Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)

What is mobility as a service (MaaS)? How it can help in transportation sector in India?

Mobility as a service (MaaS) or Transport as a service (TaaS) is the integration of various forms of transport services into a single mobility service accessible on demand. It is a shift away from the personally-owned modes of transportation towards mobility solutions that are consumed as a service by combining transportation services from public and private transportation providers through a unified gateway. This unified gateway manages the trip across different modes of transport wherein users can pay for mobility service with a single account on monthly or a single trip basis.

Examples of MasS:

World’s first fully operational MaaS system is now live in German City of Hannover. The system is operating through a unified gateway of ‘Mobility Shop’. It provides for an integrated service encompassing registration, routing, booking and invoicing for several transport modes. It provides for possibility of tailoring the bundle to their individual needs and to directly book their journeys.

Indian Megacities like NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad has a huge potential to emulate the model for giving thrust to public transportation systems.

Potential Benefits

Ability of India to provide shared and connected mobility with MaaS could provide major benefits and address various issues haunting the transport sector of India by

Addressing the last mile connectivity Issues

Due to unplanned urbanization in India providing of last mile connectivity has become a mammoth task. The integration of various modes of transport into a single mobility service can effectively address the issue of last mile connectivity.

Decongestion of Roads

With MaaS there would be shift of focus from moving Vehicles to moving people. This would decongest the roads as MaaS can provide an efficient means of public Transport with better service delivery.

Smart Traffic management

MaaS would provide huge amount of Data about the mobility patterns. Big data together with Artificial intelligence can provide for Smart traffic management solutions.

Enhanced Efficiency of Transport System

The MaaS would aid in planning of the trip till the last minute by providing of integrated means of public transport. This would provide with an increased efficiency of the transport system and improved quality of the transportation Service.

Logistics management

The MaaS will provide numerous avenues for automation of transportation services like toll payments. This will provide for better logistics management and tracking of the vehicular movements.

Formalisation of Transport Sector

MaaS will encourage formalisation of transport sector and give a thrust to digital economy. This formalisation will aid in better policy planning and implementation due to the integrative nature the various components will come under the purview of regulatory bodies.

Smart Services

At present the roadways, railways, airways and rapid transport systems like metro are competing with each other rather than complimenting each other. MaaS will provide with a mechanism for the integration of different modes of transport system for the better service delivery.

Reduced cost to the commuters

MaaS will aid in achieving economy of scale thus providing with dual benefits of reduced operating cost on part of the service provider and reduced cost to the consumer due to the integration resulting in enhanced migration towards MaaS.

Current Challenges

MaaS faces huge challenges in integrating with Indian Transport Sector.

Evolving a model of PPP

The Private Public partnership models are facing both structural and functional issues. The private sector is hesitant to join hands with government because of the complex regulatory regimes and possible interruptions due to the strong institutions of 4C (Courts, CBI, CVC and CAG)

Safety Issues

The big concern is ensuring of safety of commuters while integrating the private and public means of transport. Many safety issues especially related to women are observed with the private service providers like Ola, Uber.

Coordination

The effective coordination between various modes of transport presents a challenge. This integration necessitates coordination between Central government, State government, Corporations and Private sector which is a humungous task.

Infrastructure

For the smooth functioning of MaaS a robust digital infrastructure which can provide hassle free gateway without compromising on privacy of the customers by ensuring data protection is needed. Lack of robust digital infrastructure and data protection laws are bottlenecks for MaaS in India.

Conclusion

India is a Knowledge economy which has established itself as the IT superpower. This expertise of India can be utilized through MaaS to make the transport sector of India more efficient and robust. MaaS will also aid in bringing the attitudinal change as the enhanced quality of services will result in reduced vehicular movement. People will be more than willing to embrace public modes of transport in place of private Vehicles. This will reduce the emissions due to reduction in vehicular emissions.

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