‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS) is a new model for mobility and transport delivery. When anything is sold ‘as a service’ it means that people are paying for use of or access to something or a group of things instead of owning them. In the instance of MaaS, users can purchase mobility and transport services based on their actual needs, instead of buying the means of mobility (i.e. a car, a bike, tickets). This ‘service’ would be facilitated by a central service provider whose role it is to meet all of the mobility needs of that individual or group of individuals, such as a household.
The many individual transport services such as bus, train, car share and bike share facilities will still exist, but it is imagined that a new, centralised service provider will act as a broker between the individual and these transport/mobility service providers. As such, this central service provider would be able to create a ‘package’ of mobility for individuals or households that best suits their needs and their actual usage of transport. These packages could be similar to mobile phone contracts where instead of paying a monthly allowance to access a bundle of messages, phone calls and data, we would pay to access a bundle of modes and transport services.
A MaaS approach to transport provision can create significant benefits for a user by simplifying how people can access the best modes for each trip they make. For example, helping a user to assess their travel options in terms of the factors important to them, allowing them to book and pay for multiple modes in one transaction and enabling them to give and receive feedback after they have travelled. And, most importantly, they can do all of those things on one platform.
The Pick&Mix project uses the concepts and model of MaaS with the aim of making transport easier for young people. The outcome of the project will be a service co-designed by young people, for young people. We already know that young people are generally more pragmatic about their travel choices and that they are more likely to be multi-modal travellers. Even with journeys they undertake regularly, they tend to be less habitual than other demographic groups; varying mode choice to suit their immediate requirements. This ability and attitude has been bolstered and enabled by the fact that 90% of 16-24 year olds own a smartphone. Young people also have a higher willingness to try different modes of travel and are more likely to embrace emerging travel services such as car sharing or bike sharing schemes. Furthermore, young people are at the forefront of the emerging trends of ‘the sharing economy’ and are increasingly happy to pay for access to things rather than owning them outright. Through a MaaS approach, the Pick&Mix project can embrace these attitudes and trends, while also tackling other fundamental transport challenges which face young people today.
We have already begun gathering the views of young people as part of our research process through a national survey hosted on the Young Scot rewards platform.