The International Road Transport Union (IRU) has published its position on Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), calling for improved awareness of the benefits and risks of MaaS systems as well as a balanced approach as the industry pushes to embrace multimodal mobility options.
The world road transport organisation notes that the increasing number of ‘smart cities’ with advanced digitalisation of processes has facilitated the growth of the MaaS concept, which integrates various transport services, including collective transport, taxis, cars and bikes, into a single mobility service, accessible via an app on demand. The new IRU position paper explains that while MaaS has the potential to provide a range of benefits for people and the road transport industry, there are a number of challenges that must be overcome ahead of its successful implementation, including: issues with price structures; regulatory questions around liability; risks involved with data handling; and a lack of maturity of MaaS business models.
The report highlights how increasing deployments of MaaS systems could make transport more efficient and cost-effective for passengers, while creating new opportunities for operators. In the EU, around 2 million people are employed by 370,000 companies operating in the passenger road transport sector, with the majority of these businesses small and medium sized (SMEs) with less negotiation leverage and limited resources. The IRU says political intervention is needed in the interest of companies and passengers alike.
To address the open questions around MaaS, the IRU says:
- Terms and conditions within MaaS must be clearly defined;
- Public authorities should assure that MaaS systems are inclusive and not established as closed ecosystems available to only some operators or modes of transport;
- MaaS operators should have defined responsibilities, such as specific limitations regarding ranking of transport services displayed to customers;
- Public authorities selecting MaaS operators/integrators must observe transparent and objective criteria and procedures;
- Data sharing and re-use must be regulated, with general data protection rules needed for businesses;
- Cost issues for transport operators must be addressed to prevent the exclusion of SMEs that cannot afford the assimilation of quality data.
“MaaS will play a significant role in the future of urban travel and it should result in better efficiency and revenue opportunities for road transport operators,” said Matthias Maedge, general delegate at IRU. “While envisioning the opportunity, we must urgently address the open regulatory questions around MaaS.”