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Mobility as a service: What does it mean for society?

5 August 2018
Disrupting society through mobility services
Mobility as a service (MaaS) is a popular interpretation of future collaborative and connected urban transportation, centred on a changing society embracing a sharing culture which can satisfy our mobility needs without owning assets such as a car.
Mobility as a Service scenario

Example of a mobility subscription plan under MaaS

What is Mobility as a Service?

Mobility as a service (MaaS) is a popular interpretation of future collaborative and connected urban transportation, centred on a changing society embracing a sharing culture which can satisfy our mobility needs without owning assets such as a car. 

MaaS emerges because of opportunities afforded by digital information platforms to plan and deliver multimodal mobility options in point-to-point trips and/or first-and-last mile travel to public transport journeys.

MaaS packages will provide consumers with seamless mobility options with integrated payments through a single app in much the same way as unified telco packages provide users with a choice of mobile minutes, data and text options.

Over the past four years, the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at the University of Sydney Businesss School has been undertaking research into what impact MaaS will have on future societies. 

Led by the Director of the Institute, Professor David Hensher, and Professor Emerita Corinne Mulley, the research aims to uncover what MaaS will mean for both consumers and suppliers in the future. 

Professor Hensher says that "we need to know what packages consumers will want and how much they are willing to pay, while on the supply side, what the governance issues are and the implications for the way in which governments procure collective transport."

There is also a current imperative to understand the barriers to disruption. The five key barriers include:

  1. The momentum barrier, in that potential switchers/users are accustomed to the status quo.
  2. The technology-implementation barrier, which could be overcome by existing technology reflected in the digital platforms of today.
  3. The ecosystem barrier, which requires a change in the business environment to overcome.
  4. The new technologies barrier, which is the technology required to change the competitive landscape and which may not yet exist (this is linked to future digital platforms).
  5. The business model barrier, whereby a disrupter would have to adopt the cost structure of existing providers on part or all of their MaaS offering such as an Uber or single mode public transport provider.

The Maas team brings together key contributors Dr Chinh Ho, Professor Rico Merkert and Professor John Nelson, Honorary Associate Yale Wong and PhD student James Bushell with a wide range of industry domestic and international partners. 

Industry partners involved in research activities include iMOVE, IAG, SkedGo, Transport for NSW, Transport Systems Catapult (UK), the Department of Transportation and Logistics Engineering, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, City of Edmonton (Canada), BusNSW, Busvic, Bus Industry Confederation, Busways Group, Buslink Queensland and Metro Trains Australia. 

Related research

Published

Hensher, D.A., Mulley, C., Ho, C., Nelson, J., Smith, G. and Wong, Y. (2020) 'Understanding Mobility as a Service (MaaS) - Past, Present and Future'. Elsevier,  May 2020 (softcover and e-book). ISBN 9780128200445. 

Hensher, D. A. and Mulley, C. (Guest editors) 2020 ‘Introduction to Special issue on developments in mobility as a service (MaaS) and intelligent mobility’. Transportation Research Part A, 131, 1-4.

Ho, C., Mulley, C. and Hensher, D. A. 2020 'Public preferences for mobility as a service: Insights from stated preference surveys'. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 131, 70-90.

Merkert, R. and Beck M. J. 2020 ‘Can a strategy of integrated air-bus services create a value proposition for regional aviation management?’. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 132, 527-539.

Merkert, R., Bushell, J., and Beck, M. J. 2020 ‘Collaboration as a service (CaaS) to fully integrate public transportation–lessons from long distance travel to reimagine Mobility as a Service’. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice131, 267-282.

Mulley, C., Ho, C., Balbontin, C., Hensher, D., Stevens, N., Nelson, J. and Wright, S. 2020 ‘Mobility as a service in community transport, in Australia: can it provide a sustainable future?’. Transportation Research Part A, 131, 107-122.

