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Mobility as a Service research

Disrupting society through mobility services
We conduct research into how Mobility as a Service can improve the transport user experience and benefit our communities by providing a pertinent alternative to owning and using private vehicles.

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 solutions improve the consumer experience with seamless connections and integrated payments through a single app. Users can use MaaS as a pay-as-you-go option, but what makes MaaS special is its mobility subscriptions, which work in much the same way as unified telco packages that provide users with a choice of data, talk and text amounts.

A table depicting examples of different Mobility as a Service subscription plans, including different levels of access to public transport and ride share services for fees ranging from $50 per month to $125 per month

Example mobility subscription plans offered under the Sydney Mobility as a Service Trial

Our Mobility as a Service research

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

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

We need to know what mobility 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.
Professor David Hensher

Webinar: Does MaaS have legs? Views of supporters and sceptics

Design of a Regional Town and Rural Hinterland (RTRH) MaaS Blueprint

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a centrepiece of the Future Transport Technology Roadmap of Transport for NSW (released in April 2021). Although we are accumulating a great deal of knowledge and experience in progressively introducing elements of MaaS into a metropolitan setting, there is a void in the context of Regional Towns and Rural Hinterlands (RTRH), with the generally accepted position that the metropolitan context is quite different to RTRH. MaaS in RTRH is unlikely to be built on a strong regular route-based public transport offer, and therefore car-based solutions are likely to be important in the mix with potentially more flexible forms of public transport services and possibly a different client customer base. In a RTRH setting, reducing social exclusion and improving well-being will come to the forefront as very important objectives that can be enhanced through a MaaS framework. The objective of this Project is to design a blueprint for future MaaS initiatives in a RTRH setting, drawing on experience in the Sydney MaaS trial, international evidence, and new data specifically collected with all stakeholders in the RTRH environment.

Mobility as a Service trial study

Our recently completed Sydney MaaS trial study helps advance the knowledge in this space.

"On the demand side, we now know that every-day travellers are seeking in MaaS a way to save on transport costs and simplify their travel," says Dr Ho. "This raises the need for designing mobility bundles that balance customer experience with societal goals and commercial outcomes to create value for all."

"On the supply side, trust and collaboration among key stakeholders, together with direct involvement of public authorities, emerge as critical in delivering MaaS promises, including improved efficiency and environmental sustainability."

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.

Download the Sydney Mobility as a Service Trial report from iMove (pdf, 8MB).

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; Metro Trains Australia.

Webinar: MaaS – what we learnt from our 2 year trial


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.

Final report

Hensher, D.A., Ho., C., Reck, D., Smith, G., Lorimer, S. and Lu, I. (2021) The Sydney Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Trial: design, implementation, lessons and the future including Appendices A to K. iMOVE draft final report and a monograph, March. https://imoveaustralia.com/project/project-outcomes/sydney-maas-trial-final-report/

Trial specific papers   

Ho, C.Q., Hensher, D.A. and Reck, D. (2021) Drivers of participant’s choices of monthly mobility bundles: key findings from the Sydney Mobility as a Service (MaaS) Trial, Transportation Research Part C, online 29 December 2020, 124. 102932.   

Hensher, D.A., Ho, C. and Reck, D. (2021) Mobility as a Service and private car use: evidence from the Sydney MaaS trial, Transportation Research Part A, 145, 17-33.   

Ho, C. Hensher, D.A., Reck, D., Lorimer, S and Lu, I. MaaS bundle design and implementation: Lessons from the Sydney MaaS Trial, submitted to Transportation Research Part A, revised 10 February 2021   

Smith, G., Hensher, D.A., Ho, C. and Balbontin, C. The user perspective on Mobility-as-a-Service: Insights from a trial in Sydney. Submitted to Transportation, 24 December 2020.   

Sarkar, N., Ho, C. and Hensher D.A. How does Mobility as a Service (MaaS) change travel behaviour? Submitted to Journal of Public Transportation, 21 December 2020. 

