Mobility-as-a-Service Still Searching for a Market Foothold

Policymakers and venture capital firms love the idea of Mobility-as-a-Service. The public hasn't proven as receptive, despite the willingness to download apps by the millions.

1 minute read

August 13, 2020, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Robert Couse-Baker / Flickr

David Zipper writes on the stalled progress of Mobility-as-a-Service companies in capturing the hearts and minds of the world's commuters and movers.

Zipper defines Mobility as a Service (MaaS) as an online platform, usually an app, that allows users to choose from all available transportation modes.

Count Uber among the companies championing the idea of MaaS, and the market has been flooded with apps hoping to deliver on the concept: "MaaS’s most prominent champions have been a group of popular startups offering slick apps like Citymapper, Transit and MaaS Global (the company behind Whim)." Zipper also notes that cities as geographically disparate as Berlin and Louisville have gotten into the MaaS game. 

The public has responded with interest from these efforts by the private and public sectors: "Millions of users across Europe, North America, and Asia have downloaded these apps, and venture capital firms endorsing their vision of a multimodal urban future have invested tens of millions of dollars."

But that interest is proving tentative and potentially temporary. "MaaS’s momentum ('MaaSmentum'?) is at risk of stalling," according to Zipper. "To date, MaaS companies have found limited traction among urban residents, even in favorable markets," according to Zipper."

The article includes a lot more detail about the challenges in building consumer preference and commercial traction for MaaS platforms.

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