Finland’s Minister of Transport and Communications has told the MaaS Market conference in London that Mobility as a Service is something citizens are demanding, and it’s industry that can be the barrier to making change.
Anne Berner gave the Mobility as a Service meeting the benefit of her country’s experience in leading the world in the concept, “It’s actually harder to take industry along, and as an entrepreneur that is interesting,” she explained. “The sectors are against deregulation, but the consumer is for it and can only benefit from new competition, applications and services but that provides a challenge.”
She said that everyone knows the discussions on taxi and public transport systems and those are the issues that, as a government, she has to deal with. “We must enable the best possible service for our citizens with the most efficient use of taxpayers’ money, so we must create an environment to enable that,” she said.
She described a functioning transport system as like the blood vessels of a country, and that it ensures a country is competitive and a good environment to live in.
“We must promote innovation,” she said. “Only when we use technology in the most ambitious way can we benefit society.”
She explained that MaaS is a reform of the structure of a society and providing tools for all these targets she has as a government.
“So to make MaaS a part of our business structures, behaviours and how we work as a government, our most important tool is legislation – it might need changes to law and the strength of government to create MaaS – the way we move, behave and make our choices,” she said.
She added that in Finland she wants less, smarter regulation that gives space to innovation and that she insists on opening its data and services and opening APIs. Therefore all agencies and authorities must open their data services in order to make the transport sector transparent and create new services and opportunities. She says they also require open APIs from anyone who wants to create services within pubic transport in order to create a level playing field for competition.
She added that, as a government they must also fairly procure transport services and reward innovation.
“We can and we have to make space for experiments and open up our environment. Finland has created an experiment for unmanned marine traffic so by the year 2025 we can understand how to deal with the private sector on this and all transport fields.
“So we must be an enabler, facilitator, take care of education and see how we can support the change of consumer behaviour to provide more understanding on how all our sector will rely on data, and that we have the competencies.”
She added advice for governments, local and national, telling them they must work together, “Our leaders must come out of silos when it comes to government. It’s much more difficult than you’d think – I get slapped in the face every day. It’s not easy, so we must drive change.
“We implemented a transport code, changing how we work as a ministry. We are doing policy for networks and services, for data and data management and for bringing different fields together.
“This has helped us understand what MaaS is all about and what regulation we need. So for example we didn’t reform the taxi laws or the laws of public transport and movement of logistics. We removed all those and created the transport code to create a level playing field for the whole of transport.
And she touched on automation explaining Finland will be country taking advantage of driverless cars as soon as possible and that it is committed to remove obstacles to it. “We are also committed to reducing emissions so we are working on a competitive system to make it easy to get rid of – at least – your second car and offer an alternative.
So the only thing we still need to resolve is our infrastructure. How do we integrate 5G with physical infrastructure and combine investments and make it lucrative but we are very committed to this and we see what our opportunities are.