport capacity, but integrates existing capacities of these underlying transport modes.
As the definitions state, MaaS is about the integration and aggregation of multiple mobility service providers into a single service; therefore, a single ridesharing system should not be considered MaaS by itself. Shared mobility and on-demand services serve as a solution to the first and last mile problem and can complement traditional public transport in situations where public transport alone is not able to meet the individual needs of users. Shared transport, together with public transport and any new mobility solution, completes a comprehensive transport offer that can provide a viable alternative or complement to individual transport.
To ensure such complementarity of public transport and to control the risk of substitution of public transport journeys by shared and new mobility services in areas where it is not desirable from a sustainable city perspective, public oversight and effective governance are needed. While only transport operators are currently being considered on the supply side, other companies could also enter the MaaS arena. For example, providers of mobility-enhancing services (such as fuel providers, parking or highway operators, mobile phone charges) and providers of entertainment services (such as Wi-Fi providers or providers of movies and games) that could improve the travel experience of users could also be considered as MaaS providers.
What Stakeholders are there, and what is their role?
Multi-modal travellers will have an improved and direct travel experience increasing the overall satisfaction of a public transport network. The exact added value will be determined during several MaaS Pilot projects. Car owners have the perspective of no longer needing to take care of their car: They instead use the service that is provided to them, with more flexibility and less hassle.
Cities development plans are striving for more sustainable transport, also Malmö Stad is striving for sustainable mobility: “Walking, cycling and public transport are the first choice for all who work, live or visit in Malmö. These travel choices, together with efficient and environmentally friendly freight and car traffic, are the basis of the transport system in our dense and sustainable city - a transport system designed for the city, and its people.” A MaaS platform can help reach these goals.
Public Transport Authority
By increasing the service for multi-modal travellers and attracting new user groups, public transport authorities have the opportunity to gain additional users. A public transport Authority can also take up the role of MaaS operator; one example of this is Jelbi in Berlin, Germany. Another approach for public transport authorities is to create a digital environment and therefore allowing other parties to develop the MaaS platform. This way, a transport provider can focus on their core competence; creating public transport.
MaaS platform providers
Depending on the structure of a MaaS environment, several MaaS platform providers can create the actual application and therefore serve as the interface between transport providers and users. The MaaS platform provider can be the public transport authority, but it can also be provided by a private party that can sell local transport providers’ services.
What is the expected benefit for users?
The primary advantage for users is the integration of different mobility options into one app, allowing users to compare their possibilities easily and quickly.
In the case of Malmö, for example, the current situation is as follows. If you want to use the bike from Malmö by Bike, you must either enter a customer number and code at the bike station or you hold a chip card against it to get access to a bike. If you want to take the bus or train afterwards, you can either buy a paper ticket or a digital ticket on Skånetrafiken app. Also, the e-scooters in Malmö need specific apps. Here you can already see that the user needs several different accesses and apps. In the case of MaaS, these could be bundled into one and thus make it easier to use the means of transport and the associated payment. Other features, such as a subscription plan to buy-off one's mobility needs, could be another added value for customers. Extensive testing with large scale pilots such as Whim and Jelbi will develop the additional added value for customers.
Survey about user experience perspective in Malmö
A user-centric approach is a critical success factor for MaaS. An often-used strategy in the pilot projects is to attract early adopters to test features and later on develop a MaaS environment for a broader user group. These early adopters are usually inhabitants that already have a multi-modal lifestyle, are confident using mobile applications and have access to online payment methods. This method is possible, because the MaaS product will not replace existing ticketing and information infrastructure, but rather complement. To test the first impression of a MaaS product in Malmö, an online survey was carried out, targeted at the early adapters. To reach this group, the survey was published in several Facebook groups with the request to participate. These groups are (international) students, inhabitants, ex-pats and commuters in Malmö. Due to the medium used, but also because we are students ourselves, there is an oversupply to the group of students (72.2%). 20.4% of respondents are employed full-time, 5.6% are employed part-time, and one person is retired or other non-working. The goal of the survey was to find out how users in Malmö are currently travelling, and if they are likely to adopt a MaaS application. The outcome was that most respondents used several transport providers and also had several apps. A MaaS infrastructure could, therefore, be of benefit. The full results can be accessed by clicking on the link.
Experts in the field of MaaS have the best overview of the opportunities and challenges. Three expert-interviews were conducted to get insight into their perspective of MaaS.
Haven spoken to different actors in the MaaS field has clarified a number of important aspects to be considered:
The MaaS field is a complex environment with many different actors. The differences in definitions from different stakeholders can therefore largely be explained by the incentives of the different stakeholders.
Even though pilot projects have already started in 2013, a lot still needs to be tested. This included the actual benefit for users, but also the implementation structure and even the technological infrastructure. It is still lacking more large scale pilot projects, where the effects of MaaS on the transport system can be tested.
A collaboration between public transport authorities and private actors seems to be the most realistic and productive way of working. Nevertheless, the incentives for these stakeholders are still to be tested.
Conclusion | Futur Prospects
MaaS is a young and complex concept that is still in development. Nevertheless, previous pilot projects have shown changed travellers behaviour and increased satisfaction. Even though future benefits for travellers are yet to be determined, these first results are mostly positive. The best way to further define the added value of a MaaS concept is by extensive testing with pilot projects. Based on literature and a survey, we can determine that a MaaS platform in Malmö could be an added value for users. Our respondents seem to have a multi-modal lifestyle and are familiar with online payment and apps. Also, in Malmö Region, it seems most logical to start testing with a pilot project to determine the possible added value for users and other stakeholders. As mentioned above, users are not the only stakeholder. The implementation of a MaaS platform can be carried out in many ways. How and if this could be possible is not mentioned on this page. Further research into these possibilities should be done. As mentioned above, users are not the only stakeholder.
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