MaaS: Where Telematics Meets SimCity.
"The problem with everybody owning a car is that cars are effectively underutilized" writes Raul Kripalani, backend & distributed systems engineer for consensusX (consensusx.com). "On top of that, owning a car comes with fixed costs: insurance, maintenance, parking, driving license renewals, etc."
For these and other reasons, people are increasingly turning away from their own cars and toward other modes of transportation, including public mass transit, taxis, bicycles, walking, and a host of individualized transit-sharing services, including car-, ride- and bike-sharing. Soon to come into this mix will be autonomous vehicles (AV), which provide a variety of benefits in terms of safety, traffic flow and freeing up driver time, even though individual AV ownership may also be an example of underutilization.
Regardless of transportation mode, getting from Point A to Point B requires planning, scheduling, trade-offs, and money (for fares or vehicle ownership, or both). Adding cloud-based computing to that, as has been happening in the past few years, especially in Europe, creates a new twist on local, personal transportation. "Mobility becomes a service rather than a resource you own," continues Kripalani.
That service has a name: Mobility as a Service. MaaS is about technology, says Shaleen Srivastava, vice president (Traffic) North America for PTV Group (ptvgroup.com). "Digitization, connectivity, and technological breakthroughs are substantially changing the way we live, work--and move. MaaS will fundamentally change our daily lives, our cities and our mobility behavior."
WHAT'S A MOBILITY SERVICE?
MaaS is almost like telematics on steroids. It's a system designed to power the simulations, operations and controls related to transportation and mobility, usually in a defined area. Think of the SimCity video game, but MaaS is not a game. MaaS is akin to a supervisory control and data acquisition system for area-wide transportation and mobility, encompassing modes of transportation, schedules, pickup and drop off, and reservations/ticketing/payment. "MaaS puts users, both travelers and goods, at the core of transport services," according to the MaaS Alliance (MaaS-Alliance.eu), "offering them tailor-made mobility solutions based on their individual needs. This means that for the first time, easy access to the most appropriate transport mode or service will be included in a bundle of flexible travel service options for end users.
MaaS combines real-time scheduling, control, and payment into one service based on the time of day, destination, the traveler's need (think: urgency), and the availability of transportation modes. By entering these and other parameters into a smartphone app, MaaS returns with the best way to get to the desired destination. This optimized itinerary might involve several modes of transportation.
Once the itinerary is accepted, MaaS books the mobility services as needed (e.g., reserve bus or train seats, and reserve car-share). The MaaS output includes the costs for every step in the itinerary, including optional modes of travel. This transparency lets users evaluate the trade-offs between speed, comfort, and price. The traveler can then buy the optimized journey-all from the smartphone app.
As stated in a white paper published by the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center (NADTC; nadtc.org), "In MaaS, the consumer purchases a 'package' of transportation services, typically on a monthly basis. Further, MaaS is operated by one entity, which can be a public or private organization. While mobility management can be performed by one organization, it is not necessarily responsible for negotiating financial relationships with transportation service providers. Finally, mobility management's objectives are typically more focused on the traveler with special needs, while MaaS' objectives focus is on providing individual mobility with a better level of service than that of a single-occupant vehicle."
Here's another major difference that sets MaaS apart from "just" the mash-up of automated information technologies that put printed maps and schedules, and ticketing processes on-line: MaaS gives individuals the ability to not only plan a trip, but actually take it-from the "first mile" to the "last mile," and regardless of whether the trip is a daily commute, a weekly shopping trip, an emergency, or a spur-of-the-moment escape.
WHY MAAS NOW?
Several factors are driving MaaS. First, the technology is now both widely available and accepted, including cloud computing, WiFi, global positioning systems, smartphones, "big data," the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. Mobile phones act as personal and mobile data collection devices (especially where cities cannot install sensors for data collection and visibility into the context of mobility, both vehicular and human), remote controllers, and command centers. People willingly accept something from smartphones that was never before possible: "People can be 'mobile' and connected all the time," says William El Kaim, founder/consultant of Enterprise Architecture Digital Codex, a consulting firm focused on enterprise architecture integration and e-commerce (eacodex.com). However, points out NADTC: "Smartphones are not, in fact, ubiquitous. Neither are credit cards or bank accounts."
