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Covid-19 to hamper short-term growth but mobility-as-a-service to rebound in 2021

Despite expected restricted growth this year of platforms that integrate different transport services – including buses, taxis, rail and metro – into a single app, a dramatic return for MaaS is expected in the six years to 2027

Significant reductions in transport usage caused by the coronavirus pandemic are set to negatively impact many industries for an indeterminate period and it will be no different for mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) in 2020 – but there are prospects for the sector to see a rebound next year, says Juniper Research.

The analyst’s latest study, Mobility-as-a-service: business models, vendor strategies & market forecasts 2020-2027, found that despite the expected restricted growth in 2020 of MaaS platforms – which integrate transport services such as buses, taxis, rail and metro into a single app – a dramatic return will be realised from 2021, with revenues generated set to exceed $52bn by 2027, up from $405m in 2020.

One of the key trends of the coronavirus outbreak has been the unprecedented demand for fixed and mobile services. On 25 March, pan-European operator Vodafone said it had seen an increase of 30% in internet traffic over its fixed and mobile networks and had seen fixed telephony traffic rise by more than 25% and mobile voice traffic by 42% as people used mobiles rather than work desk phones.

The operator also said it had not seen mobile data traffic rise much so far, as it had moved to different locations – increased usage of home networks rather than transport services.

However, Juniper was confident that MaaS initiatives would rebound quickly in 2021 as cities re-evaluated their transport strategies. Its research also noted that MaaS will save significant time for citizens from next year, as it will provide much-improved ways to travel in the urban environment, as well as reducing road congestion.

Juniper calculates that by 2027, MaaS will lead to a commuter time saving equal to 2.7 days per MaaS user per year. Quality-of-life improvements must be a major factor for city authorities in deciding when to pursue MaaS strategies, it said.

Assessing service providers, Juniper noted that although ride-sharing giants such as Uber and Lyft are adding transit information to apps, the fact that they are not neutral in the transport market means that this model will fail to engage the necessary transit partners for an effective solution.

The research therefore recommended that MaaS suppliers focus on licensing platforms as neutral players. It recommended that MaaS platform providers engage with transit authorities now to design pilots for 2021, in order to ensure future growth.

In a call to action, report author Nick Maynard noted: “MaaS will require wholesale shifts to public transit in order to realise its full benefits, so it must involve public transit operators at every stage. The platform licensing model is essential to build the required public/private partnerships to achieve success.”

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