The Architecture of Mobility as a Service (MaaS): Dichotomy of Global Platform and Local Integration

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2019)


Architecture, Mobility as a Service, Platform economy, Public Transportation, Ride Sharing


The purpose of this research
This paper aims to compare the two types of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions from the social and technological aspects. One type of MaaS solution is the “integration of multiple transportation modes in a certain city,” such as Whim in Helsinki and Optimod in Lyon. The other is the “global platform of ridesharing and transportation route search service.” These two types of MaaS solutions sometimes collaborate each other and sometimes compete against each other. Authors try to elucidate the difference and the competence of each solutions from multiple aspects, such as technology and society.

Research Methodology
Authors use some case studies to describe the specificities of each type of solutions and apply theories of innovation management, transportation economics, and public finance into the cases to elucidate the characteristics of MaaS solutions. Authors chose the cases from Finland, France, and Japan, such as Whim by MaaS Global, Optimod in Lyon, Uber in these countries, and Japanese public transportation system in Tokyo and local cities.

The global platform of MaaS, such as Uber has advantages of scale and network externality. Therefore, it can provide the convenience of unified user experience among the world in terms of mobility thanks to the supplemental global platform such as Google Map, iOS, Android, and transaction platform by credit cards. Global travelers will prefer this typeof platform, since they don’t need to worry about local traffic issues when they visit one city as strangers. On the other hand, this type of solution can generate conflicts with existing transportation operators, such as taxi companies. In many cases, this conflict triggers the realignment and renovation of public transportation. In Paris, after the severe conflict between Uber and taxi, public authority authorized ridesharing as VTC. At the same time, taxi companies introduced the app to provide the Uber-like user experience, such as G7 in Paris.
The local integrated solution of MaaS, such as Whim by MaaS Global provides the optimized and integrated user experience in Helsinki, Finland. Users of Whim can subscribe the monthly plan to use multiple public transportation mode including rail service (tram, metro and commuter train), bus, bike sharing, taxi and car sharing without hassling for payment. This type of solution can provide efficient and optimized user experience in a certain city. On the other hand, this solution hardly dominates the world. Even though Whim is the most successful solution of this type, it can be used only in four cities, Helsinki, West Midlands UK, Amsterdam, and Antwerp as of March 2019. This is because the solution requires the close cooperation with public transportation operator and local authority to implement.
Additionally, this type of solution requires one precondition for success. It must cover almost all the transportation modes in the city to provide better user experience. Otherwise, potential users prefer not to use the solution. At the same time, this precondition highly related to the public transportation policy of the city. If the policy allows the competition among the operators of a certain transportation mode inside the city, such as subway (Metro) in Tokyo, this type of solution becomes difficult.

Practical implication
Through this study, authors found that two different approach of value creation through MaaS. One is the global platform approach to generate the scale economy and globally unified user experience. The other is local integrated solution to generate efficient and easy user experience through the optimization of multiple transportation modes. These findings can especially be applied to public transportation policy of cities. Policy makers need to consider the current situation of public transportation of their city to choose desirable MaaS solutions.

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