The idea of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is gaining momentum internationally. Transport researchers, policy makers, transport service providers, developers and others are all eager to get involved. In this study, MaaS is defined as a transport concept involving the use of a single digital platform to find, book and pay for trips offered by various transport service providers.
The platform not only integrates the transport providers, but also the various transport modes. Such integration makes it easier to compare transport modes according to their trip times, costs, comfort levels, environmental impact and other aspects.
To extend this definition, MaaS users are also those who have successfully used the MaaS app on multiple occasions to arrange trips via a variety of transport providers and modalities.
Commentators describe how MaaS could support a decrease in the negative externalities caused by transport, and, more generally, could be an efficient travel demand management tool with environmentally and socially desirable outcomes.
However, these outcomes will be highly dependent on the people willing and able to use MaaS. Acquiring a better picture of the most promising groups within the population is a necessary part of MaaS research, as this allows for the impacts of this new concept to be further quantified.
Against this background, this study, conducted on behalf of the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management’s MaaS team, aimed at answering the following research question: Which groups within the Dutch population are relatively most likely to use MaaS?
Since MaaS is still a nascent concept, surveying the Dutch population directly on this topic would be complex. To determine how more or less likely people would be to make use of MaaS, 1,547 people were surveyed via a series of 25 statements and questions. The subsequent findings were expressed as a set of four indicators, called the MaaS Potential Index (MPI). A Lasso regression analysis was then used to link the four indicators to the respondents’ most relevant personal characteristics. Furthermore, since the respondents had previously participated in the Netherlands Mobility Panel, substantial amounts of their personal background information were available.
This study did not focus on estimating the absolute number of MaaS users in the Netherlands, or the total demand. Rather, the focal point was the relative comparative positions of the various population groups, whereby one group is more likely to use MaaS than another.
The early adopters of the Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform will be people with hypermobile lifestyles. Healthy and active young people who use public transport, own folding bikes and are concerned about the environment will use MaaS before older people of limited mobility, in poorer health and with lower income and education levels.
It is highly likely that the profile of early adopters will differ from that of the majority or laggards. The idea that the personal characteristics of early adopters and laggards differ from one another is also supported by the findings of marketing and innovation literature. This insight has far-reaching implications for MaaS’s potential impacts on the transport system. The behaviour of the initial users cannot be extrapolated to the entire population. It may well be that the initial users start using public transport less, precisely because one of MaaS’s most promising groups consists of people who already frequently use public transport. If the use of MaaS results in the early adopters using public transport less frequently, this does not necessarily mean that public transport use will further decrease when more people adopt MaaS.