Second, the "sharing" mindset is taking hold everywhere (think: Airbnb, Uber). Increasing numbers of people, especially those living in cities, are shunning individual car ownership for a variety of reasons (cost, continued maintenance, depreciation, parking, etc.), preferring either mass transit when available, comfortable and convenient, or, with increasing regularity, car/ride/bike-share services.
Third, cash-strapped cities need help. Urban planners worldwide are tackling a variety of problems, such as population movement from rural to urban areas, the supply and demands of different demographics (youthful versus aging, flexible lifestyles, and shopping versus entertainment versus medical services availability), and pollution control (including noise, air, and light pollution). Add to that the healthier choices people are making about their mobility: walking and biking, versus motorized transport.
There are just so many roads, tracks and dedicated bike lanes cities can construct. "In lieu of large civil infrastructure projects, transportation systems are increasingly being augmented with a range of information technologies and new forms of transportation that make them smarter, safer, more efficient, more integrated," says Kaim.
"Overall, MaaS will be a good thing for most travelers as well as the planet. Services are a lot easier to optimize than several million peoples' individual behaviors, and since cost and environmental impact are actually correlated in transportation, service providers will have the financial incentive to do this optimization in a way that will mostly benefit the environment," says Christian Fritz, who at the time he said that was area manager, representation and planning, for PARC (Palo Alto Research Center; parc.com).
By LAWRENCE S. GOULD
Potential of MaaS in a Different Geographical Scope
* Objectives: Reduce the use of private cars (causing problems related to congestion, parking, and emissions and air quality)
* Based on: Existing public transport, extended with rental and shared cars and bikes, etc.
* Objectives: No need for a second car; first-mile and last-mile accessibility
* Based on: Park & Ride services, on-demand transport, and other services connecting suburban to city transport services
* Objectives: Increase efficiency, maintain sufficient service level, improve accessibility
* Based on: Demand-responsive transport, taxis, buses and connections to long-haul transport, car-pooling; parcel deliveries, library services, grocery and medicine distribution as add-on services
* Objectives: Offer easy all-in-one packages
* Based on: Long-haul transport services (including aviation), ride-sharing; accommodation, event tickets as add-ons
Source: MaaS Alliance
SUMMARY OF KEY TRENDS SUPPORTING MAAS (U.K. MARKET) Trend Description Consumer Better interchange is Interchanges between Expectations expected by consumers transport modes are significant pain points. There is an increasing focus on the whole journey experience and for better interchange for travelers. Demand for the Sharing The car sharing market is Economy is growing predicted to have a compound annual growth rate of 23% between 2013 and 2025. Demand for the The growth of "as a service" Economy service-based platforms in is growing other sectors has been strong in recent years, with industry analysts predicting further growth. Notable examples include Spotify, Netflix and Amazon Prime. The fact that many cars are parked for over 90% of the time may provide an opportunity for the ''as a service" model to offer consumers better value than offered by the car ownership model. Technology Information The availability of Change Ubiquity transport data as "open data" has already delivered significant value, estimated at 58 million pounds in London alone. Internet of Things may accelerate the growth of the data pool that can be exploited by MaaS. Automation Autonomous vehicles are expected to become increasingly common. Such vehicles could be integrated into MaaS and offered to customers as a service. Appetite of Early Driven by a desire to be Adopters first to market and facilitated by enhanced connectivity and lower barriers to access, platform developers are offering their products to market at beta and pre-beta stages. This is fueling early adoption of new services by specific customer segments and this can support the fast growth of new MaaS value propositions. Mobility Demand for car While vehicle ownership is Consumption ownership still dominant, attitudes to car ownership are shifting. In the UK, this is particularly pronounced amongst younger people, where the percentage of under 20s owning a driving license has decreased by 40% since 1995. Congestion In the UK, road traffic is Crunch forecast to grow between 19% and 55% by 2040 from a 2010 base. Population growth may exacerbate congestion in the future. Urbanization An increasing proportion of the global population is living in urban areas-currently estimated at 53% of the global population. MaaS capabilities in the UK could be exported internationally to support these urban mobility challenges. Source: Catapult Transit Systems (ts.catapult.org.uk)
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|Author:||Gould, Lawrence S.|
|Publication:||Automotive Design & Production|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2017|
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