Why Mobility as a Service Needs a Proper Platform - Streetsblog

By S. Travis Waller and Kasun Wijayaratna

Uber, Ola, Car Next Door, GoGet, Urbi and Shareabike have transformed the mobility experience for millions of people, but are just the tip of the looming iceberg of changes in transport. Globally, 93 million travellers use the Uber app on a monthly basis. More Australians use Uber (22.9 percent) than taxis (21.8 percent).

The public clearly has an appetite for mobility as a service (MaaS). People want to plan, book and pay for various forms of transport via a digital platform.

However, mobility service providers are actors in search of a stage. As with software, computing and entertainment, only when a properly designed and managed platform underpins all the services will the real transformation be unlocked.

The three pillars of the platform

MaaS is part of a broader evolution as novel technologies have driven the rapid transformation of products and offerings into collections of services. Smartphone applications rely on digital distribution platforms such as Google Play Store, Apple Store, Microsoft Store and Amazon Cloud. Similarly, the evolving technologies and mechanisms of mobility systems require a platform for distribution.

The platform concept should include at least three key elements:

  1. integrated ticketing and payment: user payments are managed in a uniform and adaptable manner across all providers

  2. accessible, standardized regulations with open data: regulations and data are managed to be accessible/plug-n-play, secure and equitable

  3. reputation management: reputations of providers and users are managed in a scalable, fair and efficient way.

If the platform is designed poorly, markets will be distorted, privacy will be violated, and escalating infrastructure costs will continue to burden taxpayers.

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