10 Steps to implement MaaS in your city

Pieter Morlion, project owner of Traffic Management as a Service, presented at the MaaS conference in Rotterdam on March 6th. In this article he presents his vision on how to get Mobility as a Service (MaaS) to your city. Read the full article on LinkedIn. 

10 Steps to get MaaS to your city:

1. Governments should first of all have a future vision and plan mobility in their cities. What are their urban mobility policies and can MaaS help to achieve them? And if so, what do they want to reach? There is no goal in implementing MaaS if you don’t know what for.

2. Don’t put too much trust into consultants or mayor companies who want to implement MaaS for you, without the ability to tell you why. Especially when they want you to use their platform or products. Any company contacting you, should be able to tell you how they will help you reach your mobility vision by maximizing the benefits and minimizing the drawbacks of MaaS

3. If you didn’t have any open data already on public transport timetables, bus stops, real-time delays, bike sharing stations, .. stop reading this and get things done.

4. Define how you will monitor the use of MaaS and the different transport modes in your city. There is no point in implementing something to achieve your vision if you don’t know if it is actually working. If you want the promote the use of car sharing over private car use, but don’t want public transport users to shift to ride hailing services, you better think of how you will monitor this. You will need data from services you don’t own, so keep this in mind for future negotiations.

5. Governments should start by giving the good example, in order to avoid the ‘chicken or the egg’ problem. Before anything else, all services operated or paid by governments should have an open ticketing API. This means third parties can sell tickets for your buses, trams, trains, bicycle sharing schemes, parking, .. By doing so, you will create a minimal offer for MaaS in your city and stimulate local start-ups and MaaS providers to investigate and experiment. In the ideal case, these open ticketing API’s have been built by local universities or start-ups, and are open source and can be re-used by others.

6. Reach out to your local mobility providers (car sharing systems, taxi’s, bike sharing and rental companies, ride hailing services, ..). Invite them all and get them around a table. Ask them what their vision is for the future. Tell them what MaaS is. Check if it benefit them. How can they, and should they implement MaaS in their roadmap, vision, products and services? Keep on organizing frequent gatherings, and check where help & expertise is needed. Offer advice from legal and technical experts.

7. In my opinion, governments should help create a level playing field, without being in the middle all the time. Governments could be a first point of contact and explain the specificities of mobility in their city. They can indicate who the mobility providers are, how to interact with local players, what their local mobility policies are and how MaaS can help achieve them. They should help ensuring that no monopolies are put in place, and the local mobility providers don’t get tricked into disadvantageous contracts.

I believe cities can do this by leveraging their position. Most cities offer mobility services themselves. It would be logically only to work with parties that bring your vision into practice.

Another important way to leverage your position: MaaS will only be a success when it has customers. Getting to end-customers takes a lot of energy and money from MaaS providers. As a city, you have the advantage that those customers are your citizens. You can ‘recommend’ MaaS providers that operate under conditions you consider fair by handing out a quality label or mention them on your website.

8. Avoid making it too difficult. Start by stimulating tickets sales of existing mobility providers through open ticketing API’s. It might be too ambitious to first create new bus lines or attract certain mobility service providers. Start with what is already there, it should be there already for a good reason. Help the existing providers by offering them lessons learned and (open) technical solutions from global or European projects and networks you are involved with.

9. Don’t build a MaaS platform yourself, but act as a ‘marriage agency’ between local mobility services and MaaS providers. You are a government, not an IT company, and there is a big chance that the market can create solutions much faster and more efficient than you can.

10. Keep on bringing your mobility service providers around a table. Keep on talking to MaaS providers. Keep on talking with other cities. Monitor what is happening in your city. Be willing to change your habits, while people in the street are changing theirs. Think outside of the box. For example, woud it make sense to shift from a fixed yearly road tax to a tax or subsidy per kilometer or hour driven, depending on factors like: how busy is the road / bus / .. , infrastructure costs, impact on health of the user and the community ..

The original article was published by Pieter Morlion on March 11th, on LinkedIn