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The acronym MaaS (Mobility as a service) describes a new way of moving which, to the concept of personal ownership of the vehicle, replaces the concept of shared mobility understood as a service to be used according to need.

Moving from a lifestyle based on owning a means of transport, in particular a car, to a lifestyle based on the concept of Mobility as a Service is not simple but considering mobility a shared service offers many advantages for the individual citizen, for society and for the environment.

MaaS: origins and characteristics

Mobility as a service is a relatively new concept which, in addition to changing the business model for the provision of transport services, promises a change in the means and methods of providing the service.

This concept was created to be applied especially in large cities, where traffic congestion and levels of air and environmental pollution have reached their peak.

Technology plays a fundamental role in making the diffusion of this business model possible, which has as its main characteristic the possibility for citizens to choose the most suitable means of transport based on the journey to be made, going from the car to the train, up to to reach buses, trams, scooters and bicycles.

Looking ahead, in fact, the user, through a single application, will have a service available on his smartphone that will allow him to plan the trip and choose which means of transport to use for each route to be taken, paying for the individual trip or taking advantage of monthly passes or unified rates for several different means of transport.

The main feature of Mobility as a Service is offering travelers solutions based on their real travel needs. To do this, it is essential to combine public transport service providers (such as buses, trams and trains) with private services such as car sharing, bike sharing or car rental services.

In this way, through a single platform, users will be able to plan their trip and pay using a single account.

The most advanced platforms must be able to show the user the different travel options with relative prices and travel times, to allow them to choose the best solution according to their needs.

Once the trip has been planned, the natural evolution of the service is to allow the user to book the means of transport directly in the App (taxi, car sharing, scooter, train) to be sure of arriving at the destination in the expected manner and time without useless waste of time.

In the long term, with a view to increasingly shared and sustainable mobility, Mobility as a Service should also allow roaming: a single application that can be used by the user to move around different cities without having to sign up for different services each time.

Customization and flexibility in the transport system is an increasingly requested feature which in recent decades has generated a growing market space and interest in MaaS from both the public and private sectors. In the private sector, many car, bicycle, scooter and bus sharing services have been created for citizens and companies.

But it is in the public sector that Mobility as a Service can be considered a real revolution, capable of connecting trains, planes, trams and buses to car sharing and bike sharing services that complete the range of customizable travel possibilities. by the user.

In Europe, the country that has made the most progress towards the concept of mobility as a service is Finland, where there are already pilot cases of MaaS. In Italy, however, the city that more than any other has believed in shared and sustainable mobility is Milan.

Although the path towards a Mobility as a Service system is still long, in Lombardy the concept of mobility as an integrated and shared service is already present: although not sharing a single platform with the railway service, E-VAI it is the first electric car sharing already available in many stations. Service E-VAI it allows not only to move within the city using ecological and shared cars, but also to travel throughout the region, combining the use of the train with that of the car and other public transport means such as trams, buses and transport services. bike sharing.

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