“How can public transport benefit from MaaS, Thomas?”

January 6, 2022
3 min
Die Corona-Pandemie hat sich auf fast alle Bereiche des öffentlichen und privaten Lebens ausgewirkt. Auch mit Blick auf die Mobilität hat die Krise für noch nie da gewesene Verhältnisse gesorgt und Entwicklungen beschleunigt, die sich sonst wahrscheinlich erst in einigen Jahren realisiert hätten. Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) kann eine Lösung für Mobilitätsanbieter sein, um mit den Folgen der Pandemie umzugehen.
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is a catchword that comes in different flavours - depending on who uses it. Offering a MaaS platform, MaaS is part of our DNA at Mobimeo. That’s why we would like to sequence it to show what it means to us. In the course of several interviews, we ask in-house experts about their specific perspective on MaaS. As public transport companies and associations are a very important stakeholder group of the concept, we asked our market expert Thomas how public transport can benefit from MaaS.

Why does it make sense for public transport to engage with MaaS?

Pub­lic trans­port com­pa­nies and asso­ci­a­tions (PTs) are the embod­i­ment of shared mobil­i­ty. Long before there were “mod­ern” shared mobil­i­ty ser­vices, pub­lic trans­port was offer­ing peo­ple sus­tain­able mobil­i­ty options. Tak­ing the next steps, it also makes sense for these play­ers to enhance the con­nec­tions to oth­er mobil­i­ty ser­vices. In addi­tion, they have the great advan­tage of already being well known and seen as the “go to” insti­tu­tions for mobil­i­ty with­in their regions.


What are the major benefits of MaaS solutions for PTs?

Pub­lic trans­port can ben­e­fit from MaaS solu­tions in many ways. On the one hand, MaaS enables PTs to keep in touch with a broad range of exist­ing and poten­tial pas­sen­gers, even if they don’t use pub­lic trans­port regularly. 

On a broad­er lev­el, MaaS also allows PTs to active­ly shape the mobil­i­ty offer­ing in their region, with pub­lic trans­port form­ing the back­bone of sus­tain­able every­day mobil­i­ty. It is a very insight­ful way to learn about user needs, plan capac­i­ties and devel­op new prod­uct offer­ings such as nov­el tick­et or sub­scrip­tion models. 

Many PTs are already exper­i­ment­ing with pro­vid­ing new mobil­i­ty ser­vices under their brand — espe­cial­ly ride-hail­ing ser­vices to save costs on under-used bus lines. In this con­text, MaaS solu­tions hold the oppor­tu­ni­ty for PTs to dig­i­tal­ly aggre­gate their own offer­ing and those of exter­nal providers. MaaS can of course also bring inter­est­ing new ways for PTs to mar­ket their own services.


What are the differences between a platform model and individual software development in the short run and the long run?

Indi­vid­ual soft­ware devel­op­ment is unfor­tu­nate­ly still the most com­mon way PTs go about sourc­ing their dig­i­tal solu­tions: they come up with long lists of fea­tures which they then pro­cure over prod­uct life cycles of five to even ten years. While in the short run this might result in a decent prod­uct, this approach has many dis­ad­van­tages in the long run. Specif­i­cal­ly, it pre­vents the prod­uct from being devel­oped in a user-cen­tric and agile man­ner. The expect­ed fea­tures are already described in detail and the require­ments do not open up room to build a roadmap for con­tin­u­ous innovation.

The alter­na­tive approach is the plat­form mod­el: it is cen­tral­ly devel­oped on the basis of B2B and B2C research. This approach is a lot more flex­i­ble. There are no require­ments cov­er­ing a ten-year time span, but the next steps for prod­uct devel­op­ment are reg­u­lar­ly reviewed. Thus, the risk of devel­op­ing past the needs of the mar­ket is much low­er than with the tra­di­tion­al approach. The plat­form is also a more effi­cient means of pro­cure­ment: since the devel­op­ment effort is dis­trib­uted among sev­er­al cus­tomers, the actu­al fea­tures are less expen­sive per part­ner and less time con­sum­ing to integrate.


How can PTs successfully implement MaaS? What does it take?

First­ly, to make the imple­men­ta­tion of a MaaS solu­tion suc­cess­ful, it’s cru­cial to keep in mind who it’s all about: the users of (urban) mobil­i­ty solutions. 

Addi­tion­al­ly, it’s impor­tant to be and to stay open to new options: an iter­a­tive approach may not result in the per­fect solu­tion straight away, yet it will lead to bet­ter results in the end. This also includes new means of pro­cure­ment. Nobody knows what kind of fea­tures or tech­nol­o­gy will be need­ed in the future. There­fore, PTs also have to main­tain a cer­tain flex­i­bil­i­ty in their pro­cure­ment process and the under­ly­ing contracts.

From my per­spec­tive, PTs can only imple­ment MaaS suc­cess­ful­ly by know­ing their own skills and capa­bil­i­ties as well as their lim­i­ta­tions. This will lead to trust­ful coop­er­a­tion with part­ners that con­tribute the addi­tion­al skills need­ed to suc­cess­ful­ly dig­i­tal­ize every­day mobility.


The inter­vie­wee

Thomas Knaup joined Mobimeo in ear­ly 2019 and has been shap­ing the company’s mar­ket per­spec­tive since the ear­ly days. As Busi­ness Build­ing Lead, he and his team are our experts for the mobil­i­ty market.


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