MaaS is a more important enabler than infrastructure

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Mobility as a Service (MaaS) engages customers to help shape transportation infrastructure investments that matter. The transportation industry is changing, with major disruptors investing billions in transportation mobility options outside traditional revenue sources.

Local and state jurisdictions are taking action on their own to future-proof transportation solutions by developing mobility plans. An important role for government is to ensure that consumers are protected through standards, and transparent and enforced service level agreements. We need to implement safe options from qualified vendors while maintaining an environment of innovative free-market growth that will facilitate better mobility solutions. These plans must provide transparent, long-term thinking and near-term actions to address mobility issues in local communities.

In some areas, industry operators are beginning to look at smart mobility solutions such as pricing strategies to help generate new revenue sources and provide solutions that can then be an investment in infrastructure. For example in Georgia, USA, transit and toll agencies have combined forces to promote transit options on express lanes. The use of its Xpress rapid transit buses has saved over 55 million annual vehicle miles while promoting express lane use to provide travel time savings. Another example is congestion pricing initiatives from LA to New York. Operators are leveraging pricing strategies to help provide real mobility solutions while generating alternative revenue sources. These solutions require flexible, lightweight technology solutions that help deliver results without major infrastructure upgrades that can cost billions and take years to construct and realize the benefits.
Government agencies in transportation continue to be asked to do more with fewer resources.

A key opportunity here is to leverage commercial services to reduce the cost of these highly customized solutions. Industry must look at a reverse integration of existing commercial services and leverage the economies of scale that those solutions offer, along with tapping into new payment options. There must be a greater focus on addressing regional transportation and other innovative strategies, such as cordon pricing, to fund desperately needed infrastructure improvements. Tolls are not being used just to finance the building of a bridge, but increasingly to help provide a sustainable revenue source for statewide networks.

As pioneers of disruptive user fees for the past few decades, the toll industry understands the importance of proving value to customers to encourage them to use its services. However, we have now reached a crossroads as our current approach is not enough to engage new transportation users, who are less likely to buy a car but still use a toll road in shared mobility services. Some current operating models are cost prohibitive to use. On-demand transportation is here today and is a forward-looking tool that can reduce operating costs, increase customer participation and provide much-needed mobility solutions for a new generation of transportation customers.

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About Author

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Rachelle joined Traffic Technology International in early 2016 after having worked for an HR magazine and prior to that, as a freelance sub editor for various lifestyle consumer magazines. As deputy editor, she supports the editor in making each issue and updating the website. Outside of work, she enjoys tap dancing, playing the piano and video games, and eating spicy food.

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