The future of city transportation
Cities will be home to almost 60% of the total population by 2025. That is 4.5 billion people. This puts extreme pressure on urban planners and transportation systems alike to accommodate this explosive growth.
What does this mean for us?
The way we currently commute and move around our cities is bothersome at best and painful at worst. The litany of problems we experience from harmful levels of pollution, traffic jams with angry horns and shouts and unreliable buses and trains are now just a routine part of urban life, and things could get much worse The pace of population growth and the tools to address this growth have never been so misaligned.
In short, cities are facing an urgent and unique set of challenges to address a fundamental part of city living: getting around. Accordingly, new business models and technologies are emerging to meet this mobility challenge head on.
Prime among them is Mobility as a Service or MaaS. MaaS is a manifestation of new thinking around how transportation services are currently provided and used. It can remedy many issues that affect our cities and respond to the challenges generated by new technology and consumption trends in the 21st century, but only if it is properly implemented, responsibly managed and well executed.
Models based on
Sustainable / Clean
Mobility as a Service moves more people in a cleaner, faster and less expensive way, reducing the toxic heavy congestion and capacity restraints we see now. MaaS provides an alternative to the private car that may be just as convenient but infinitely more sustainable and green. It allows safer options like bicycle and pedestrian lanes, electric vehicles, car sharing and rail freight to replace traditional modes, each of which leave an indelible mark on our environment. MaaS helps society thoroughly utilize existing resources rather than depleting more.
MaaS is erasing the boundaries among private, shared and public transport. By aggregating both public and private providers within a single platform, MaaS enables customers to seamlessly book and pay for any mode of transportation they choose in one transaction. We are creating new routes with higher efficiency, less cost and more flexibility across all mobility providers instead of just one at a time. New mobility will also incorporate a combination of self-driving vehicles, shared vehicles and high-quality public transit.
A key component of any MaaS model is ticketless travel. Using a smartphone as the credential, a user will be able to enter and exit all transportation modes required for any given journey by validating the ticket virtually. Different types of transport will still have different forms of authentication, but MaaS finds a way to bypass the variety and its resulting inconvenience by creating a single ticket for all. Translation? No more waiting in lines, fare and ticket confusion, dealing with different ticketing systems and above all, no missing your ride.
The goal: one trip, one payment – regardless of how many transport providers make up the route. If a single trip includes a train, bike and cab, pay for all three at one time, in one place: your smartphone. Today, this same trip would require the passenger to pay separately for each leg according to different fare structures, but MaaS is helping consumers to pay for different modes of transportation with a single account instead of many. A single system to handle payments, refunds, discounts and passes. That is MaaS.
Based on your preferences
MaaS moves toward a more user-centered mobility paradigm. Most current journey planners suggest routes based on static schedules and outdated information simply because real-time data either does not exist or has not been shared. Preferences like timing, comfort, cost and convenience cannot be adjusted even though every customer is different. The user is not at the center of mobility. Alternatively, the MaaS system provides accurate routes based on user preferences and real-time operator information integrated in a single platform. The network tailors itself to what users want, when they want it and how they want it by offering more choices and more convenience.
Do you live in a mega-city? Whether you know or not, chances are you do or will soon. A mega-city or mega-region is a location where city limits have expanded to absorb surrounding areas. These much larger regions create an urgent need for access and connectivity. Mobility as a Service or MaaS creates this connection by establishing standards around transportation, regardless of location and local regulations. Meep is supplying a tool that will allow for the time when separate areas will inevitably connect and require linked systems.