Mobility-as-a-Service Wave Is Rolling

The participants in the Mobility-as-a-Service Round Table, to which Detecon had invited representatives of Volkswagen, Swiss National Railway, Deutsche Post DHL, and others, were in agreement: the need for alternative mobility concepts is growing rapidly. But capacities are (still) far from adequate.

Taking the bus at 7:12 a.m. and heading for the train station. Then onward with the train. At the destination train station, picking up the reserved carsharing car and driving to the small city. At 1.15 p.m., a taxi straight to the airport, then on to Munich. From there, the city train in the direction of the next customer – the last few kilometers to the company’s office on the bicycle reserved the day before from the bike station. After the appointment, a rental car to the long weekend in the Alps – and everything planned with just a few taps on the smartphone app. Still a vision of the future, but possibly reality before much longer.

Focus on users

Seamlessly from A to B, no waiting times, regardless of when and where what means of transportation is used – mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) combines all imaginable forms of personal transportation from bus, train, and taxy to car- and bike-sharing. At the heart of this transportation system: a focus that is not on the vehicle, but on the user, who orders the desired mobility per app or browser. A broad range of mobility platforms are already working on the future integration of taxi, bike-sharing, public transportation, and rail travel with one another in this sense. The Berlin startup door2door, for instance, uses a platform in collaboration with the ride-sharing service allygator to bundle travel routes, arrange car sharing, and organize car pools.

User numbers still low

With Mobility-as-a-Service, providers are responding to increasing urbanization, the changing perception of the car as a status symbol, the high volume of traffic, the lack of parking spaces and the increasing awareness of the topic of environmental protection. User numbers and turnover are still manageable, but the wave is rolling. And automobile manufacturers are already investing massively in sharing solutions. Probably sensible investments - because the desire for innovative, smart solutions to remain mobile anywhere at any time is increasing: 90 percent of people in Germany see advantages in car or ride sharing, says a recent study by the digital association Bitkom.

Significant transformation

The services have become attractive above all because of the digitalization of the entire process. “We assume that mobility-as-a-service will cause a significant transformation on the market,” confirmed the participants in the Detecon expert round table on mobile concepts of the future. This will also result because the automotive industry must change its ways of thinking; the buying and leasing of vehicles are becoming increasingly unattractive for consumers and corporate customers. And the battle for customers is intensifying. The future competitors for traditional carmakers will be companies from the digital sector such as the Google affiliate Waymo, BlaBlaCar or Uber, which have long been working on digital-based solutions to need-oriented mobility.

Demand will soon exceed capacity

If services such as car- or ride-sharing are to become established, a new infrastructure is indispensable. No new roads or railroads, but instead predictive analyses based on huge quantities of data for the steering of traffic flows. And so greater transparency and access to mobile data as well as uniform standards that are always available so that these services can be used. “Mobility services are growth markets, and their popularity is on the rise,” noted a representative of the automotive industry during the round table. “Still, mobility-as-a-service is not a sure-fire success. We must take the initiative and not wait for the market to regulate everything. We need an open mobility landscape.” The recommendation of the round table participants: Be prepared before it is too late because the mobility-as-a-service wave is already rolling. And its impact on current business models will be tremendous.

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