The Government has published its first voluntary Code of Practice for Mobility as a Service (MaaS) for use by MaaS platform providers, transport operators and local authorities. The Code was published alongside the Government's long awaited response to its consultation which concluded in May 2022.
MaaS is defined by the DfT as "the integration of various modes of transport along with information and payment functions into a single mobility service" and its application is best demonstrated currently through mobility apps and platforms which integrate and provide users with personalised multi-modal travel planning and unified payment or subscription models.
The Code of Practice not only reinforces the Government's ambitions for MaaS but sets out its position on a number of key areas for MaaS: accessibility and inclusion, enabling active and sustainable travel, data, multimodal ticketing, consumer protection and competition. In doing so, the Government has made clear that as an emerging industry and technology, it does not seek to impose regulation unnecessarily but rather to avoid some of the more undesirable potential consequences that may not align with the UK's overall future of transport strategy. Nevertheless, its 34 recommendations should be noted by all stakeholders in the MaaS industry or looking at ways to deploy such technology.
Recommendations include that:
- MaaS platform providers proactively identify and engage with users who have protected characteristics that may be adversely impacted by platform design choices.
- MaaS schemes should consider the specific needs of users in rural areas where, for example, internet connectivity could be a barrier to accessing online journey planning.
- Community transport services should be integrated as far as possible into MaaS schemes
- Personal safety should be a key consideration for organisations developing MaaS solutions. The journey options presented in a MaaS platform should consider the needs of users disproportionately affected, such as children, older people and women, by offering safe and appropriate routes.
- MaaS platforms should display active travel choices for routes offered, where appropriate, and ensure these options are clearly signposted to users
- Transport operators should share the following certain data, under the Open Government License to improve service provision, user experience and encourage more sustainable ways to travel
- MaaS platform providers should reciprocate data sharing where possible, for example, sharing anonymised passenger travel data to support transport operators’ planning and operations activities.
- MaaS platform providers, transport operators and local authorities should work collaboratively to offer a consistent ticketing experience that provides convenience and value for money for passengers.
- MaaS platform providers should offer transparent and consistent information for multimodal journeys and set out points of contact for users upfront so they understand how they can provide feedback on their journey, claim for compensation for delays or cancellations or request a ticket refund, should they need to.
- Local authorities, MaaS platform providers and transport operators should ensure that any commercial agreements that are entered into promote fairness on pricing, avoid exclusivity of services and encourage data sharing to guard against any negative competition outcomes.
The Government is encouraging adoption of the Code of Practice and will review developments and has committed to supporting MaaS developments further in collaboration with the industry.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Code of Practice or MaaS, please contact Brian Wong.
Developing MaaS is a complex undertaking. There are many technical and commercial challenges to overcome when designing a MaaS solution, alongside overlapping regulatory frameworks that create a challenging environment for MaaS to succeed. In addition, MaaS is still in its infancy worldwide, with testing and trialling taking place alongside small-scale deployments. From these trials, we are starting to understand the digital infrastructure needed for MaaS platforms to be deployed at larger scales, along with broader social behavioural changes to adjust to these new service offerings. Now is an opportune time to take a voluntary, guidance-based approach through a code of practice to enable these platforms to emerge and mitigate any unintended consequences.