Commuter Kate: What’s Mobility as a Service (MaaS)?

Published: November 14, 2018

Until recently, the concept of people movement has been more of an art than a science. With the new concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), technology can provide the data to increase efficiency in public transit and serve the urban mobility industry.

But what exactly is Mobility as a Service? Mobility as a Service, or MaaS for short, is the term used to describe the ever-increasing revolution away from personal vehicle ownership to other forms of multimodal public and private transit options that are offered as a “service.” There is even a MaaS Alliance that offers this official, if not wordy, definition:

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is the integration of various forms of transport services into a single mobility service accessible on demand. To meet a customer’s request, a MaaS operator facilitates a diverse menu of transport options, be they public transport, ride-, car- or bike-sharing, taxi or car rental/lease, or a combination thereof. For the user, MaaS can offer added value through use of a single application to provide access to mobility, with a single payment channel instead of multiple ticketing and payment operations.

Commuter Kate Mobility as a Service MaaS

Using Moovit to ride between Muni (bus) and BART (metro) using one app.

The mobility sector is one of the fastest changing industries at the moment, and with the evolution of Autonomous Vehicles (AV) and expansion of the sharing economy – cars, scooters, bikes and who knows what’s next (maybe roller skates?! Just kidding), it’s impossible to say exactly what the mobility landscape will look like in years to come.

However, as I work at Moovit, I have developed a deep understanding about where we are likely to be. Moovit is an early pioneer of MaaS and owns and operates the largest repository of urban mobility data, gathering up to four billion data points a day which it gets from its #1 public transit app. To top it off, it’s all completely anonymous data, so us transit riders have no worries about their private information being exposed or shared.

Moovit is licencing its specialized data to transit authorities, governments and municipalities all over the world to help provide them better public transit fleet management, improved service frequency and routes as well as a whole suite of MaaS solutions. The concept is clever — while we await political priorities changing and new-found investment into the crucial public transit sector which millions of Americans rely on each year to find its feet, there are much quicker and more affordable solutions to our transit quandaries right in front of us through the use of data.

This urban mobility revolution is truly impressive already and the future of public transit has some very exciting changes in store — I’m glad I’m able to be a part of this positive change.

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