Mobility as a service: the transport solution of the future?

The notable economic trend that shifts consumer expectations towards ease of use of devices instead of seeing them reflected in transportation? So-called mobility-as-a-service solutions were debated at this year’s Public Transport Congress.

– Mobility as a service is an ecosystem of various factors interacting with each other. This approach differs from the current or economic view of transport – said Dr hab. Ing. Lidia Żakowska, prof. Krakow University of Technology. She explained that until now there was a clear division between transport service contractors (including transport owners) and travelers, who had to adapt to the offer presented to them. The MaaS trend is to put passengers at the center and meet their needs, moving away from the paradigm of moving large numbers of people quickly and cheaply in a uniform manner.

MaaS is part of the larger economic trends

Bartosz Dominiak, deputy mayor of the capital’s Ursynów district, suggested that MaaS could lead to an expansion of the competences of local governments and an increase in the role of Warsaw municipalities in transport planning in the future. He compared the concept of mobility as a service to subscription to streaming platforms offering movies or music. – A customer who wants to go from point A to point B is not interested in how it will be. He wants this to happen quickly, inexpensively, efficiently, safely, etc. – he argued.

According to Jacek Grzeszak of the digital economy team at the Polish MaaS Economic Institute, this can be seen in the context of a broader economic trend of moving from goods to services. – On the one hand, we have new technologies, but also a change in social behavior. An increasing percentage of our society’s GDP is linked to services. This has been disrupted by the pandemic as people have resumed consuming goods, he said, however, deeming it to be more of a temporary setback from long-term trends. According to him, in the future we will again spend more and more money on services, including transport solutions, instead of goods, for example means of transport.

The service model works well in business

– MaaS is a combination of the technological and IT world with the social element. The generation that was born in the time of freedom did not learn to own. They just want to use it, said Sebastian Grabowski, president of the ArchitectsPL foundation. He argued that in the face of such expectations, customers should be provided with a car or other means of transport in the form of a service in exchange for a small recurring fee instead of a one-off amount needed to buying a property.

He pointed out that the experience so far shows that this is a very good model also from a business point of view, as the owners of shared systems generate significant profits. – For me, as a person who takes a somewhat critical look at the world, the service model is so practical that in the age of rapid IT development it gives a chance to introduce huge innovations – a he added. He argued that one person does not need to be interested in exploring new solutions, while a company specializing in a given field can.

Winston Ferguson

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