The move to MaaS: What can it do for your business and how will mobility evolve?
Modern technologies have revolutionised the way we connect, consume, and move around.
In recent years we have witnessed a meteoric rise in on-demand, connected services, from Netflix to Uber, and we have become accustomed to the ease and convenience that connectivity offers.
Demand is always growing for greater connectivity, and for services to be more diverse and accessible, and this has translated to the world of business travel.
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is an emerging concept, in which transportation solutions shift from solely traditional car ownership to an on-demand service, providing transport options to fleet businesses and individuals, when and where the user requires them.
Rideshare apps, peer-to-peer rental services, and micro-mobility services are all current examples of MaaS solutions, as well as the more traditional modes of transport, such as train, plane, cycling, on-foot, and company car.
The move to mobility is not only being facilitated by advances in connected technology, but it is also being driven by widespread legislative reform, ushered in by the looming environmental crisis and the increasingly urbanised world.
According to the European Commission, urban mobility accounts for 40 per cent of all CO2 emissions of road transport in European countries, and up to 70 per cent of other pollutants from transport.
Congestion in the EU is often located in and around urban areas and costs almost 100 billion euros, or one per cent of the EU’s GDP, annually.
With a majority (60 per cent) of European citizens living in an urban environment, where accessibility to alternatives modes of transport is far-reaching, there is a big opportunity for fleet businesses to adopt the MaaS model.
By doing so, they are not only likely to reduce their environmental impact, and ready themselves for the future of low-carbon travel, but operate a more efficient, cost-effective and inclusive mobile workforce.
Transition from TCO to TCM
By adopting a wider mobility management approach, businesses can make smarter, more efficient journey decisions – from vehicle and travel selections to fuel and routing decisions.
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is one of the primary considerations for fleets, and as the MaaS model becomes integrated into traditional fleet operations, focus will shift to TCM (Total Cost of Mobility).
The latter is all-encompassing, referring to the combined cost of any activity relating to business travel.
Having complete visibility of all business travel means companies can more easily identify inefficiencies in their fleets and offer an opportunity to reduce costs, such as swapping underutilised company cars for more cost-effective occasional car rentals, ride shares or train journeys.
This multi-faceted approach to travel can also help companies cater for the varied needs and wants of their diverse worker demographic.
Company cars are no longer seen as a ‘perk’ or benefit to many of the younger generation and city-dwelling employees, so offering a wide range of travel options, more akin to what they are used to, will help to improve the ‘journey experience’.
Sustainability is high on the agenda for many fleets, not only from a futureproofing point of view as they brace for legislative change, but also from a reputational perspective.
Fleet managers who lead the way in the adoption of EVs and in the promotion of greener modes of transport can demonstrate their commitment to a more sustainable way of operating, and gain a competitive advantage by doing so.
There is also a risk management consideration. With fewer vehicles and less drivers on the road, fleets may see a reduction in the number of accidents and insurance claims.
A greener, cleaner future
Looking to the future, the inevitable shift to EVs will also be accompanied by the introduction of autonomous vehicles, furthering facilitating the move to mobility and the ‘sharing’ concept. Autonomous vehicles could ultimately end up replacing car ownership and the era of one-person journeys, with several employees being able to utilise the same vehicle, even on the same trip.
This will not only help reduce the number of vehicles on the road – and the fight against congestion and pollution – but may present further opportunity to make fleet cost savings.
Once bedded in to the MaaS model, traditional fleets may even go one step further and share their own vehicles outside of their company, potentially creating an additional revenue source.
Shifting from traditional ownership to a more dynamic way of business travel transcends the obvious cost savings and impact on the bottom line. It facilitates smarter environmental decisions, helps deliver a better driver and customer experience, and readies fleets for a new age in business travel.
Driven by data
The industry’s interest in MaaS has been piqued, but this has not yet translated into demand.
One of the main hurdles when it comes to the adoption of MaaS is the relative infancy of the model, and its associated complexities.
Accurate and robust data is crucial for the success of mobility management and the work required to collect, collate and analyse the data can be labour-intensive and a drain on resources.
Widespread uptake of MaaS is largely dependent on the development of reliable and intuitive technologies that aggregate MaaS services and help fleets to successfully transition to this new way of operating.
Indeed, software is starting to emerge to support the move to mobility, and to cater for the more integrated approach that mobility management demands.
For example, platforms are being created offering integrated journey planner capabilities, which have significant benefits for both employee and employer.
These solutions can offer real-time information about the availability of alternative modes of transport, with instant booking on a single platform.
Operators can manage and assess all travel options, on both an individual and wider-company basis, whilst business users benefit from a simple-to-use, instant booking system on their smartphone or desktop.
This fully-digitised system makes for a frictionless, paperless administrative journey, gives businesses a complete overview and control over mobility cost and choice, and allows employees the freedom to choose their own method of travel in a convenient and cost-effective way.
As well as creating a more seamless, streamlined travel booking system, these applications can also help companies achieve their ‘green goals’. Restrictions can be put on more environmentally-harmful transport options and CO2 emissions calculations can be included for each travel option to help inform employees and encourage more environmentally-conscious decisions.
The wealth of data resulting from this all-in-one platform can also help inform businesses decisions, by identifying opportunities to improve travel costs and efficiencies.
The road ahead
The prospect of change may be daunting but the move to mobility has opened up opportunities for companies to become more efficient and environmentally prudent when it comes to business travel.
Significant strides have been made but there is still a way to go before MaaS is the norm, rather than the exception.
However, an upturn in uptake can be expected in the coming years, as governments accelerate their environmental efforts, and technology advancements are made in this space.
What is important is that fleet managers keep their finger on the pulse and identify early opportunities to future-proof their mobile workforce – which is all important in the fast-paced and ever-changing climate we find ourselves in.