[Webinar Recap] Connected Journeys: Mobility as a Service

Passport and PlusPass recently hosted a virtual panel discussion, that explored the move towards Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and how state and local governments are planning for the future of mobility through public/private partnerships. Moderator Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, advisor to Passport and professor of Government at the Harvard Kennedy School of Public Policy, was joined by three thought leaders to discuss how they are adapting to the transition to MaaS and the best way for cities to deliver consumer-centric transportation.

  • J.J (Jim) Eden, Executive Director, North Carolina Turnpike Authority
  • Carlos Cruz-Casas, Assistant Director of the Department of Transportation & Public Works in Miami-Dade County
  • Jason Redfern, Parking Enterprise Manager in Austin, TX

Here are some key takeaways:

Payment solutions will drive all modes of transportation together.

Traditionally, various transportation agencies have operated independently when it comes to mobile payments operations. However, for MaaS to function adequately, payment methods across modes of transportation must be uniform to allow for users to transfer seamlessly. J.J (Jim) Eden made the case that payment solutions are the key to providing the public access to roam seamlessly across modes of transportation and agencies. We are starting to see more advances in mobile payments across agencies, which has already created a more congruous experience for users. Another variation of the principle is the consolidation of various transportation modes into a single payment platform so that instead of having to enter new applications to submit payment, a single platform can accept payments for all modes. In this platform, one account can funnel users to different mobility choices, making the connection from mobile parking payments, to the subway, to mobility management seamless.

Data sharing is crucial to increasing customer choice.

For a long time, data aggregation and sharing have been the Achilles heel for public agencies. However, in the last five years, we have seen a drastic shift in cities’ ability to collect and share data to improve customer experience. Back office communication and data sharing across agencies is the critical link to give customers the most efficient service. Carlos Cruz-Casas of Miami-Dade County said it best; “We are custodians of the public right of way, and the community is the owner of the public right of way.” Customers entrust transportation agencies to manage the public right of way in time spent, space and mode. In Miami Dade County, Cruz Casas is hoping to eventually manage all traffic and mobility solutions in the county single back-office system. Under a single management solution, different modes can speak to each other, and activity insights can be shared to drive more optimal mobility outcomes for users.

Connected and Autonomous vehicles must be included in MaaS Planning.

We are already starting to see the introduction of connected cars and autonomous vehicles (AV’s) on many streets and curbs across the country. Private operators are running routes and mapping exercises to test the use of AV’s for pick up/ drop off and delivery. To ensure a future-proof MaaS system, planning for connected cars and AV’s must start now. In the City of Austin, Jason Redfern is using transactional data to create heat maps across the city to better understand what zones are best suited for AVs. Austin also recently partnered with Passport and Xevo to enable parking payments to be made directly through the Uconnect infotainment system within Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep® and Ram vehicles. The transactional information now available through this partnership will help city planners understand where movement of people and goods is most active, and how to re-distribute to reduce congestion.

Mobility as a Service has revolutionized the transportation industry and continues to blaze a trail in customer-centric transportation delivery. While there is still much to learn about intermodal communication, data sharing across agencies, and future modal integration, cities are already planning and preparing for the future. Most importantly, users of the service will benefit from the efficiency and time saved that MaaS provides. As MaaS innovation continues, Passport is prepared to partner with you to bring your operations into the future.