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Why Mobility as a Service Is Shaping the Future of Transportation

Transportation and technology concept. ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems). Mobility as a service.

As municipalities emerge from shutdowns, slowdowns and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the transportation sector’s role in supporting the recovery is becoming more apparent.

As municipalities emerge from shutdowns, slowdowns and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the transportation sector’s role in supporting the recovery is becoming more apparent. Transportation options that are accessible, affordable and environmentally friendly connect residents across their region to job opportunities, housing, shopping and more.

During the downturn and dips in transportation ridership, municipal and transportation leaders have had the opportunity to reevaluate their network of disjointed, costly and environmentally unfriendly public and private transport options. Prior to the pandemic, many transit options consisted of a proliferation of "shared" ride, bike or even scooter apps and services that didn’t work together seamlessly, nor did they give travelers suggestions (such as cheaper or faster options) based on individual needs. To encourage use of transit options and support environmental and social equity goals, transportation agency leaders recognize the need for more automated, integrated solutions that will provide riders with real-time data that simplifies and streamlines options.


Public-sector transportation leaders face enormous budgetary and performance challenges every day, and the pandemic-induced slowdown placed a spotlight on the inefficiencies within their transportation operations. This is where mobility as a service (MaaS) is well-positioned to help. MaaS integrates transport service types into a single mobility app or service. For municipal and transportation leaders, MaaS can help deliver:

  • Cost-effective, budget-conscious transport options – Facing higher budgetary constraints, there’s a need for leaders to optimize transportation services to meet rider demands. Many municipalities in the U.S., for example, have spent the lion’s share of their budgets on road construction, mostly without corresponding reductions in traffic congestion. Technology-driven advances such as MaaS enable agencies to present riders with a variety of available transit options in real time, allowing for agencies to manage and adjust resources, such as road usage, bus lanes and parking spaces around demand, traffic and other factors.
  • Integrated services across transport modes – City leaders are finding that travelers tend to use multiple transportation modes including buses, subways, trains and trams, often with multiple connections. Travelers also organize their own journeys, combining tickets and schedules from transportation networks autonomously operated by separate public and private transit providers. Municipal leaders want to create interoperable "door-to-door" mobility services that integrate public transit and private ride-sharing options. They see advantages to streamlining and optimizing traveler journeys by aggregating large volumes of data including times, fares, operating schedules and passenger information on a continuous basis.
  • Environmentally friendlier alternatives – Making space available for bicycles or other popular micromobility devices also offers a greener alternative to driving one’s car. While the idea of promoting public transit to improve air quality isn’t new, in May 2020, the American Geophysical Union reported air quality had improved since lockdowns began. Civic leaders hope to help influence healthier, environmentally friendly travel behavior, because as the United Nations reports, over 90 percent of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds safe levels.


The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to have an impact on riders’ use of transit due to a persistent increase in teleworking, ongoing desires to social distance and more. Transportation leaders are seeking ways to promote the use of public transportation as a viable alternative to single-car trips. Travelers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and looking for greener alternatives that also provide flexible and affordable routes. MaaS can help encourage expanded use of public transportation through:

  • Real-time reliability in the ease of an app – Travelers want an instant, on-demand, mobile-friendly platform that seamlessly integrates a combination of transport methods, from bike-sharing to taxis to short-term car rental services. From travel planning to payment, users want to organize an entire trip with a few clicks on an app. By subscribing to an app, users have the ability to see real-time passenger volumes, save travel preferences or even track loyalty points.
  • Valuable insights – City dwellers and visiting tourists alike need more and better information to ensure efficient, timely trips through and across metropolitan regions. Whether someone wants to use an e-bike to whiz around a city’s tourist attractions or is seeking the quickest route to their next business meeting, MaaS can help them to plan routes, buy tickets and refine their journeys as they travel.
  • Optimizable features – It’s crucial to note that not every traveler will want the fastest or most direct transport mode to complete their daily journeys. Budget management is an important factor for many lower-income areas in addition to speed or convenience. MaaS provides the ability to help residents and visitors optimize travel costs or speed across available transport modes to find the fastest or least expensive options.
  • Enhanced safety and accessibility – Making multiple transit modes safer and more accessible is also important. Access to safe transportation is a primary goal of the United Nations Sustainable Development initiative, for example, which focuses on providing access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems by expanding public transport. Transportation agencies must pay special attention to the needs of individuals in vulnerable situations, including children, persons with social difficulties, disabilities and older people.

While it’s difficult to make long-term predictions, municipal leaders can see environmental and economic advantages to embracing mobility as a service (MaaS). Ultimately, there are still hurdles to overcome. People will continue to need transportation, but they may not be quite ready to utilize public transportation as they once did. While it will take effort to fully integrate public and private transportation options, MaaS is a unique opportunity to deliver meaningful, engaging mobility services that attract travelers through improved accessibility, lower costs and environmentally friendly options.

Conduent Transportation offers innovative solutions and services to help municipal leaders improve mobility. We create digital platforms and services that manage millions of interactions every day, leveraging the power of the cloud, mobile technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as our long history of partnership and collaboration in 27 countries.

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