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MaaS is not a charm, think carefully what you want with it

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What Mobility as a Service will bring to society depends on the starting points that the parties formulate. That is what Niels van Oort, researcher at TU Delft’s Smart Public Transport Lab and advisor at Goudappel Coffeng, argued at the Mobility as a Service conference at VERKEERSNET. Thinking about this is important, he says, because some assumptions conflict with each other. For example, what promotes travel convenience is not necessarily good for the environment or traffic flow.

“Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is not a charm, you can not do everything with it at the same time,” says Niels van Oort. “It is important to make choices. And that means that you have to let go of some goals. “People know MaaS all kinds of goals, he sees: people from A to B bring for example or target groups for their mobility needs, but also stop congestion and keep cities liveable.

Conflict

“All good,” says Van Oort, “but it is important to note that some goals may conflict with each other.” For example, promoting travel convenience is not necessarily good for the environment or traffic flow. More about that later.

To measure the effects of MaaS, Van Oort and his colleagues use a framework with five e’s. It is a sort of yardstick where the consequences can be properly mapped out. The first ‘e’ refers to effective mobility. This refers to the question of how fast and reliable a journey is on a certain route. The second ‘e’ of efficient cities. This concerns the question of how we keep our cities liveable and which means of transport can best be used in which area.

Better accessibility

Economy is the third ‘e’. Economy is the third ‘e’. After all, MaaS can also deliver something through better accessibility – for society, but also for business. Van Oort also distinguishes the ‘e’ of the environment. This point has to do with the consequences for the environment and health for people. With the last ‘e’ he means equity. Maas can provide more equality, everyone who wants to travel, must be able to travel, is the idea.

Van Oort is therefore very pleased with the MaaS pilots from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the regions and various market parties. After all, they clearly show what works and what does not.

[quotes quotes_style=”bquotes”]What are the effects of MaaS? And is that what we want? I think there are still a lot of research questions here[/quotes]

But it is not enough, he says. More research is needed. “My most important point is: more research needs to be done. What are the effects of MaaS? And is that what we want? I think there are still a lot of research questions here. We at least gladly pick them up, together with the practice. That means doing research together, experimenting together, making mistakes together. Yes, that is going to happen. Not all experiments are genius, but you learn from them. ”

Divisible rides

However, more and more research is being published, says Van Oort. “Colleagues from Boston were looking at travel patterns in New York. 95 per cent of all journeys were potentially divisible without much extra travel time – a maximum of five minutes. “That is why it is important, says Van Oort, to know what the traveler wants.

He points to research by the Scripts team, in which TU Eindhoven, the Hogeschool Arnhem-Nijmegen and Radboud University are also involved. “People have been asked if they are interested in taking a MaaS subscription. 20 percent indicate to be open. That shows that there is potential. But that means that 80 percent is not or not necessarily open. So there is still a whole world to win. ”

More often the taxi

Interesting research is also coming from Scandinavia, Van Oort continues (see image below). “Individual car use is declining by MaaS; people often take public transport. That is good news for the five ‘e’s’. But what if people who normally travel with public transportation suddenly take the taxi more often through MaaS? “That is, he says, much less good for the environment and the flow of traffic. According to the research, he shows that 20 percent of the respondents more often go by taxi.

The latter is confirmed by research from London, says Van Oort (see image below). “Researchers asked people: Imagine a MaaS platform, what would you do with your car trips? A quarter says: I would go to the metro more often. They also call walking and going by bus. They also asked travelers in public transport. More than a quarter said they would take a taxi more often. Fine, the traveler has more freedom of choice, but of course that is not good for sustainability. ”

So think carefully about what you want with MaaS, concludes Van Oort. “We should not let it happen to us, but have a clear understanding of what we want, how MaaS can help and what we have to do for it ourselves.”

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