MaaS across the Mobility Spectrum: An Interview with Jacob Bangsgaard, CEO of ERTICO-ITS Europe

Interview Conducted by Anne Gadel, Head of Public Affairs, Autonomy

What is MaaS Alliance’s role in helping the MaaS ecosystem thrive?

The MaaS Alliance is driving the take-up of Mobility as a Service by creating a common approach to MaaS and unlocking the economies of scale needed for successful implementation of MaaS in Europe and globally. The MaaS Alliance is an ERTICO Innovation Platform of 60 public and private organisations and companies. The MaaS Alliance explains the benefits of MaaS to different audiences and helps in local implementations by providing knowledge and partners. In practise, the Alliance and its members are working together in various working groups towards technically interoperable services and innovative business and governance models. The MaaS Alliance has also a very important role in sharing the best practices, for instance in terms of how we should re-regulate the MaaS environment.

 Currently the transport sector is more modality-specific when it comes to regulation, whereas the development of the MaaS market requires a wider access to the open data of all modalities in order to create the most accurate open standards. How does ERTICO with MaaS Alliance help define regulatory principles for a wider digitalized transport system? How do you include all market players in this system?

The access to secure and high-quality data is one of the key components to foster the development of new services and optimised systems. Of course, we have to acknowledge that in a digital economy, the ownership and access to data determines market dominance, and this should be reflected in business models and incentives for the data-driven MaaS ecosystem. The increased dependency on data might also cause new threats to the vulnerability of the transport system, and these risks should be addressed properly. Access to data alone is not enough. In order to be able to bundle different transport services into one offering, the market access of new mobility services and a level-playing field amongst all market players should be ensured. Here ERTICO plays an important role representing widely the main actors in the mobility industry and can support the controlled transformation to data economy.

It’s true that the existing regulatory framework doesn’t always support the development of more user-centric mobility systems. I would say that in this development phase we should prefer self-regulative measures by the market and soft law and avoid early large-scale regulatory measures. But of course the legislation that directly hinders the emergence of multimodal mobility services and creates legal uncertainty should be amended. Sharing best practices regarding all aspects of multimodal mobility services and coordinating efforts to create beneficial environments to support such services should be widely and actively supported.  I believe that in order to future-proof, the regulatory frameworks should be designed from the end user’s (traveller’s) perspective. Different regulatory initiatives or proposals must be trialled and tested from this perspective.

ERTICO supports the transformation of the industry by being the leading visionary and executive partner. It advocates the development and adoption of Mobility as a Service by actively harnessing progress in connected and automated transport and exploring the wider potential of MaaS in Europe and at a global level. Having a proactive role in the development of Maas will ensure that our Partners remain at the core of this ecosystem and shape the mobility landscape of the future. It’s one of the most important tasks of the ERTICO to engage the entire value chain and help our partners to find a thriving position in value creation. However, ERTICO’s role will maintain as a facilitator and a promoter of its members’ interest in Mobility as a Service and leave the details how to commercialise the services to its members.

How does Smart Mobility (ITS) help curb congestion and pollution in cities, now and in the future?

We just got back from Copenhagen for our ITS World Congress that we organise every year and we heard a lot of success stories on how smart mobility is already contributing to a cleaner and more efficient urban environment. Autonomous vehicles are part of the story, in the future they will be one of the driving forces behind a more efficient city and movement of people and goods. Multimodality obviously is a game changer, the use of combined and tailored means of transport can reduce the use of private vehicles for part of the journey and train citizens to a different thinking on how they move in a more efficient way and help reducing congestion. Electric and hybrid vehicles are also part of the solution as we see increasing sales around the world.

In the future, we will probably see a combination of these technologies.

Why is it important for ERTICO and MaaS Alliance to partner with Autonomy this year?

We believe that fostering the dialogue is the way to go. As partnership-based organisations, both ERTICO and the Alliance understand the importance of sitting at the table with the different players. That is also my expectation of this year’s event, I hope to talk to as many professionals as possible and to hear their stories and solutions for a smarter mobility.

What do you see as the greatest urban mobility issues and how are ERTICO and MaaS Alliance working to solve them?

Although the main motivation behind Mobility as a Service is to provide better, digitally-enabled mobility services for the end-user, it has also many important wider benefits. A successful MaaS service brings new business opportunities and ways to organise and operate the various transport options as a seamless multimodal service. According to market evidence, MaaS has the potential to attract new customers and create demand for public transport where previously it did not exist. Therefore, I strongly believe that MaaS has a clear potential to reduce the environmental impact of transport, like CO2 emission, air pollution and congestion. MaaS aims at optimisation and more efficient use of the urban transport system. It aims to solve the mobility challenges of larger cities with soft measures and consequently reduce the need for public funding and subsidies in the transport sector. MaaS can be the mobility sector’s response to the call of the circular economy – it builds on the existing services, but upgrades the ways they are combined, integrated and consumed reducing inefficiencies in the system.

What is the impact of GDPR on your mission?

We look at GDPR as an opportunity. Of course, current technologies and services will need to adapt in terms of dealing with private data. We will need to be clearer on the use we do of the data provided and also to explain the benefits citizens will get in exchange. We need more transparency on how companies and services treat the collected data.

 In what ways is the collaboration between public and private actors necessary for the future of the transport sector?

It’s quite obvious that the increased demand for multimodal transport requires even more cooperation between stakeholders. There is a need for enhanced cooperation between stakeholders in the private and public sectors in order to provide users with a seamless travel experience. This multimodal trend will even enhance public-private partnerships and will also support the definition of new roles within public administrations. This bridge between public and private is ERTICO’s core mission, we see that this scheme works well in all the activities we carried out and represent a gain for all our member organisations.

A big focus of Autonomy this year is autonomous driving. How do you think AVs will impact Mobility as a Service by 2025?

Advanced vehicle connectivity, intelligence and automation will further accelerate MaaS development, providing means to interact with traffic and mobility management and access to a more reliable service. Although automation has been mainly discussed in relation with road transport, it is expected to soon disrupt other modes of transport, opening new opportunities for optimised on-demand delivery across the whole transport and logistics system. MaaS, which should be understood as a service and access-based model in the provision and use of everyday mobility services is often linked with the roll-out of autonomous vehicles and the energy transition of mobility and these progressive innovations should, in my opinion, be developed hand in hand. The future of mobility should be seen as a highly intelligent connected, automated, service-based and electric ecosystem deploying the full potential of all these promising technology drivers and having the goal of low-emission (even zero-emission in longer term) transport in mind. I want to see ERTICO as the leader of the development of automated MaaS as ERTICO’s partners include the most advanced companies and stakeholders from all relevant sectors across the MaaS value chain.