MaaS will have a thousand of different tastes (read more here), depending on the different user needs. An effective MaaS development requires that the MaaS operators of the future know these needs and offer personalised, simple and accessible mobility packages able to satisfy them.
We have tried to imagine the travel needs of Piemonte citizens and, within the BIPforMaaS project – in collaboration with the Links Foundation – we launched an online questionnaire to collect valuable information on how they travel in a non-pandemic context, on their interest in MaaS services and on their preference for mobility packages.
The questionnaire was directed to all Piemonte citizens (between October and December 2020) and received about 3,500 responses. The participants, divided by urban area (Torino, the municipalities of its metropolitan area and all the main poles of regional mobility) and extra-urban area (all other municipalities), declared that they travel mainly for work purposes, by public transport (55%) and by car (30%).
Does MaaS really matter?
YES, MaaS is perceived as interesting and useful by the majority of Piemonte citizens (51%), who declare that they already have 1-2 mobility apps installed on their smartphone, with a daily use (40%) especially to check public transport services (39%) and routes (38%). Only 26% of respondents do not consider useful a single booking app, either because they travel mainly by private car (26%), or because they are already satisfied by managing independently the combination of different means of transport (24%) or because they just use public transport (17%).
The most requested mobility service
Public transport (bus, tram, underground) appears as the most interesting mobility service, followed by micromobility, car rental and car sharing. Therefore, once again, the propensity for users to use public transport as the main means of transport is confirmed, especially in urban areas.
However, we wanted to go a step further in the survey and present different “packages” to participants, including a different mix of transport services in the offers and associating a price level. We proposed a series of comparisons in pairs, asking them to choose each time the preferred package between the two alternatives, with the aim to evaluate their appreciation for the different mobility service packages. Based on the responses received, we have then decided to distinguish the responses into two groups, depending on whether they were public transport or private cars frequent user.
From the analysis of the responses received, we found out that frequent users of public transport would prefer mobility packages consisting of all public transport services, bike sharing and micromobility, improving shared mobility services as an integration of collective transport options. Private car users, on the other hand, would rather like mobility packages that include all public transport services, car sharing and bike sharing, with car sharing service that seems therefore important for those who already use the private car.
MaaS is appealing, but what about price?
Price is clearly a key factor for choosing the mobility packages.
The results of the survey show that the usefulness perceived by users for the packages increases with the number of services offered and decreases with the price increase, confirming our expectations. However, the methodology used and the analysis of the answers allowed us to compare the perceived value and the price of the different transport and mobility services that will be part of the MaaS offer, with many confirmations and some surprises. For example, we have found that urban public transport is adequately valued by users, while extra-urban public transport is valued far below the fares actually applied. By quickly reviewing the other services, we found that the taxi / NCC service and car rental are under-valued by users, while the value attributed to car sharing, bike sharing and scooter sharing services is closer to the real prices.
In conclusion, we have understood that our citizens show great interest for a single MaaS app to book and use mobility services for their travels.
Among the MaaS features particularly appreciated by the users, we find the possibility to share the MaaS mobility packages with other family members and the possibility to pay by recharging the BIP card and according to the actual use. This last feature, which is clearly specific to the local Piedmontese context, probably suggests in more general terms that users will prefer, at least initially, to pay for the mobility services used with a preloaded purse, and then move on to forms of subscription or pre-authorization for monthly payments only at a later time.
With regard to the mobility services, local public transport (bus, tram, underground) is perceived as the most requested and desired transport service in the proposed packages, all shared mobility services seem to attract strong interest, which varies according to the different characteristics of the users, while taxi / NCC or car rental services are perceived as less fundamental, probably due to the complexity of the process or to the price level, not always accessible to everyone.
MaaS offers in Piedmont could definitely unlock their potential, relying on a territory of users already prepared and interested in an integrated and multimodal mobility offer.
Photo by Mauro Mora from Unsplash