Does Australia want mobility as a service?

| November 20, 2019

In the race to deliver better transport options, transport entities big and small are working to offer Mobility as a Service, or MaaS, to Australians. MaaS will change the way Australians move from A to B, and, if introduced and managed well, it will make a dent in the major issue that is traffic congestion on Australian roads.

iMOVE, ITSA and their partners have released a report based on a large-scale survey of Australians to judge their acceptance, and likely use, of MaaS in this country.

MaaS is a relatively new – and possibly confusing – term to many people. Transport industry leaders, Cubic Transportation Systems, define it as:

“…a combination of public and private transportation services within a given regional environment that provides holistic, optimal and people-centred travel options, to enable end-to-end journeys paid by the user as a single charge, and which aims to achieve public equity objectives.”

Paying for journeys will take two primary forms. One, a monthly subscription, offering complete access to all transport modes in a location. Second, customers could pay as they go, using an app or a smartcard, at a discounted rate but offering only limited access to all the transport offerings.

Over 4,000 people responded to the survey; 51% were female, 49% male, 80% urban, and 20% rural.

A major finding of the survey was that the under 30s demonstrate a much stronger interest in these options, with 40% of that group in favour of MaaS, versus 14% of over 65s. Not only is MaaS coming, but young Australia is ready to embrace it.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, bus and train are the transport options most see themselves using, while sharebike services were of little interest across all demographics.

If there’s one clear takeaway from the MaaS and On-Demand Transport – Consumer Research and Report, it is that many people are expressing a clear interest in making this transport shift. And behind the scenes a lot of people, companies and governments are moving to make MaaS happen effectively.

MaaS is a new idea, a new business model, but at its heart it is a twist on something we know very well. It’s not unlike our switch to decimal currency in 1966 which saw a massive education program for the Australian public. For MaaS to work, and work well, we must collaboratively and consultatively so all Australians can understand the extent and ease of the MaaS ecosystem.