During the Project   

Hensher, D.A., Mulley, C. and Nelson J.D. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) – Going Somewhere or Nowhere? Submitted to Transport Policy, Topical Issues Section, 10 February 2021 

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 on MaaS and Intelligent Mobility Guest Edited by David Hensher and Corinne Mulley, 131, 70-90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2019.09.031

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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2019.09.039

Hensher, D.A. (2020) What might Covid-19 mean for mobility as a service (MaaS)? Transport Reviews, 40 (5), 551-556. See also a slightly longer version at https://imoveaustralia.com/thoughtpiece/what-might-covid-19-mean-for-mobility-as-a-service/

Hensher, D.A. and Mulley, C. (2020) Mobility bundling and cultural tribalism - might passenger mobility plans through MaaS remain niche or are they truly scalable? A Topical Issues Paper, Transport Policy, 100, 172-175. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2020.11.003

See also https://imoveaustralia.com/news-articles/personal-public-mobility/maas-in-uncertain-times/

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, 204 pp. ISBN 9780128200445.   

Smith, G. and Hensher, D.A. (2020) Towards a framework for Mobility as a Service policies, (presented at the 16th International Conference on Competition and Ownership of Land Passenger Transport (Thredbo 16), Singapore August 2019) Transport Policy, 89, 54-65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2020.02.004

Mulley, C., Ho, C., Balbontin, C., Hensher, D.A., Stevens, L., Nelson, J. and Wright. S. (2020) Mobility as a service in community transport, in Australia: can it provide a sustainable future? of Transportation Research Part A on MaaS and Intelligent Mobility, Guest Edited by David Hensher and Corinne Mulley, 131, 107-122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2019.04.001

Reck, D.J., Hensher, D.A. and Ho, C. (2020) MaaS Bundle Designs, Transportation Research Part A, 141, 485-501.

Reck, D.J., K.W. Axhausen, D.A. Hensher, and C.Q. Ho Multimodal transportation plans: empirical evidence on uptake, usage and behavioral implications from the Augsburg MaaS Trial; paper prepared for presentation at the Transportation Research Board Annual Conference, Washington DC, January 2021, accepted for presentation 2 October 2020.

Wong, Y., Hensher, D.A. and Mulley, C.M. (2020) 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 of Land Passenger Transport (Thredbo 15), Stockholm, Sweden, 13-17

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

Wong, Y. 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), Transportation, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11116-020-10113-z

August 2017. Transportation Research Part A on MaaS and Intelligent Mobility Guest Edited by David Hensher and Corinne Mulley, 131, 5-19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2019.09.030

Pre‐Project

Mulley, C., Nelson, J. and Hensher, D.A. (2019) Intelligent Mobility and Mobility as a Service, in Stanley, J.K. and Hensher, D.A. (eds.) A Research Agenda for Transport Policy, Edward Elgar publishers, Chapter 21, 187-195. https://www.elgaronline.com/view/edcoll/9781788970198/9781788970198.xml

Wong, Y.Z., Hensher, D.A. and Mulley, C. (2019) Mode-agnostic mobility contracts: Identifying broker/aggregator models for delivering mobility as a service (MaaS), World Conference on Transport Research - WCTR 2019 Mumbai 26-31 May 2019. Also presented at the January 2019 Transportation Research Board Annual Conference, Washington D.C.  

Ho, C., Hensher, D.A., Mulley, C.M. and Wong, Y. (2018) Potential uptake and willingness-to-pay for Mobility as a Service (MaaS): A stated choice study, (paper presented at the 15th International Conference on Competition and Ownership of Land Passenger Transport (Thredbo 15), Stockholm, Sweden, 13-17 August 2017), Transportation Research Part A, 117, 302-318.   

Wong, Y.Z., Hensher, D.A. and Mulley, C. (2018)Mode-agnostic mobility contracts: Identifying broker/aggregator models for delivering mobility as a service (MaaS), paper presented at the Australasian Transport Research Forum, November 2018, Darwin. This paper won the David Willis Prize for best paper.   

Hensher, D.A. (2017) Future bus transport contracts under mobility as a service regime in the digital age: are they likely to change? (Presented at the 15th International Conference on Competition and Ownership of Land Passenger Transport (Thredbo 15), Stockholm, Sweden, 13-17 August 2017) Transportation Research Part A, 98, April, 86-96. (Third most cited paper as of December 2020). Third most cited paper in TR A as of December 2020.

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.