Leon Rizzi, Chief Sales Officer, moovel, shares his insights on Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS).
This post is in association with moovel
moovel’s vision is “a world without traffic jams”. Its solutions and apps are helping to simplify urban mobility and encourage people to switch to shared modes of transport in cities including Stuttgart, Los Angeles and Karlsruhe. Leon Rizzi, Chief Sales Officer, moovel, shares his insights on Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS).
SCW: Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is quite a broad term. What does it mean to you?
LR: I think it can mean different things to different people. For me, it’s a straightforward technical answer – it’s the ability to search, book and pay for all forms of mobility from one app.
It’s as simple as that – one registration, one credit card, one driver’s licence.
Initially, MaaS will work at a city or regional level, then nationally and hopefully at an international level in the future.
We’ll have true MaaS when we capture the reason why we’re travelling, as well as the destination.
Also, we’ll have true MaaS when we capture the reason why we’re travelling, as well as the destination. There’s been a lot of focus on how we get to and from work but, of course, there’s so much more. What do you do after work in the evenings? On the weekends? MaaS has to encompass that and can also help us understand these issues and better serve those needs.
SCW: Public transport is central to MaaS – what other transport services are being integrated?
LR: Any mobility service you can think of – ride-share, bike-share, walking: anything that captures movement. In future, MaaS could incorporate toll roads, airports and more.
Imagine how easy it would be if you’re driving around Europe and you’re able to pay for all the toll roads through one app. Or if you’re going on holiday and you can manage airport transfers, flights, parking check-in and even hotels via the same app.
Technically, all of this is possible. It’s just a question of administration, logistics and commercial models.
SCW: What do you think is the role of the city in MaaS?
LR: The whole idea of mobility will become a commodity, so cities and transportation authorities need to evolve from operators of mobility into managers of mobility.
Cities have a very different function to private-sector mobility providers – cities have a social function. It’s not about revenue for them; it’s about everybody being able to get from A to B, whether you’re young, old, rich, poor, disabled, etc.
An integrated MaaS platform will allow cities to fulfil this function and to control mobility and services in a much more aligned fashion.
MaaS is also an excellent way for cities to align mobility with their other smart city priorities, such as reducing energy usage or improving air quality.
MaaS is an excellent way for cities to align mobility with their other smart city priorities, such as reducing energy usage or improving air quality.
For example, if air pollution goes above a certain level, you can instantly send an alert via the MaaS app, and divert routes away from heavily polluted areas – in real-time. That’s huge.
SCW: Cities and transportation authorities typically have limited financial resources. What models can they use to get MaaS up and running?
LR: Cities or transportation authorities can fund the initiatives outright but increasingly, they’re taking a partnership approach with suppliers. This requires choosing a MaaS technical platform which is highly scalable.
Further, cities and transportation authorities need to find ways to ensure the platform is profitable and cost-effective because partners can’t share or take existing revenues; new ones are required.
There are many options – for example, integrating merchants, such as hotels and retail, etc. Once you get the critical mass of partners, the cost per transaction goes down and the profitability for all the partners goes up.
That creates the ability to offer reduced fares, loyalty programmes and subscription programmes, for instance.
In Asia, this is already happening – in countries such as Japan, integrated smart card systems are advanced. Technically, all this can be quite easily transferred to an app.
In Europe, it’s a lot more fragmented. The question is: how do we start to commercially and legally integrate hotel bookings, events, restaurant bookings, etc.? The issue is more political.
Another emerging trend is implementing mobility allowances as part of employment benefits packages. Employers can offer employees a mobility budget which they can use as needed, and the transportation provider charges the HR department a specific cost per head for the service.
Another emerging trend is implementing mobility allowances as part of employment benefits packages.
Car leasing companies are getting involved too – they have to because they understand that it’s no longer enough to offer a company car; you’ve got to provide alternative options. One of these could be a company car plus a mobility allowance, or even company car-sharing plus a mobility allowance.
Again, that’s in line with smart city initiatives and helping to get people out of single-occupancy cars. It’s a virtuous circle that also creates a brand new revenue stream, and quite a significant one because if you sign up a company with thousands of employees, suddenly the turnover is very high and everyone wins.
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