A Department for Transport (DfT) MaaS code of practice consultation that will provide guidelines for new suppliers to enter the market closes on May 3.
The DfT set out its roadmap to develop future policy for Mobility as a Service as part of a free Smart Transport webinar, held in partnership with Enterprise, is available now for free to view in full online.
It featured presentations on MaaS by Helen McGuire, Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) policy advisor Future of Transport Strategy, Chris Lane, Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) head of transport innovation and Oz Choudhri, Enterprise UK and Ireland head of mobility solutions.
McGuire is urging all MaaS stakeholders and transport experts to respond to the consultation to help shape the future of mobility in the UK.
She said: "MaaS is such an emerging industry in the UK, we thought a voluntary approach through a code of practice was a good way to support the industry as it’s growing, rather than introduce any unnecessary barriers.
“It can be some high level voluntary guidance that can clarify certain areas without being too onerous.
“It will also provide a structured way to gather further evidence and understand where regulation might need to be brought forward in the future."
McGuire said the DfT wants to help encourage MaaS platform providers to include carbon data to help consumers choose lower carbon journeys. This feeds into the wider Government decarbonisation objectives.
She added: “It can provide guidelines on inclusivity and accessibility.
"We also want to provide some best practice examples of MaaS solutions.
"This will act as a knowledge share to assist local authorities build MaaS platforms to a national standard when they’re looking to deploy in their region."
The app is not enough
Lane has extensive experience running a MaaS trial in the West Midlands in collaboration with the Whim app from MaaS Global.
TfWM is now in the process of procuring a new MaaS platform solution for the next evolution of its multi-modal mobility offering.
Lane said: “We got a lot of learning from that solution. People that used the service really liked it and we did see a transfer from people using private cars.
“But the app didn’t reach enough people to make a significant difference in modal shift.
“Some of the transport modes availability and reliability did not live up to the promise of the app.
“But we still believe MaaS has a significant part to play in promoting sustainable transport. It needs to be more than an app, it needs to be a whole transport package.”
Lane said TfWM’s MaaS strategy should build on top of the success of its Swift smartcard travel system.
TfWM, its partners and the University of Warwick are currently working on a collaborative two-year project titled: 'Choose Your Way Warwick'.
The campus has become a “living lab” to test out new mobility ideas, approaches and technologies that could help to address the climate emergency.
Lane said: “The project with Warwick is a real showcase for multiple modes of transport.
“We’re learning from what we did with Whim and we’re right in the middle of procuring a new MaaS solution.
“As part of our tender for the MaaS app, we’ve looked at a particular set of user groups. We’ve asked the bidders to tell us how the app would help commuters, families or traditional bus users.
“What’s really important is what we can do with MaaS is help meet some policy goals to reduce emissions and help people be healthier by choosing active travel options.”