Mobility as a Service – experiences from the Nordic countries
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) brings every kind of transport together into a single intuitive mobile app. It seamlessly combines transport options from different providers, handling everything from travel planning to payments. Whether you prefer to buy journeys on demand or subscribe to an affordable monthly package, MaaS manages your travel needs in the smartest way possible. MaaS is an alternative to private car ownership. It makes worries about route planning, parking and car maintenance a thing of the past. The MaaS concept was born in Finland where it already plays a key role in the national transport policy.
The transport sector has a great climate impact in the Nordic region, but new shared digitalised mobility services such as combined mobility or MaaS can reduce the use of private cars. The system of mobility services is seen as one of the future solutions for a sustainable transport sector where public transport with its high capacity is connected with car pool, rental car, taxi, loan bike etc. to cover travelers' travel demand. Collected information on all types of traffic and simple payment are other important conditions.
At Persontrafik in Stockholm, representatives from countries in the Nordic, together with researchers, had an exchange of experience on October 24, 2018. In Finland, business and growth policy ambitions have been prominent.
The state has had an active role and changed the legislation in the Finnish transport system. An important sustainability issue has been to promote transport other than private cars, as it is very common in Finland, as in other Nordic countries, to travel alone in a private car. Finland has developed the world's first true MaaS solution, Whim in Helsinki.
In Sweden, the state has more taken the role of an enabler. Tests have been made with the travel service UbiGo in order to facilitate sustainable travel in larger cities and manage everyday life in a simple way without private cars. The test period in Gothenburg showed good results and now Ubigo is being tested in Stockholm. The Swedish Government has initiated the project KOMPIS, which aims to promote the emergence of MaaS in Sweden.
The public transport company in the North Denmark Region (NT) has taken the initiative so that Rejseplanen could develop a MaaS app to improve mobility in the region. NT has received co-financing from the Ministry to develop a national Travel Planner. There is however, a difference between the low-density rural areas of North Denmark Region and a big city like Copenhagen. In North Denmark Region, the app MinRejseplan will display travel information regarding public forms of transportation combined with information about carpooling, taxis etc. Customers will be able to make a booking and pay the selected journey from MinRejseplan to the transport provider’s app. Therefore, MinRejseplan is a step towards creating a MaaS-app.
In Norway, they start with the customers’ needs and purpose with their trips to create offers that can reduce the usage of private cars. With the overall goal to build sustainable cities and societies, reduced car use is a key issue. Many parents drive a car transporting their children to activities, and now there is a pilot with minibuses to solve these transports. For elderly people, buses have been coordinated for on-demand service for seniors. A new idea is to give people bonus points if they go and today many have already technical equipment to register points. One important question is how to facilitate payment by following the travellers so that the payment can be made monthly. The challenge now is how to make people change their habits and travelling choices.
MaaS can be described as services that make it easier to get from one place to another with different modes of transport and without your own car. Today, the Nordic countries have different levels of integration of mobility services. Many are positive, but the challenges are great. The development of combined mobility as a service requires effective collaboration between both public and private actors. Sustainable profitable business models and sharing data are a prerequisite for development, but supportive regulations are also needed, and more. Several pilot projects and initiatives have been implemented without surviving the project phase. The behaviours, attitudes and values of individuals are other challenges to ensure that society's goals and the needs of different groups are taken into account. It is important to remember that customers want a simpler everyday life that replaces their own car. With challenges such as functioning collaboration, supportive regulations and sustainable business models, more learning and development are needed!
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