A new not-for-profit organisation has been launched to “champion integrated mobility services” across all modes of transport that “more effectively address the needs of the contemporary traveller”.
The Mobility as a Service Association (MaaS-A) promises to focus on seamless, multimodal mobility – electronic payment, ticketing, and personal navigation services that help a traveller plan and move from point A to point B. MaaS-A will serve the specific needs of the US market, working to enhance transport and provide greater public access to services through integrated technology.
MaaS-A defines MaaS as, “The seamless, infinitely adaptable delivery of mobility.” It says this happens together with the associated real-time information and payment services, and across all modes of transportation. MaaS is opaque to the traveler but simple to access and use.
MaaS-A’s co-founders are Jack Opiola and Tim McGuckin. Opiola, an expert among American and international ITS sectors, will serve as Executive Director; and McGuckin, a 25-year transportation industry veteran and US CEO of MaaS provider A-to-Be, will serve as the organisation’s first president.
“We are witnessing changes in the mobility sector that are truly seismic,” said Opiola. “Handheld and wearable smart devices are revolutionising our ability to plan, navigate, and make journey decisions on the move. Traditional notions of mobility are being challenged.”
The pair say MaaS is an emerging world-wide trend, however, there is also no one-size-fits-all model that translates across varying geographic locations. They say the US mobility environment is unique and has specific needs, and MaaS-A will concentrate on creating the best multimodal solutions to be applied domestically. It will pursue the integration of transportation modes and value-added services, which encompass the car and connected and autonomous vehicles.
They add that numerous developments already place traditional mobility concepts under severe pressure, and urbanisation is outpacing cities’ ability to cope with the demand for mobility. The information and communication technologies exist to support MaaS, but the transportation community need to better integrate these technologies in order to simplify travel for people, improve efficiency for government, and create new private-sector opportunities.
“All three stakeholders — government, industry and travellers — must align,” McGuckin states. “We need to build the right political and legislative environments. We need to create the right frameworks for delivery to help both the public and private sectors achieve their mobility goals.”
MaaS-A offers a forum and a voice for industry, government, and academia to share and contribute knowledge and create best practices. The organisation will offer networking, communications, and financial and policy development tools to address the country’s transportation needs and provide Americans with a seamless, integrated mobility experience that reflects how they live their lives today.”