Smith, G. and Hensher, D. A. 2020 ‘Towards a framework for Mobility as a Service policies’. Presented at the 16thInternational Conference on Competition and Ownership of Land Passenger Transport (Thredbo 16), Singapore August 2019. Transport Policy, 89, 54-65.

Wong, Y. Zand Hensher, D. A. 2020 ‘Delivering mobility as a service (MaaS) through a broker/aggregator business model’. Transportation.

Wong, Y. Z., Hensher, D. A. and Mulley, C. 2020 ‘Mobility as a service (MaaS): Charting a future context’. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 131, 5-19.

Mulley, C., Nelson, J. D. and Hensher, D. A. 2019 'Intelligent Mobility and mobility as a Service, Chapter 21'. In Stanley, J. and Hensher, D. A. (Eds.), A Research Agenda for Transport Policy, Edward Elgar Publishing.  ISBN: 978 1 78897 019 8.

Mulley, C. and Kronsell, A. 2018 'Workshop 7 report—The “uberisation” of public transport and mobility as a service (MaaS): Implications for future mainstream public transport'. In Alexandersson, G., Hensher, D. A. and Steel, R. (Eds.), Competition and Ownership in Land Passenger Transport (Selected papers from the Thredbo 15 conference). Research in Transportation Economics, 69, 568-572.

Hensher, D. A. 2018 'Tackling road congestion—What might it look like in the future under a collaborative and connected mobility model?'. Transport Policy.

Hensher, D. A. 2017 'Future bus transport contracts under a mobility as a service (MaaS) regime in the digital age: Are they likely to change?'. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 98, 86-96.

Mulley, C. 2017 'Mobility as a Services (MaaS)—Does it have critical mass?'. Transport Reviews, 37(3), 247-251.

Mulley, C., Nelson, J. D. and Wright, S. 2017 'Mobility as a service for the older population: A transport solution to land use changes in essential services?'. Paper presented at the 2017 World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research (WSTLUR), Brisbane, Australia, 3-6 July.

Ho, C., Hensher, D. A., Mulley, C. and Wong, Y. Z. 2017 'Prospects for switching out of conventional transport services to mobility as a service subscription plans—A stated choice study'. Paper presented at the 15th International Conference on Competition and Ownership in Land Passenger Transport (Thredbo 15), Stockholm, Sweden, 13-17 August.

Wong, Y. Z., Hensher, D. A. and Mulley, C. 2017 'Emerging transport technologies and the modal efficiency framework: A case for mobility as a service (MaaS)'. Paper presented at the 15th International Conference on Competition and Ownership in Land Passenger Transport (Thredbo 15), Stockholm, Sweden, 13-17 August.

For a full copy of papers without links, please contact business.itls@sydney.edu.au.

Papers prepared as drafts for the Sydney Trial and MaaS

Hensher, D. A., Ho, C., Reck, D., Smith, G., Wong, Y. Z., Lorimer, S. and Lu, I. ‘The Sydney Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Trial: design, implementation and lessons’. Latest full draft 27 April 2020, 75 pages.

Hensher, D. A. and Ho, C. ‘Is there a relationship between private car use and subscribing to mobility as a service (MaaS) plans?’. Latest full draft 25 April 2020.

Ho, C., Hensher, D. A. and Reck, D. ‘A revealed preference model for choice between pay as you go and subscription bundles: the Sydney MaaS trial’.

Wong, Y. Z. and Hensher, D. A. ‘Pay-as-you-go or a subscription MaaS model: What are the stakes?’. Submitted to Transportation Research Part A, 4 April 2020.

Reck, D., Hensher, D. A. and Ho, C. ‘MaaS Bundle Designs’. Submitted to Transportation Research Part A, 10 February 2020, referees reports 24 April 2020.

Wong, Y. Z. and Hensher, D.A. 'Delivering mobility as a service (MaaS) through a broker/aggregator business model'. Presented at the 16th International Conference on Competition and Ownership of Land Passenger Transport (Thredbo 16), Singapore August 2019, submitted to Transportation, accepted 27 April 2020.

