Can Carbon Neutral Ambitions Spark ‘Mobility as a Service’ Adoption?

Date of publication: 20.09.2021

Author: Björn Scharfen, VP Smart Card Solutions at Infineon Technologies

The MaaS Alliance defines Mobility as a Service (MaaS) as the integration of various forms of transport services into a single mobility service that is accessible on demand. MaaS sees public transport operators thinking about the first and last step of every passenger journey, offering multimodal transport options through one simple ‘on-demand’ booking and payment application.

By offering multiple transport services via a single portal - or through a frictionless interaction of multiple portals - and creating a joined-up, convenient and affordable transit experience, MaaS has significant potential to incentivise passengers away from private vehicle use and support cities with their environmental agendas.

MaaS is already starting to become a reality in many cities across the world. But what is the demand from travellers and what should urban planners consider to attract customers towards MaaS usage and service providers to offer them?

Infineon recognises four key elements to create demand and encourage adoption. 

   1. Vision

To enable and inspire the collaboration needed to deliver MaaS, there needs to be a strong, united vision. Often this needs one public or private entity with a clear and engaging long-term plan.

For example, in Barcelona the Government of Catalonia brought more than 50 different operating companies together to deliver an integrated fare system - Autoritat del Transport Metropolità, ATM. The system serves 346 municipalities, accounts for a population of more than 5.7 million and delivers 80 different types of tickets that can be interchanged between transport modes in a single trip.

Sony’s FeliCa standard adoption  is another success story. Starting with the Suica card in 2001 it became a de facto standard, combining multiple regions seamlessly across Japan and offering a full platform for each customer by offering multiple service on cards and mobile for transit, access and micropayment. 

2. Accessibility

But seamless travel is only just the beginning of making MaaS appealing. It needs to be accessible and usable to travellers; transport service operators and authorities; and technology providers.

To support frictionless accessibility for all stakeholders, MaaS solutions must be based on open standards. Examples include the International Organisation of Standardization (ISO), security standards such as Common Criteria, and ticketing or payment application technical specifications, including EMVCo, CIPURSE, Calypso, or FeliCa. This delivers three fundamental benefits:

  • Scalability: MaaS systems can align with traveller needs and evolving technology trends, and enable passenger interaction and ticketing on connected consumer devices – i.e. a smartphone or wearables at scale. Open standards support seamless interoperability between OEMs, operating systems and contactless technologies such as NFC,  Bluetooth or Ultra Wide Band (UWB).
  • Containing development costs: Multimodal transport and technologies need to integrate in a commercially viable way. Supporting this is open standards, lowering tendering costs and avoiding vendor lock-in. By basing systems on open standards, operators have a number of vendors to choose from and can compare products and solutions on a like-for-like basis.
  • Service convergence: ID, payment, access control – ticketing can become the gateway to a range of consumer services. Convergence opportunities make lives easier and open ticketing standards are the gateway to achieving this. 

RuPay is a global card payment network from India offering debit cards working in the standard payment infrastructure. It has worked with the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Government of India to support the implementation of the National Common Mobility Card across the country based on the RuPay qSPARC specification. The card not only supports a cashless transport fare payment mechanism for metros, buses, taxis nationally, but also enables payments in retail and cash withdrawal at ATMs.

The power of MaaS in Japan

East Japan Railway Company’s Suica card is a great example of integrated smart ticketing and MaaS in action. Passengers in cities across Japan can use the card for: urban transit; retail purchases and loyalty schemes; and even to access their office or college buildings.

Learn more about the Suica card here.

 3. Convenience

To tempt travellers from their cars, they need to be able to see the journey from door-to-door and have ‘on-demand’ access to network use and availability to improve their planning. Foresight of disruption or cancellations on a selected transport mode has the potential to avoid significant delays and frustration.

Booking and payment needs to be seamless and consolidated into a single platform or frictionless interaction of multiple portals to make it a simple, one-off process, regardless of how many modes of transport are booked.  

Payment flexibility is also important to ensure all audiences are catered for. Whether it is via an app, online, pre-paid, contactless… the traveller has to be able to use what is familiar and convenient to them and independent of and where he/she has his/her account.

A sophisticated, easy to use and dynamic multi-mode travel system is not enough in isolation. Travellers must have a motivation to transition from their cars to MaaS. 

Congestion charges and frustration at traffic volume in some cities, combined with a simple desire to be more environmentally aware and reduce carbon emissions, is making travellers think differently about transport.

4. Motivation

A sophisticated, easy to use and dynamic multi-mode travel system is not enough in isolation. Travellers must have a motivation to transition from their cars to MaaS.

Congestion charges and frustration at traffic volume in some cities, combined with a simple desire to be more environmentally aware and reduce carbon emissions, is making travellers think differently about transport.

MaaS is a constant evolution of new and old modes of transport, and combining it with connected consumer and data technologies won’t happen overnight. In the wake of the pandemic, with travellers increasingly motivated to look for safer alternatives to their cars and demanding greener cities without spending more time and money, MaaS has a considerable opportunity to challenge and inspire change in how we travel.

Date of publication: 20.09.2021

Author: Björn Scharfen, VP Smart Card Solutions at Infineon Technologies