A new, not-for-profit organization, the Mobility as a Service Association (MaaS-A), has been launched in the USA to champion integrated mobility services across all modes of transportation that more effectively address the needs of the contemporary traveler.
MaaS-A will focus on seamless, multimodal mobility, comprising electronic payment, ticketing, and personal navigation services that help a traveler plan and move from point A to point B. The Association will serve the specific needs of the US market, and will work to enhance transportation and provide greater public access to services through integrated technology.
MaaS-A defines the concept as ‘the seamless, infinitely adaptable delivery of mobility’, which happens together with the associated real-time information and payment services, and across all modes of transportation. The organization notes that MaaS is opaque to the traveler, but needs to be simple to access and use.
Originally developed and deployed in Finland, MaaS is now an emerging worldwide trend. However, there is also no ‘one-size-fits-all’ model that translates across varying geographic locations. The USA’s mobility environment is unique and has specific needs, and MaaS-A says it will concentrate on creating the best multimodal solutions to be applied domestically.
It will pursue the integration of transportation modes and value-added services, which encompass the car and connected and autonomous vehicles. MaaS-A notes that numerous developments already place traditional mobility concepts under severe pressure, and urbanization is outpacing cities’ ability to cope with the demand for mobility.
The new organization explains that information and communication technologies exist to support MaaS, but the USA’s transportation community needs to better integrate these technologies in order to simplify travel for people, improve efficiency for government, and create new private-sector opportunities.
With that in mind, MaaS-A says it offers a forum and a voice for industry, government, and academia to share and contribute knowledge and create best practices. The organization will offer networking, communications, and financial and policy development tools to address the country’s transportation needs and provide Americans with a seamless, integrated mobility experience that reflects how they live their lives today.
MaaS-A’s co-founders are Jack Opiola and Tim McGuckin. Opiola, who is an expert among US and international ITS sectors, will serve as executive director; and McGuckin, a 25-year transportation industry veteran and the USA’s CEO of MaaS provider A-to-Be, will serve as the organization’s first president.
“We are witnessing changes in the mobility sector that are truly seismic,” observed Opiola at the MaaS-A launch. “Handheld and wearable smart devices are revolutionizing our ability to plan, navigate, and make journey decisions on the move. Traditional notions of mobility are being challenged.”
McGuckin, added, “All three stakeholders, government, industry and travelers, must align. We need to build the right political and legislative environments. We need to create the right frameworks for delivery to help both the public and private sectors achieve their mobility goals.”