The Transport Committee is launching a new inquiry into the transformative potential of an integrated, multi-mode Mobility as a Service (MaaS) app, and overcoming barriers to implementation in UK cities and regions.
MaaS is a broad term for a range of digital transport service platforms, from quite niche online car and bike-sharing schemes to hugely popular, high profile taxi and private hire smartphone apps.
The apps can provide value for money, convenient, on demand services and are transforming how people, particularly younger people in cities, use urban transport, says the Committee.
However, while door-to-door journeys in cities tend to utilise several transport modes, the most popular smartphone apps to date have tended to be single mode, typically taxis and minicabs.
Proponents of an emerging model of MaaS, in which multiple modes of transport are brought together under a single app, believe it has the potential to make getting around via public and shared transport so convenient it will negate the need for people in and around cities to own their own car, with potentially massive benefits in relation to urban congestion, air pollution and health.
Lilian Greenwood, chairman of the Transport Select Committee, said: “Integrating urban transport modes into a single, integrated MaaS app represents a really exciting opportunity to transform how we get around in our cities.
“An integrated MaaS app can create a single, seamless journey, cutting out the hassle of separate ticketing for different legs of a journey.
“The app can plan and book your whole journey from door-to-door in the most efficient way possible, using real-time service data across all the transport modes in the city. This could substantially reduce reliance on the private car; ease congestion; increase productivity; and lead to more pleasant, healthier cities with better air quality.
“Integrated MaaS is a much talked about concept, but it is not generally well understood. We want to increase public understanding; find out if the bold claims are justified; and, if they are, recommend ways the Department for Transport and others can support and facilitate its implementation in the UK."
The Committee calls for written evidence addressing one or more of the following terms of reference:
Global evidence to date on the effectiveness of integrated, multi-mode MaaS apps in relation to:
- Boosting the efficiency of urban public transport systems.
- Managing demand for road use in cities, reducing road congestion and improving air quality.
Overcoming the barriers to implementation of integrated, multi-mode MaaS apps in UK cities, including:
- Current powers, capabilities and resources of local and regional transport authorities.
- Current commissioning models, including the rail franchising system.
- Transport providers' unwillingness to share data, customers and revenue (including car hire companies; innovators in autonomous vehicles; rail, metro, and bus operators; cycle hire schemes; car clubs; and others).
The role of central government, particularly the Department for Transport, in raising awareness, building the evidence base, and harnessing the potential of MaaS.
Overcoming concerns about digital exclusion, ensuring mobility remains accessible to all.
Written submissions must be received by Friday 22 December 2017. Submissions can be made via the Committee’s Mobility as a Service evidence portal.