Mobility as a Service: Current State & New Trends

Posted June 12, 2024 | Sustainability |
 Mobility as a Service: Current State & New Trends

Mobility as a service (MaaS) has the potential to deliver more sustainable, resilient, and human-centric mobility for the world, but significant barriers remain. Based on our experience as strategy consultants advising cities and public/private MaaS operators, vendors on the development of MaaS concepts and solutions, and entrepreneurs driving MaaS deployments, we’re taking a fresh look at these hurdles and what cities can do to overcome them.

MaaS aims to encourage the use of more sustainable transport modes, moving the world away from individual car use “by default.” MaaS promises seamless access to a wide array of mobility options to meet differing needs alongside increased simplicity and convenience in planning, booking, payment, getting information, and access to services for all passengers (see Figure 1). From the perspective of cities and authorities, in addition to encouraging more sustainable mobility patterns and improving accessibility, MaaS could allow system-level asset optimization. For mobility service providers (MSPs), a MaaS framework could lead to better customer engagement, more tailored offerings, and reduced customer-acquisition costs.

Figure 1. The MaaS promise
Figure 1. The MaaS promise — enhance the attractiveness of the shared mobility system
(source: Arthur D. Little)

Where Is MaaS Today?

Many MaaS implementations to date have been limited to one-size-fits-all travel planners (i.e., not focused on specific use cases), with a limited number of MSPs being fully integrated in terms of ticketing and payment and others only partly integrated. 

However, we are seeing some interesting trends, including a general move away from business-to-customer (B2C) models that are financed with private capital toward a government-to-customer (G2C) one led by public transport authorities or operators. The difficulties behind the MaaS B2C model are well illustrated by the fate of MaaS Global (the most prominent example of this model). After several attempts to shift its business model, MaaS Global filed for bankruptcy in March. Although most G2C schemes are still “walled gardens” in terms of data sharing, there are signs of a shift toward open, public MaaS platforms accessible to third parties, as pioneered in Vienna, Austria, (Upstream Mobility) and now in the Netherlands (Rivier) and possibly later in Brussels, Belgium.

Business-to-employee (B2E) models have seen some positive evolution over the past two years, especially in Western and Central Europe triggered by fiscal incentives, and several vendors and B2C players are pivoting to this model. We are also seeing a rise in MaaS B2C models targeting specific use cases with better returns, such as tourist MaaS (e.g., Alpine Pearls) and rail/aviation MaaS (e.g., Doco by Renfe in Spain and AirAsia MOVE).

Another B2C variant involves mobility services offered as an integrated feature of another set of services, such as insurance, rent (business to tenant), banking (sometimes called “mobility as a feature”), or within super apps. Some promising rural MaaS applications focus on accessibility, in which the business case is more about cost savings for regional authorities than new revenue streams.

There have been positive efforts to evolve regulations, standards, and codes of practice to accelerate MaaS deployment and ease relationship management across various stakeholders, including Multimodal Travel Information and Multimodal Digital Mobility Services in Europe. Nevertheless, expansion has been slow overall, and MaaS-powered trips still represent only a tiny proportion of mobility trips worldwide.

We must conclude that, up to now, MaaS has not delivered on its promise. In terms of the Gartner hype curve, MaaS is probably close to the Trough of Disillusionment (see Figure 2). Whether, and how, it can climb the Slope of Enlightenment is the key question.

Figure 2. Where MaaS currently falls on Gartner technology hype curve (source: Arthur D. Little)
Figure 2. Where MaaS currently falls on Gartner technology hype curve (source: Arthur D. Little)

[For more from the authors on this topic, see: “Is MaaS Delivering on Its Promise? Pragmatic Insights & Perspectives.”]

About The Author
François Joseph Van Audenhove
François-Joseph Van Audenhove is Managing Partner at Arthur D. Little (ADL), Global Practice Leader of ADL’s Travel and Transportation (T&T) practice, a member of ADL’s Growth & Transformation practices, and a member of ADL’s AMP open consulting network. He leads ADL’s Global Competence Center in Rail and Urban Transport; heads ADL’s Future of Urban Mobility Lab, a think tank on mobility; and is a recognized key speaker on mobility… Read More
Hans Arby
Hans Arby is Senior Researcher at the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), a member of the City Development Board for the City of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Senior Advisor at Arthur D. Little. He is also founder of UbiGo Innovation, an integrated mobility service, piloted in Gothenburg in 2013–2014 and launched as a commercial service in Stockholm from 2019–2021. Mr. Arby can be reached at