Around 200 delegates attended the Mobility as a Service (MaaS) 2019 conference, held at the Crown Metropol and Crown Promenade Hotels in Melbourne, at the beginning of May.

The single stream one-day event covered international and local MaaS discussions and emerging technology, featuring national and international keynote speakers. Themed ‘Digital Mobility, Smart Journeys’, the program addressed one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) industry, with organisers claiming MaaS is a key contributor to smart transport and the liveability of our cities, suburbs and regional communities.

The Hon Melissa Horne MP, Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Minister for Ports and Freight, addressed the gathering, as did Sampo Hietanen. Chief Executive, MaaS Global, Finland, and Michael Hopkins, Deputy Secretary, Policy and Reform, Transport for Victoria, who spoke about the current state of play in Victoria. Delegates also heard about trials in New Zealand cities, Queenstown and Auckland.

Mr Hietanen said MaaS was currently transforming from a concept “to a movement to take back our congested cities and to radically reduce the ecological load of transportation on the planet”.

The founding CEO of MaaS Global, a fast-growing company from Finland, intends to lead the revolution to change the 10,000bn euro transportation sector. MaaS means that instead of buying a car, people buy all the transportation they need as a service package and operate it through a smart phone. MaaS Global is backed by mobility giants like Toyota, Transdev and Karsan, and has ambitious plans to establish itself in cities all over the world.

“The technology is already here. All we need to do is figure out our customers’ dream and build the services to match it,” Mr Hietanen told the conference.

A presentation provided an overview of the deployment of two MaaS pilot programs in Queenstown and Auckland, including their alignment with the broader strategic objectives of the ‘Connected Journeys’ program.

The findings of the two pilots were compared and contrasted with the outcomes of MaaS deployments elsewhere in the world, with the learnings from the two pilot projects and related initiatives such as the rollout of ‘next generation’ transit payment solutions across New Zealand, to inform the next step in the MaaS strategy.

Ishra Baksh, Executive Director, Mobility as a Service Program Management Office, Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), Queensland, Australia, also spoke at the conference and said TMR has taken a multi-pronged approach to discovering the role of MaaS in Queensland.

“Current trends in ITS, big data and the shared economy present exciting options for the future of transport. AVs, EVs, CAVs, apps, shared fleets, P2P, B2B,” Ms Baksh said.

“It’s all very exciting and TMR want to be leaders and enablers of this change. It can be tempting and easy, in a quest to be seen at the forefront of technology, to implement solutions offered by these developments without properly investigating the problem. However, TMR has taken a multi-pronged approach to discovering the role of Mobility as a Service in Queensland and the case for change.”

Ms Baksh said TMR was working to understand the changing transport landscape, the mobility issues that individuals face and how MaaS could provide more end-to-end personalised and seamless transport options. She presented TMR’s MaaS Implementation Roadmap and provided an overview of MaaS proofs of concept.

Plans are under way to continue the discussion in 2020, with MaaS 2020 being planned for Sydney around August 2020.

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