3 min

COVID-19: How can “Mobility as a Service” promote social distancing?

Back to work, back to school, masks in transportation, … The beginning of September marks a new stage in the daily life of a large part of the world. Although many transport operators are gradually getting back on the road, this is not the time to relax our vigilance. Indeed, many companies are trying to find solutions to respect the barrier gestures. A real headache, where “Mobility as a Service” is emerging as a possible solution. Focus on the opportunities offered by mobility services.

1 – Encouraging new habits

In this period of health crisis, many users have changed the way they travel. From the drop in traffic to the stoppage of some transport operators, it is not always easy to find a way to get around. This is where MaaS comes into play, by facilitating access to a complete and exhaustive range of mobility services. From planning to booking trips, users have the choice to travel by public transit, bicycle, scooter, car-sharing vehicle, VTC, etc. Or even combine them, making it possible to make intermodal trips. Anywhere, anytime, they will find a solution to get where they want to go.

2- Alert and notify the user beforehand

With the gradual resumption of transport, one of the greatest fears remains into the failure to respect social distancing. This is particularly true in public transport. At rush hour, we know that it is very difficult not to find oneself in a crowded bus or metro. Indeed, as during the end of containment on May 11, many public transport systems were overcrowded. This is particularly the case in Paris, with the overcrowded line 13. This would have been caused by an incident causing a delay of more than 30 minutes. In order to avoid this rush, the MaaS solution can play an important role.

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Indeed, in the event of disruptions, it will be able to alert and propose alternative transport options in real time to the user. Already integrated in MaaS solutions, these functionalities are now being rethought to meet new constraints and requirements. This is notably the case for the new functionality of Skedgo, a MaaS solution provider for local authorities. The Australian company has just developed a new feature that allows Sydneans to assess the level of occupation before moving. Based on open-source data from New South Wales transport operators, users will be able to find out the number of passengers and the new timetables beforehand. But also the latest preventive measures that have been put in place.

3 – Favouring gentler and sustainable mobility

As we saw in our previous infographics “COVID-19, transport and pollution: what lessons can be learned from this crisis”, this pandemic will have caused real environmental upheaval. Indeed, during the fifty-five days of containment, we have seen a marked improvement in air quality in several cities around the world. These observations have prompted us to reflect on how to continue to preserve the environment. And that means adopting more environmentally friendly and sustainable modes of transport. This means leaving the car in the garage. With MaaS, it means opting for less congestion, fewer emissions, … leading in the long term to more environmentally-friendly mobility.

4 – Assessing, understanding and mitigating risks through data

With a view to a gradual return to “normal” life, the opening up and sharing of data are today essential in the deployment of a successful mobility strategy. Evaluation of traffic, passenger volume, number of bicycles or scooters available, etc. The final goal: To highlight user preferences and constraints.

As recalled by Joël Hazan, Nikolaus Lang and Hind El Abassi Chraibi of the Boston Consulting Group, there are four levels of Mobility as a Service. The last level is the implementation of strategies that encourage users to change the use of their usual modes of transport. This is also made possible by deepening knowledge of user habits. Valuable data enable the best decisions to be made, leading to more sustainable mobility. So by bringing these 4 points together, we are in the presence of the ideal MaaS application of tomorrow.