Image by Paulo Silva

MaaS Defined

From Concept to Clarity

A Definition

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) will manifest differently depending on many factors.  MaaS America offers a definition of MaaS and understands that while it is not the only one, we favor a set of priorities and paths that reflect the American experience.  This means MaaS will manifest differently here than in other regions of the world.  MaaS America offers a definition as a intellectual foundation for those newly introduced to the concept.  The premise of MaaS is a simple one:

MaaS is “The delivery, through an integrated digital platform and across all available modes of transport, of seamless, infinitely adaptable, personal mobility services.”

An Ecosytem

The simple definition of an ecosystem (Wikipedia) is "a large community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in a particular area.  The living and physical components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows.  Ecosystems are of any size, but usually they are in particular places. 


Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is also an Ecosystem: a large community of specific and distinct Actors and Stakeholders in the public and private sectors coordinating to provide mobility services to the public.  Like the biological variety, MaaS ecosystem components are linked together - through data and communications technologies.  Also like nature, MaaS ecosystems are built on a framework, off of which may 'hang' any combination of service providers and business models that combine to create a sustainable suite of integrated services, and this looks something like the picture below:

MaaS Ecosystem Nov 2019.png

Levels of MaaS

Making it Relatable


The Waterfall Approach

An effective way to advocate for a concept or idea is to make it relatable.  A way to do that is to present it in a context your audience can recognize.  For technical people, MaaS comprises not one, but several steps in a process akin to waterfall project management, a sequential, linear process of project management: 1) that consists of several discrete phases; 2) where no phase begins until the prior phase is complete, and; 3) where each phase's completion is terminal—you cannot to return to a previous phase.  For the less technical among us, MaaS is more understandable and tenable if you liken it to the levels of a waterfall.  Do that, and you can present MaaS as already happening in communities now, as you will see in MaaS America's 'Levels of MaaS' section:

Levels of MaaS

Level  |  Description  |  Explanation

  • Level Zero

    • Description: This is the base level.  Relatable with today.

    • Explanation: There are account-based systems in place, individual modes of transportation already have a digitized interface and the traveler has information available online for each.

  • Level One

    • Description: ​There is a one-to-one integration between some private services.

    • Explanation: Duets of services start to develop joint offerings (e.g. tolling+car park; car+ferry, and; car park'n ride + bus services).

  • Level Two​

    • Description: ​Integrated payment and ticketing across modes of limited public and private modes of transportation services.

    • Explanation: In this level, greater integration occurs but this time between a private operator and a public transport mode of operation. Integration shows promise but other transit modes are skeptical and continue to stay aloof.

  • Level Three​

    • Description: ​Unified interface for single account used in multiple modes of transport services.

    • Explanation: Instead of having multiple channels, interface is unified across modes, providers, and services that the traveler finds necessary for trips provided by a single meta-operator through a traveler account.

  • Level Four​

    • Description: ​All modes are integrated, private and public, including routing, ticketing, and payment.

    • Explanation: Open data and standards are defined and commonly used by all transportation providers and MaaS meta-operators to provide services for Travelers.

  • Level Five

    • Description: Active artificial intelligent choices are taken based on travels preferences and near real time data for ad-hoc changes to a journey.​

    • Explanation: Based on traveler specific behavior and profiling, minimal (to no) intervention is needed by the traveler for an end-to-end journey based on the traveler’s preferences, past travel history, and filters.

  • Level Six​

    • Description: ​MaaS connects beyond mobility, interfacing with IoT’s, smart building, and smart cities.

    • Explanation: As MaaS evolves, so do other systems involved in the traveller’s day, such as smart work spaces, smart-homes, smart-cities, and general services (e.g. food, groceries, entertainment, sport, culture) to provide convenient and seamless interface with the Traveler’s ecosystem.