“What is the international perspective on MaaS, Arman?”

April 7, 2022
4 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 a company that is based in Germany, we focus merely on the German market. Nevertheless, it’s beneficial to view our business from an international perspective, which is why we talked to our colleague and Product Owner Arman Fathejalali about ways in which the German and the International MaaS market differ.

How mature is the German MaaS market?

A market is said to be mature when it has passed both the emerging and growth stages of market development. In the maturity stage, sales and profits are high, the cost per customer is at the lowest point and there is a stable number of competitors that tend to be in the market for many years. By looking at MaaS platforms from a pure market perspective, the German and the European market have not yet reached the maturity stage. Although the first MaaS solutions entered the market in 2016 (e.g. in Helsinki), we are still at the beginning of the market growth. As of today, we still see many new businesses springing up, trying new products and services related to MaaS, and profiting from an increasing demand. Predictions by PWC Strategy& also indicate that the European MaaS market will grow significantly over the next few years. 

Over time we are sure to see many developments, such as consolidations, which will influence the market. The most user-friendly, most innovative and strongest products will replace other offerings. Germany as well as Europe (and some Asian countries) might be slightly ahead in terms of market maturity simply because MaaS flourished in Europe earlier. But overall I see that MaaS still has great potential to emerge and grow, both in Germany and worldwide. 


What are the major differences between MaaS in Germany and other international markets?

We have to keep in mind that the MaaS ecosystem is complex, as it involves a broad variety of players. There are public administrations, public transport authorities and operators involved, private mobility service, technology and data providers, as well as MaaS operators and industry associations. Of course, the users are another key player, since there simply is no MaaS without their interaction. Given such a complex ecosystem, it is hard to outline the major differences across all those stakeholders considering regional variations (within countries or across countries) and technical variations. 

Nonetheless, by only focusing on public transport authorities, we can see one major difference between Germany and other international markets. For instance, in Asia, profit driven, privately owned and publicly traded mass transport and real estate conglomerates operate public transport systems. In North America, municipal transport authorities most commonly run mass transit operations. 

Conversely, in Europe and Germany, the operation of mass transit systems is split between state-owned and privately owned companies, often with funding from government subsidies. This, on one hand, enables public transport companies to provide a standard level of service to their passengers. On the other hand, it means that the political landscape has the potential to influence the strategic policies of public transport operators.


What target state can you envision for the German MaaS market by 2025?

Developments within the transport sector in general (not only in Germany) are closely connected to political decisions. When making projections for the growth of the German MaaS market, we have to keep in mind that different regulations exist in different states (Bundesländer) within Germany. Considering the great importance of concepts for sustainable mobility and the potential of MaaS in this regard, I am convinced that we can expect more companies to bring their solutions to the German market over the next few years. 

In addition, the success of the MaaS market heavily relies on the value MaaS solutions provide for users (level of integration): 

  • Level 1: Integration of information, which provides users with a multimodal travel planner and price information 
  • Level 2: Integration of booking and payment, which allows users to have a single app for searching, booking and paying for their trips
  • Level 3: Integration of services, which offers MaaS solutions with bundles/passes and tailored services based on user’s needs

Each of these levels requires the standardisation of data, in terms of access and (even regulated) openness of data, open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and more flexible transport and mobility regulations. As of today, we can see many challenges when we look into these fields. There are currently many examples of level 1 integration. I am happy that we have already enabled solutions that realise level 2 integration, including our multimodal Mobility Stuttgart app and the apps of the German mobility industry project Mobility inside (Mi), which we support as a technology partner. Unfortunately, there are no examples of level 3 integration to date. I’m confident that we will see a lot of developments in this direction by 2025 - and we are excited to be part of it!


Who benefits most from powerful MaaS solutions?

One of the major beneficiaries of MaaS solutions is the user. Based on the level of integration offered in MaaS solutions, users can potentially save costs, travel more conveniently, enjoy freedom of choice in transport services, and benefit from personalised mobility services. In addition to the users, cities and governments benefit from the impacts of people’s new mobility behaviour, which will ultimately result in greener and more liveable cities.


The interviewee

Arman Fathejalali joined Mobimeo in 2020. As a Product Owner, he drives the further development of our Live Navigation feature. Arman holds a PhD in Urban Planning and is very familiar with the international urban mobility landscape, both in terms of theory and practice.