Simply put, Mobility as a Service is a concept that makes it easy for folks to use a single credential to access all sorts of transportation in a given area. What if you had an app that allowed you to use rapid transit, buses, uber, scooters, and bike rental. Wouldn’t it make your life easier?
Well, yes. But frankly, you need to want to ride one or more of these before the app will be of interest. And since the vast majority of us (upwards of 85%) don’t use any of these services, it seems hard to get excited about such a product.
Around 2010 the ‘smart city’ fad was on everyone’s lips, and as a part of it, MaaS was discussed at every convention and seminar as the end all to bring mobility to the masses. Now, a dozen years later, little seems to have happened.
America’s horizontal cities simply don’t lend themselves to MaaS. As much as civic planners and the like want it to happen, we simply don’t seem to have the political will nor the technology to bring to bear on what is considered a ‘problem.’
John Surico writes in the New York Times that Helsinki is working on a pilot program and many European cities are fighting their way through the MaaS complex. But these places, of course, already have a culture that lends itself to this type of commute. In the US, not so much.
If we were unable to develop a MaaS program here after a dozen years, what has gone wrong.
Is it possible that the average commuter simply doesn’t want to be told how to commute? That buses are irregular and dirty, that rapid transit is often dangerous and doesn’t go where you want to go, that scooters and bikes are fun but don’t really solve the soccer mom isues and longer commute problems that occur during the rain and snow.
Maybe its time to rethink the entire transportation issue. In the mean time, don’t sell your parking lot.