This article contains key findings from the White Paper ‘Enabling Mobility-as-a-Service At-Scale’.Click here to download the full version.
Attracting sectoral stakeholders such as public transport authorities, energy providers, private operators, software companies, and local governments, a working MaaS system promises the opportunity for more inclusive, livable, and sustainable cities where single car ownership is reduced as alternative and easy-to-use mobility systems become available. In addition, as the economic effects of the pandemic continue to play out, MaaS has the capacity to render mobility more affordable, allowing users to give up the cost of personal vehicles and accomplish sustainability objectives in the process.
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The desire for MaaS is pervasive: Cities want it, urbanites want it, corporates and startups alike want it, and in 2020, it became a central figure of EU’s Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy. In short, there has never been a better time for MaaS to become a reality.
Together with Autonomy, SAP, and Nagarro, we have explored what must happen behind the scenes in order for the most essential element of MaaS to work: the ability for a user to seamlessly access all available transport modalities on one application, executing one journey, one fare, one payment, and one ticket.
MaaS remains a contested space
As a budding industry that has yet to reach its full maturity, MaaS is still seeing a steady flow of new players entering and exiting the space. Stuck in its experimentation phase with a high diversity of players still figuring out how their roles will be defined and how relationships will be managed, there is no tried and tested system that can be replicated in different contexts. In a sector that feels as if everything is perpetually up for grabs, many are in agreement that MaaS is in dire need of leading industry players that can bring enough knowledge, resources, and in particular, tech expertise, to implement the system at-scale.
3 key areas that represent MaaS’s main challenges to be solved
There is no shortage of challenges to be solved in order to implement working MaaS systems, and any stakeholder working in the sector will be the first to say that there are a plethora of technical and functional moving parts that must align in order to succeed. The following 3 elements have been identified as crucial to solve in order to accelerate the widespread adoption of MaaS:
- Software Complexity
A more cohesive mobility that provides a seamless and integrated experience for users requires a platform approach. If the goal of MaaS it to aggregate all of the available mobility services in a given area in real time, this needs to happen on one dedicated platform that can achieve a high level of functionality when it comes to related elements such as subscriptions, packaging, and contract management.
Specifically, A SaaS model approach to data management must be used to ensure the highest quality of service and safeguard the privacy of user’s data. In addition, this model must be supported by agreed-upon open data standards to create a collective approach to systems management – thereby optimizing user experience, improving the system, and stimulating public-private partnerships that allow cities and public authorities to play a central role in managing multimodal offerings.
- Ticketing and Payment
If MaaS promises to improve the old way of doing things, the upgrading of card-based systems to account-based systems will be a central feature of a multimodal MaaS offering. The industry must move away from multiple tickets and different payment platforms and towards a system where all transactions are provided as a single view to the end-customer. In addition, MaaS partners and providers must be able to access a single real-time view for their revenue management based on the contractual agreement that they have based upon their services.
Enabling MaaS with two distinct software offerings
On the user-facing side, an Integrated Mobility Platform approach allows MaaS to cover every element of the customer experience, including the customization of transit modes, booking, payment, real-time updates, and en-route support. All this must occur on one platform that combines public and private services on a single back-end server and front-end application. In collaboration with DB Systel to extend the use of SAP Commerce Cloud, Nagarro built Omnitiq to cover registration, journey planning, booking, payment, and ticket needs, thereby creating a full-scope MaaS platform.
On the operator side, the aggregation of many players and their services on one platform requires the technical capacity to manage revenues and contractual obligations for each participating operator. Understandably, each mobility operator brings to the table their own business model, so there must be a technical framework that integrates the fare and price mix of a variety of different products and services of each different provider. A Billing and Revenue Innovation Management (BRIM) modular solution has therefore been able to digitally transform the order to cash process for MaaS, successfully integrating multisided business models into a solution that covers subscription and products, transactions and events, revenue share, invoicing and payments, and settlements and financials.
For each software offering, SAP provides within the white paper a full breakdown of the main features and challenges addressed.
Despite the enthusiasm of public and private stakeholders alike, paired with a healthy dose of MaaS apps and pilots that have burst onto the scene, the idea has yet to manifest into a fully working system for users at-scale. There are many different elements to a holistic MaaS system that must work seamlessly with each other to be successful, and at the heart of this success is creating as straightforward and simplified of an experience as possible for the end user. In order to achieve this, the challenges of software complexity, data, ticketing, and payments need to be solved via solutions such as Omnitiq and BRIM.
To learn more, download the document here.