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Mobility as a Service

Report Overview

Author: Transport Committee

Date Published: 19 December 2018

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Faster fixed and mobile access to the internet and data services have changed how people communicate, find information and shop. They have also increased people's choices over how, where and when they access online content and services. Interest is growing among transport operators, academics, planners and policy makers about the effect this shift in consumer behaviour could have on the provision of transport services.

An idea that is already being piloted abroad and in the UK is Mobility as a Service (MaaS). MaaS is the term for the digital platforms (often smartphone apps) through which people can access a range of public, shared and private transport, using a system that integrates the planning, booking and paying for travel.

This Report is intended to:

  • increase public awareness of what MaaS is;
  • show policy makers why it could be important and is worth investing time and effort to understand; and
  • clarify the Department for Transport’s (DfT) role in shaping its development in the UK.

Video: Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

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The Transport Committee is calling on the Government to:

  • We recommend the Government take a more active and direct role in shaping MaaS to ensure it develops in a way that supports Government strategies and policies, and that the benefits to society are realised to the greatest extent possible.
  • The Government must explicitly incorporate the development of MaaS into its relevant policies and strategies, including: promotion and development of electric and connected and autonomous vehicles; its Clean Air Strategy; the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy; and the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenge, which in part will involve an update of the Future of Urban Mobility strategy. We expect to see MaaS feature in that strategy when it is updated.
  • The Department should also set out, in its response to this Report, how it is working with other Departments, such as the Department for Health and Social Care and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to ensure MaaS is considered in the development of strategy and policy and that MaaS evolves in ways that support the delivery of key Government policies.

MaaS is being developed in response to the growing demand from users for transport to be delivered as an on-demand, multi-mode service that allows passengers to travel door-to-door conveniently and seamlessly. MaaS could revolutionise the way people travel, just as streaming services have fundamentally changed the way people search for, consume and pay for media.

“Maas is a new page. It is a new start; it is a possibility to deliver transport outcomes in different ways.”
– Paul Campion, CEO, Transport Systems Catapult.

MaaS pilots have shown the potential such schemes have for transforming how people travel, with claims it could bring very substantial benefits for individuals and society as a whole.

These include reduced road congestion, improved air quality, healthier travel choices, increased efficiency in transport networks and more effective management of transport demand.

These potential benefits align with those expected to be delivered by Government strategies such as the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy and the Future of Mobility challenge, which is part of the Government's Industrial Strategy.

Figure 1: The MaaS "ecosystem"

Graph depicting how Mobility as a Service (Maas) is broken down between customers, platform and data providers and transport operators

Source: Transport Systems Catapult, Mobility as a Service: Exploring the Opportunity for Mobility as a Service in the UK, July 2016

If MaaS develops in an uncontrolled way, it could have unintended negative consequences. For example, a poorly implemented MaaS scheme could increase road congestion and worsen air quality, or exacerbate digital and social exclusion. If a scheme's geographical extent is limited it could create difficulties for people wanting to make journeys outside the area or between areas covered by different MaaS schemes.

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The Transport Committee is calling on the Government to:

  • We recommend the Department for Transport help to support a much more varied “test and learn” approach to the implementation of MaaS.
  • We recommend, before the end of 2018, the Department's interdepartmental group, which has been set-up to work on MaaS, should collect data and information on a diverse range of MaaS projects and develop a means for sharing best practice between local and regional authorities and MaaS platform providers.
  • We recommend that the Government should focus on facilitating the development of an overall approach to MaaS that tests both the potential benefits and mitigations against unintended negative consequences that have been highlighted in this report.
  • We recommend that the Government more clearly outlines its support for MaaS pilots in its budget, estimates and departmental plans.
  • We recommend that the Government take steps to identify how much additional funding will be needed to effectively support and test a broad range of pilots in line with our earlier conclusions. In doing so, the Government should assess the suitability of current funding arrangements, such as the Transforming Cities budget, for supporting MaaS pilots and the extent to which the framework to support innovation encourages companies and others to invest in the piloting and development of MaaS.
  • In reviewing funding arrangements, the Government should consult as wide a range of stakeholders as possible.
  • The Government should investigate how it might secure the necessary funding, including if necessary redirecting funding from other projects linked to its Future of Mobility strategy, for the development of MaaS in the UK.

