Learning about the future through the MaaS program

By 13 October 2020Uncategorized

Learning about the future through the MaaS program

At the request of both public and private parties, the ministry started addressing mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) about three and a half years ago. The question of the different governments and corporate parties was what their role should be in this landscape. That’s why, last year, they launched a program, which consists of seven nationwide MaaS pilots. The goal of this program is to create an ecosystem in which every app offers as many different transportation options as possible and to learn how this impacts traveler behavior.

The market and government “took a leap of faith together” and defined a number of principles about sharing data, working together, the use of the mutual standards, and learning together. They asked different regions to create specific policy goals, based on those pillars. The overarching goal of these principles is to find out “if and how people will travel differently, smartly and more sustainably when they have more options,” says Eric Mink, Program Manager MaaS with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Based on these principles and with this research question in the back of his mind, Mink shares his vision on our current and future mobility in the Netherlands. This interview was also published in our report in June 2020: Vision on Mobility: En route to 2050.


Eric Mink - MaaS - Ministerie Infrastructuur en WaterstaatEric Mink, Program Manager MaaS with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. 

Smarter measures

Our first question is about how Mink feels about current mobility in the Netherlands. Mink: “Before the corona crisis, we were stuck, according to the transportation forecast.” He thinks that merely adding more infrastructure won’t be sufficient to handle the predicted economic growth.

He doesn’t believe, however, that simply building more infrastructure is the answer: “We have to look at smarter measures […] and that means that we, the ministry, but also the government and the sector, have to start basing our work on data, and traveler behavior, and not just on infrastructure. It’s all about the combination.” Additionally, we should prioritize other themes, such as sustainability, transportation poverty, cross-border public transportation, and traffic congestion over growth. The Ministry of I&WM is testing this with MaaS, among other things, and will cause quite the cultural change if successful, Mink predicts.


New solutions to old problems

The Ministry of I&WM also emphasizes battling congestion through infrastructure, because you have to prove that a solution leads to a certain result: “You have to be able to quantify the impact of solutions. That is much easier for traditional solutions, such as a new road that battles congestion than for the introduction of a new behavioral measure.”

He thinks that the government should have the guts to come up with new solutions for old problems and fortunately notices a new trend. For example, this cabinet opted for a “shift from an infrastructure fund to a mobility fund,” says Mink.


“We, the ministry, have to start basing our work on data and traveler behavior.”


From ownership to use

Mink thinks that in the next five years, the most important development when it comes to mobility will be the shift from ownership to use: “Nobody can predict the future, but people […] just want to be transported properly in a way that suits them and care less and less about owning a car or bike,” he states. He therefore thinks that in the next couple of years the use of shared mobility, and ride- sharing concepts will increase greatly. Additionally, he believes that there will be different MaaS apps that will adjust your travel advice according to your day planner, for example, and that will provide insight into other modes of transportation, and the impact and costs thereof, which will change our behavior. From the aggregated app data could be deduced how travelers would like to be stimulated in the case of a behavioral change. Mink hopes to gain new policy insights from new data in areas such as quality of life, sustainability, fighting traffic jams, social inclusion and accessibility of regions. He thinks that “MaaS service providers, transportation providers, and governments need to work together and that it’s paramount for a level playing field to introduce “standardization, coordination and rules” into the system. And that a business model will emerge from, that matches both public and private goals, many entrepreneurs are already very passionate about this.


Somewhere between video conferencing and teleportation

When we ask him what he thinks mobility will look like in 30 years, he states that the possibilities are almost endless. He thinks that the four scenarios of the Planbureau voor Leefomgeving (Planning Agency for Living Environment) are “a nice representation of what could happen, both in a positive and negative sense”. Also, he thinks that in 30 years, ownership will have become less important, that there will be many new forms of transportation – “maybe even forms of mobility that we can’t even imagine” – but that we will be completely taken care of during a trip.

Because by that time, we will exclusively drive and fly electrically, and maybe even per Hyperloop, we have reached the goals of the Climate Accord. He also daydreams about new forms of mobility and thinks they can vary from “simply video conferencing” to the hoverboard of Back to the Future and from Virtual Reality to teleportation. Either way, they will be initiated by creative disruptions caused by trailblazing innovation.

Some goodwill

Mink thinks that it’s “certainly possible” that our congestion problems will be solved by 2050. He does feel, however, that we first have to figure out how to break through people’s stubborn herd behavior, but thinks that with “some goodwill” it’s completely possible. The MaaS pilots that will (hopefully) start soon will provide a solution, they will provide the extra insights and proof that are needed to measure behavior and find methods to for instance better spread peak traffic. Besides, corona gave us a wake-up call. “People have now seen that things can also be different,” according to Mink, “the question now is to what extent we are prepared to keep doing things differently,” he continues. “Maybe the government also has to stimulate this, it won’t happen automatically,” he concludes.


3 lessons

2020 Data-based solution will become more important

2025 The trend from owned, to use-based mobility will increase and apps will make it easier

2050 Congestion can be resolved by deploying new mobilities and behavioral changes, possibly with a little push from the government


Read the complete report

Mobility is a comprehensive topic, not easy to oversee or predict. In order to understand how mobility will develop towards 2050, we decided to ask eleven experts from mobility providers, the government and academics about their vision on future mobility. Participants in this report are KiM, ANWB, Hely, 9292, Ministry of Infrastructure and Watermanagement, Parkbee, the Municipality of Utrecht, De Verkeersonderneming, TU Delft, Lightyear and NS.



Download - Vision on Mobility: en route to 2050

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