Hensher, D. A., Mulley, C., Ho, C., Nelson, J., Smith, G. and Wong, Y. Z. ‘Understanding MaaS: Past, Present and Future’. Paper prepared for presentation at the 2nd International Conference on Mobility as a Service, Tampere, Finland, November 2019.

Forthcoming 

Wong, Y. Z. and Hensher, D. A. (and other authors) 'The role of autonomous taxis in future urban transport systems worldwide'. Joint paper with ETH Zürich, Bandung Institute of Technology, University of California (UC) at Davis, University of Connecticut, State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, nuTonomy Asia, Southwest Jiaotong University and University of Chile. Paper submitted to Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. For further details of this study, please contact Yale Wong at yale.wong@sydney.edu.au.

Wong, Y. Z. 'Integrated mobility services and contractual structures', PhD research using stated choice methods to identify the structure of broker/aggregator mobility contracts. For further details of this study, please contact Yale Wong at yale.wong@sydney.edu.au.

Bushell, J. 'Strategies for coordinating public transport ecosystems—The value of seamlessness and the future of smart ticketing platforms', PhD research on transport integration and system integrity. For further details of this study, please contact James Bushell at james.bushell@sydney.edu.au.

Hensher, D. A., Ho, C., Nelson, J., Mulley, C., and Wong, Y. 2019-2021 ‘Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Trial: User Behaviour Analytics’. A partnership through the iMOVE CRC involving ITLS, IAG and Skedgo.  

Mulley, C., Hensher, D. A. and Nelson, J. D. 2016-18 'Mobility as a service: A future direction for community transport?'. University of Sydney Business School Partnership grant in conjunction with five Community Transport Organisations.

Ho., C., Mulley, C., and Hensher, D. A. 2018 'Public preferences and willingness to pay for mobility as a service (MaaS) in a UK context'. Report in preparation for Transport Systems Catapult.

Stanley, J., Hensher, D. A. and Wong, Y. Z. 2018 'Disruptive technology: A better future for land passenger transport? Bus and Coach Industry Policy Paper 11'. Report in preparation for Bus Industry Confederation.

Hensher, D. 2020 'Transport of Tomorrow online: Mobility as a Service progress and new insights from an Australian trial'. Watch the video presentation

Wong, Y.Z. 2019 'Showcasing ITLS: Shining the spotlight on our MaaS research.' Watch the video.

Wong, Y.Z. 2019 'Mobility as a Service (MaaS): An emerging concept in urban transportation'. Download the seminar presentation (PDF, 251KB)

Hensher, D.A. 2018 'Shared mobility and public transport—A new future!' Panel on shared mobility, International Transport Economics Association (ITEA) Annual Conference, Hong Kong, 27-29 June.

Mulley, C. 2018 'Prospects for switching out of conventional transport services to mobility as a service subscription plans—A stated choice study', based on a paper by Ho, C., Hensher, D. A., Mulley, C. and Wong, Y. Z. Universities Transport Studies Group (UTSG), London, UK, 3-5 January.

Mulley, C. 2017 'Prospects for switching out of conventional transport services to mobility as a service subscription plans—A stated choice study', based on a paper by Ho, C., Hensher, D. A., Mulley, C. and Wong, Y. Z. 1st International Conference on Mobility as a Service (ICoMaaS), Tampere, Finland, 28-29 November.

Wong, Y. Z. 2017 'Bus contracts, business models and MaaS—What might they look like?' Bus Industry Confederation National Conference: Moving People—Mobility as a Service, Hobart, Australia, 12-15 November. Watch the presentation.

Hensher, D. A. 2017 'Digital public transport in an era of sharing and collaborative mobility'. Plenary opening address, Roads Australia (RA) National Roads Summit, Sydney, Australia, 31 May-1 June.

Mulley, C. 2017 'Mobility as a service: Where is it going?' Business Breakfast: Mobility as a Service, Aberdeen, UK, 26 April.

For full copies of these presentations, please contact business.itls@sydney.edu.au.

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