Like every other type of infrastructure these days, it’s clear that transportation is the focus of innovation and is bound to change in the future. Transportation is currently undergoing rapid changes in technology and customer expectations.
It’s projected that by 2030 less than 25% of Americans will own their own vehicle, according to the independent think tank, RethinkX. They imagine the trend of individual car ownership, which has become solidly engrained in U.S. culture over the past 120+ years, essentially coming to an end. And this group isn’t the only one that foresees a quick transition towards a different model of transportation.
Services, like ridesharing, car-sharing, and the use of self-driving cars are becoming a more real part of our daily lives. This signifies a migration to what is being termed ‘mobility as a service’ (MaaS), or ‘transportation as a service’ (TaaS).
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What Is Mobility as a Service?
MaaS is a modern transportation model centered on the consumer who can easily take advantage of a full range of mobility services provided by operators, peer owners, and public transportation. It’s a smart version of people moving using an on-demand, real-time platform that combines multiple modes of transportation, such as car and bike sharing, autonomous buses, metro cars and car rentals. The concept of a unified platform would streamline transportation for users, handling everything from travel planning to payment processing.
“The key notion here is access to mobility rather than ownership. In the future, the majority of city dwellers may never need to own a car at all.”– Bernard Marr for Forbes Magazine.
MaaS is supposed to build an ecosystem that integrates public and private operators. It will leverage mobile technology and dedicated software to manage both demand and supply, organize mobility services for end-users, assign trips to operators, and dispatch multiple operators.
What Are the Advantages of MaaS?
The benefits for a consumer who can access an electric scooter, car, or subway pass for as long as they need it are clear. Simply by downloading an app, individual users can share transportation modes (rather than needing to own all of them), while finding the most efficient and cost-effective way to get to their destination. Smart mobility aims to make every type of movement—business travel, tourism, and daily commutes—more convenient, cheaper, and faster.
For Car Owners
Of course, car ownership won’t become entirely a thing of the past. Some individuals will still need or want to own and insure are car for a number of reasons. Yet MaaS could bring some valuable advantages for them as well. Adoption of this futuristic model should make it easier for owners to monetize their vehicles. Rather than letting their car sit unused and simply depreciate, owners can make the vehicle available to other users, just like a rental, and earn back some of their investment. In this way, MaaS could decrease the burden of car ownership and maintenance.
For the Whole
Mobility as a service is also being hailed as an environmentally friendly development for transport. By reducing the number of individual cars and drivers, MaaS can help reduce traffic congestion in cities and harmful emissions being released into the environment. Plus, by relying more on electric vehicles and autonomous technology, this should also improve on-the-road safety for drivers and passengers. And everyone will be happy to spend less time looking for a parking space!
What Signs Point to Wide Adoption of Mobility Services?
Experts in the automotive and transportation industry see evidence that this concept is already becoming a reality. For example, Volkswagen recently bought a majority stake in Europcar, a car rental service. Renault also announced a new subscription-only cross over vehicle. Called Mobilize Limo, the electric vehicle was designed especially for ride hailing services, rental, fleet use, and subscription pay-as-you-drive usage. Tesla is also beta-testing a subscription service for self-driving vehicles, as we speak.
How Will MaaS Impact the Livery Industry?
So, it’s easy to think that this evolution will be bad news for the chauffeured ride industry. It’s likely that this type of unified transportation market is likely to push profit margins down even further on individual rides. But we have a generally positive outlook about this move. Why?
“The role of the fleet manager is not dead, but, a bit like a regenerating Dr Who, it is changing into a different face but with the same ideals and objectives: managing the movement of people and goods as cost-effectively and as safely as possible according to business need.”– John Pryor, chairman of ACFO.
This type of platform would make it possible for each individual transportation operator to cast a wider net. Black car and limo rides would be proposed to any user looking for transportation and, in that sense, it would put livery services in front of a lot more potential customers. And not just more customers, but also new potential customers, those who haven’t ever considered a luxury option or who wouldn’t typically choose a limo ride. With MaaS, limo operators can reach
It may seem far-off for now, but with the adoption of “cars as a service,” less individuals will choose to own and insure cars. This will mean a higher demand for other types of transportation and a great reliance on rental cars and hired rides on-demand. In all, we expect this to introduce a wave a livery business growth in the future.
In theory, mobility as a service can put even more power in the hands of transportation operators. It will still be up to the operator to decide which vehicles to make available and when.
Like other peer-to-peer applications, we imagine that the operator will also be in charge of setting the price. At the same time, users will be able to see price estimates for the rides they are planning and compare customer reviews posted for the different service providers. This represents a unique opportunity for limo operators to compete on common ground and highlight the strong points of their service to potential customers.
The types of key fleet metrics that managers already track will likely change to cover more than vehicle data and costs. Unified MaaS will produce big data that will enable operators to monitor timing, ride success rates, and projected income. All of this will be supported by ongoing development of fleet management software.
Related article: Are We Witnessing the Downfall of Ridesharing?
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