The UK Government’s Transport Committee has launched an inquiry into how best to overcome barriers in implementing mobility as a service (MaaS) in UK cities and regions.
The Committee defined MaaS as a broad term for a range of digital transport service platforms – including niche online car and bike-sharing schemes and hugely high profile taxi and private hire smartphone apps.
The Committee said that door-to-door journeys in cities tend to utilise several transport modes— walk/cycle/minicab; train; bus; walk/cycle, for example, however the most popular smartphone apps to date have tended to be single mode, typically taxis and minicabs.
Lilian Greenwood, chair of the Transport Select Committee, said: “Integrating urban transport modes into a single, integrated MaaS app represents a really exciting opportunity to transform how we get around in cities.
“An integrated MaaS app can create a single, seamless journey, cutting out the hassle of separate ticketing for different legs of a journey. The app can plan and book your whole journey from door to door in the most efficient way possible, using real-time service data across all the transport modes in the city. This could substantially reduce reliance on the private car; ease congestion; increase productivity; and lead to more pleasant, healthier cities with better air quality.”
The Committee has called for written evidence looking at the effectiveness of how integrated multi-mode MaaS apps have boosted the efficiency of urban public transport systems and manage demand for road use in cities globally.
It is also asking for submissions looking at how to best overcome barriers to implementation, for example overcoming transport provider’s unwillingness to share data, customers and revenue.
Finally, it asked for submissions to explore what the role of central government should have in raising awareness, building the evidence base and harnessing the potential of MaaS, as well as how to overcome concerns around ‘digital exclusion.’
Greenwood added: “Integrated MaaS is a much talked about concept, but it is not generally well understood. We want to increase public understanding; find out if the bold claims are justified; and, if they are, recommend ways of overcoming some of the barriers to implementation in the UK.”
Written submissions are requested by Friday 22 December.