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MaaS Players Transforming into Mobility Ecosystem Providers

Ryan Citron
Jul 19, 2018

Mobility as a service (MaaS) providers are increasingly integrating their business with other transport options through acquisitions, partnerships, and internal technology development. These vendors want to become urban mobility ecosystem players instead of just providers of a single transportation service.

Uber and Lyft Leading the Way

Leading ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft are excellent examples of this recent trend. In April 2018, Uber acquired Jump Bikes, an electric and dockless e-bikesharing company. The company is expanding Jump’s offerings into European cities, and it also announced a partnership with dockless bicycle and scooter sharing provider Lime. Uber is developing its transportation platform to become increasingly multimodal—integrating ride-hailing, bikesharing, scooter sharing, and eventually other modes such as public transit.

In July 2018, Lyft made a similar move and acquired Motivate, the largest bikesharing company in the US that accounts for roughly 80% of bikeshare trips in the country. Additionally, the company announced a new version of its app that integrates directly with public transit. Lyft has thus far partnered with transit agencies in 25 cities.

These acquisitions demonstrate the interest from MaaS providers in closing the first-last mile gap in the transportation ecosystem. E-scooters and e-bikes, particularly dockless ones, are highly effective tools for getting commuters to and from subways stations, for example. Both Uber and Lyft have also pursued acquisition talks with the crowdsourced bus startup called Skedaddle. The startup is focused on long-distance ridesharing, another missing link for Uber and Lyft.

Next Steps: Full Integration with Transit and Automation

The next stage of transformation is likely to involve widespread and comprehensive levels of MaaS platform integration with public transit services. MaaS needs to be coordinated with mass transit services to ensure that optimal use is made of available road infrastructure while meeting the needs of the local community. Without this type of coordination, the potential improvements to congestion, safety, and cost could be squandered.

Ultimately, MaaS providers are gearing up to become bigger players in the mobility ecosystem by offering automated mobility services. As noted in Navigant Research’s Urban Mobility Innovations report, automated vehicles (AVs) likely hold the most potential to disrupt mobility markets over the next 10 years. AVs will enable the transformation of most MaaS business models and seed the development of new concepts. Ride-hailing will likely morph into adding more diverse features and price points. City dwellers may imagine a future where they can summon shared AVs that are specifically designed for particular use cases (e.g., Wi-Fi-enabled vehicles for commuting and in-vehicle entertainment for groups). While additional technological improvement is needed to provide sufficiently robust, reliable, safe, and affordable AVs for the general population, the costs and capabilities of these technologies have improved dramatically. As those advancements continue, there is a potentially huge and valuable market for the platform and service providers enabling automated driving.