How MaaS Can Contribute to Sustainable Transportation

Diminishing the adverse effects of human activity on the environment has become a critical agenda of sustainable design.

Pre-pandemic, the global average congestion level was 29% — and 57% of countries had seen an increase in traffic congestion. The WHO estimates that half of the world’s population is subjected to increasing air pollution.

Against this backdrop, there is an increased demand for mobility systems to become more environmentally sustainable, resilient and human-centric.

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The core sustainability goal of MaaS is for citizens to move away from ownership of private vehicles in favor of a more convenient and easily accessible range of transportation systems tailored to their needs and integrated by a service platform.

What is Mobility as a Service?

The MaaS Alliance describes mobility as a service as “the integration of various forms of transport and transport-related services into a single, comprehensive, and on-demand mobility service.

MaaS offers end-users the added value of being able to access mobility through a single [digital] application and a single payment channel (instead of multiple ticketing and payment operations).

To meet a customer’s request, a MaaS operator hosts a diverse menu of transport options, including public transport, active modes such as walking and cycling, car bike-sharing, taxi and car rental or lease, or a combination.”

Designing and deploying sustainable MaaS requires changes in infrastructure, strategy, regulation and usage.

Building Sustainable, Resilient and Human-Centric Mobility Systems

MaaS can play a significant role in helping cities become more sustainable, resilient and human-centric.

By using more sustainable transport modes instead of private cars, MaaS helps the shift towards mass transport, walking and mobility solutions like ridesharing. This, in turn, can lead to the development of sustainable communities, improved personal health and greater inclusivity and accessibility for all inhabitants.

Because MaaS offers information about, and accessibility to, a multitude of mobility options, it can prove resilient during disruptions and continue to provide access to transportation. It can also provide transportation authorities real-time, system-level information to help optimize assets and traffic flow to enable rapid response to disruptions.

MaaS can help meet differing user needs by providing seamless access to a variety of modes of transportation, as well as by offering convenient and simple planning, booking and payment options. By using MaaS, customers have the freedom to choose their preferred mobility options, or change them based on circumstances. The different types of transportation in MaaS also mean continuous availability and operations within predictable time frames — all of which make MaaS human-centric.

Benefits of MaaS for All Stakeholders


Beyond sustainable and resilient mobility systems, MaaS offers benefits to all stakeholders, not just users. City authorities, solution providers and society as a whole can benefit from MaaS:



  • MaaS provides a better mobility experience and flexibility without the ownership of personal mobility assets.


  • Consumers have the freedom to use multiple mobility options based on preferences such as trip duration, mode, cost and environmental performance.


  • MaaS offers a lower cost of usage compared to the total cost of ownership.


  • It can help urban areas become car-free, thereby reducing congestion, and improving sustainability and quality of life.

Cities and Transport Authorities


  • If a MaaS is built using a suitable and regulated data framework, it can provide transport authorities better system-level control and help push more sustainable mobility patterns amongst users.


  • MaaS can make a great difference in first- and last-mile solutions by increasing the accessibility and inclusiveness of mobility services, improving service quality and reliability, and integrating tariffs.


  • Cities can plan to build more optimized mobility systems, manage real-time mobility flows and better utilize assets by leveraging data from MaaS.

Public and Private Mobility Solution Providers


  • Improved accessibility to preferred mobility needs means an increase in market size and a reduction in acquisition and customer support costs.


  • MaaS allows data sharing among trusted partners and gives solution providers insights into end-to-end journeys and overall mobility patterns, which can reveal a deeper understanding of customer needs.


  • MaaS has the potential to become an engaging channel for solution providers to engage with customers.

The potential benefits of MaaS have become evident to all stakeholders, from entrepreneurs to policymakers, who are taking a greater interest in developing MaaS and considering new regulatory and data frameworks that will enable it to gain more traction in public mobility systems.

Sign up for MIT SA+P Smart Mobility: Reimagining the Future of Transportation Tech & Sustainable Cities to understand the fundamentals of MaaS and the potential opportunities for mobility solution providers.

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