Many of the potential benefits of MaaS align well with the benefits the Government is seeking through several of its key strategies. We believe that MaaS should feature more prominently in the Government's plans. The Department for Transport was right to take a backseat while there were only a few MaaS pilots in the UK but it will need to play a more active part as piloting activity increases. It can do this by supporting and funding a variety of MaaS projects.

“We should encourage different business models and different operational models for MaaS, to learn what works best and what works well in different conditions.”
– Piia Karjalainen, Senior Manager, MaaS Alliance

Before the end of 2018, the Department for Transport must ensure that its interdepartmental group on MaaS engages with current and emerging MaaS pilots and research initiatives to assess a wide range of models and identify the best ways to ensure the potential benefits of MaaS are realised and the potential costs are mitigated.

In the immediate future, there is a clear role for the Government to shape the evolution of MaaS. We identify three tasks for the Department for Transport. It needs to:

  • provide leadership;
  • provide practical support for the development of MaaS in the UK; and
  • review and update existing guidance and legislation and bring forward new legislative proposals where necessary to provide a suitable regulatory framework for MaaS.

Data is key to the effective running of MaaS as it enables MaaS platform providers to deliver up-to-date and accurate information to customers and is key for efficient planning of customer-focused services. This will involve transport operators and MaaS platform providers sharing data on the planning, booking, travelling and post-travelling phases of journeys.

The Government needs to take steps to encourage transport operators and MaaS platform providers to share data in ways that are consistent with their respective commercial interests and the protection of passengers' personal data.

Jump to full chapter in the report

The Transport Committee is calling on the Government to:

  • Work with local authorities towards a “no data, no service” policy that would require all transport operators to share data if they want to provide a service in a given area. While such a policy must be implemented to promote innovation and growth of the MaaS market it will also bring other benefits and has merit on its own.
  • In developing this policy, the Government must ensure that it does not favour any single actor over another, and that smaller transport operators are provided with appropriate support to ensure they are not driven out of the market by the implementation of such a policy.
  • It is essential that existing regulations on transport, data protection, and consumer protection are updated to take account of MaaS. The Government should bring forward the necessary legislative proposals as soon as it has reviewed the adequacy of existing regulation.
  • We recommend by the middle of next year the Government should have developed a plan for how it will update existing guidance, codes of practice and current regulations to take account of MaaS. On those aspects of MaaS not covered by an existing framework the Government should work with MaaS stakeholders to develop a code of conduct that sets out roles, responsibilities and expectations for those involved in MaaS schemes.
  • The Government should ensure any code includes consideration of the means by which it will be enforced. The Government should demonstrate its willingness to regulate where a code of conduct proves to be inadequate.
  • We recommend the Government commissions research on MaaS users' rights and safety. The Government should also investigate what steps it needs to take to ensure there is fair market competition and that users' financial interests are protected. This should be done as part of the thorough legislative and regulatory review the Department has said it will conduct in connection with the Future of Mobility Industrial Strategy.

There is little regulation to govern MaaS. The lack of regulation, especially outside London, has caused concern for local and combined authorities, MaaS platform providers, transport operators and passengers. We believe there is a role for Government in helping to define and regulate the emerging MaaS market.

“A wise regulator has an eye to problems that solve themselves quickly, and tries to separate those from the ones that are going to be enduring and potentially cancerous.”
– Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport.

We see two tasks for the Government. First, it should review and update current guidelines, codes of conduct and regulations covering the provision of transport services so that MaaS schemes are properly accommodated within the regulatory framework. Second, it should work with MaaS stakeholders to develop a regulatory framework for those aspects of MaaS not covered by the existing regulatory framework.

This could be a code of conduct developed by MaaS stakeholders, but the Government must satisfy itself that any code is fit for purpose and can be enforced.

If an approach based on self-regulation cannot be found the Government should be willing to bring forward its own legislative proposals to ensure MaaS develops in a way that protects the interests of its users and wider society. This is vital if investors, MaaS platform providers and passengers are to have the confidence needed to support the growth of MaaS.

MaaS is likely to require the introduction of regulation or legislation to protect passengers when they are making multi-modal journeys. Customers' interests must be protected in case of accident or failure in service, and their financial interests must not be harmed as the MaaS market grows.

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