How regulating data sharing practices in the context of Mobility-as-a-Service can help deliver its environmental and social benefits

"Treating data sharing like water in the context of Mobility-as-a-Service policy-making will be central to delivering people- and planet-centric mobility systems" argues Pauline Aymonier, Head of Public Policy - Smart & Sustainable City at TIER Mobility SE, in this recent opinion piece where she reflects upon the discussions of the 9th Florence Intermodal Forum.

This article by Pauline Aymonier, Head of Public Policy – Smart & Sustainable City at TIER Mobility SE, originally appeared in the European Transport Regulation Observer “Towards EU-wide Intermodal Ticketing (September, 2022).

As cities around the world are looking for ways to make their transport networks more environmentally friendly, resilient and efficient, Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is being deployed as a solution to achieving this by integrating various forms of transport services into a single mobility service accessible on demand.

As Europe’s most integrated micromobility operator with 40+ MaaS integrations and 50+ Public Transport partnerships, TIER believes MaaS can create more sustainable urban transport systems. But the full value of MaaS is yet to be unlocked, especially when it comes to data. Not only does MaaS give us an opportunity to rethink urban transport holistically by anchoring the concept of multimodality in our transport governance, but it also gives us a chance to stitch our cities back together, shedding light on the mobility challenges we are up against to tackle them more efficiently. To achieve this though, we need to collect and share data stemming from MaaS and to create harmonised and efficient data sharing processes to benefit the many. This is where policy comes in: it can play an important role in defining how data can accelerate the delivery of MaaS’ potential environmental and social benefits, notably by:

  • Harmonising MaaS data sharing practices;
  • Enabling insight sharing between MaaS partners;
  • Generating value from data reporting to authorities;
  • Allowing access to public transport APIs and tickets.

Harmonising MaaS data sharing

Despite being at the very root of every MaaS partnership, data sharing for integrations is proving to be a complex exercise: various standards for integration exist, and the level of data requested greatly varies per partnership and market. Different Member States are looking into designing their own national standards for MaaS integrations, creating further fragmentation in the market. The design or support of a single MaaS data standard at European level would address this issue by easing data sharing relationships, creating more market certainty and reducing technical efforts required of all parties. It would make MaaS a simpler task overall and generally more likely to become common–or best–practice across the mobility industry.

Enabling insight sharing between MaaS partners

Beyond data sharing for integration purposes, great value can be generated from the data–or mobility insights–collected by MaaS platforms in order to understand citizens’ mobility habits and appetite for sustainable mobility choices. As it stands though, limited data is actually being collected by MaaS aggregators and therefore shared amongst players of the ecosystem, effectively hindering our assessment of the sustainable impact of MaaS. From a micromobility operator’s perspective, we are currently not able to know when a user combines the usage of a TIER vehicle with public transport in a single trip performed through MaaS. As the industry evolves alongside platforms’ technical capacity to collect data, it will be important to design rules to allow for efficient data exchanges between MaaS players in order to assess the uptake of multimodal transportation and track progress on MaaS’ sustainability goals.

Generating value from data reporting to authorities

As an international operator that already shares data with most of the 170 cities it operates in, TIER is convinced of the value that mobility data can bring to public stakeholders to inform their local policy-making or planning. With that said, the absence of harmonised rules governing data sharing with authorities has resulted in our data not being efficiently read and used by public stakeholders. When regulating mobility data, it is important to grasp the unprecedented opportunity it presents to understand and manage our cities better, i.e., for space management, infrastructure planning, multimodal integration and addressing local mobility needs. In the context of MaaS data reporting, policy-makers should look into use cases of high public value and avoid falling into data-sharing requirements for monitoring and compliance purposes, which have proved to bring limited societal impact in the shared mobility industry.

Allowing access to Public Transport APIs and tickets

We see the development of pricing bundles and intermodal packages as a prerequisite to making MaaS a winning alternative to cars, turning it into an attractive and cost-efficient solution for the end-users. While TIER was able to run successful joint ticketing pilots with Public Transport Operators, notably in Finland (HSL) and Switzerland (SBB), the industry is bound by fragmented regulations across Europe that do not allow for private MaaS actors to access public transport data sources (APIs), and therefore to resell their tickets. Regulation has a key role to play in granting private MaaS operators across the EU a level of access to public transport data in order to build attractive pricing options for users while ensuring that public transport remains the backbone of MaaS.

As rightly pointed out during the discussions of the 9th Florence Intermodal Forum, data should not be considered the new gold but rather the new water when it comes to MaaS. Like water, data must be accessible. It must be collected, treated, analysed and delivered in a way that brings value to citizens. Unlike gold, everyone needs water to survive. And in a MaaS context, each player needs data to thrive and to bring sustainable outcomes. Treating data sharing like water in the context of MaaS policy-making will be central to delivering people- and planet-centric mobility systems.


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