Mobility Breakfast #2: How can we stimulate the adoption of MaaS?
Read more by Syra Vlaanderen
On Wednesday 27 November we gathered with more than 20 mobility experts from organizations like LeasePlan, Hardt Hyperloop, Arval, Hertz, NS, Urbee, Greenwheels, Amber, ParkBee, Vervoerregio Amsterdam, Advier, Springtime, South Holland Province, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.
During our first mobility breakfast session, we discussed the future of mobility. The technological possibilities are endless, but the challenge is to bridge the gap between these possibilities and travelers’ needs. That’s why we choose to zoom in on our travel behavior during this second meeting. Together we discovered how we can influence the adoption of new mobility concepts such as mobility-as-a-service (MaaS).
Innovation in the Mobility world
Toon Zijlstra is a senior scientific researcher at the Dutch Knowledge Institute for Mobility Policy (KiM). Today, we invited him for breakfast to share insights on mobility-as-a-service from a scientific point of view. KiM conducts independent research and provides knowledge to the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW).
Toon starts his story with a definition of innovation by the Austrian economist J. Schumpeter: “Innovation is doing things differently”. A nice quote, but “doing things differently” does not really reflect in the way we commute. It is remarkable how little has changed in our travel behavior. The biggest visible difference in the graph below is that we see 66% fewer car passengers.
“Innovation is doing things differently” – J. Schumpeter
The rise of MaaS
Nevertheless, a number of innovations, according to Toon, have led to major changes in our travel behavior in recent decades. Consider the rise of the e-bike or, a much more surprising example, the cabin trolley. When the trolley emerged in the 1970s, traveling became much easier, and walking traffic in cities took a huge flight. One of the most recent developments is the emergence of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS):
“Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is about searching, booking and paying for a trip via one digital platform at various providers. Not only different providers come together within this platform, but also different modes of transport. This makes it easier to compare multiple forms of transport with regard to aspects such as travel time, costs, comfort or environmental pressure. MaaS is primarily accessible through an app.”
Research: Promising MaaS-users
The Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) concept has rapidly gained popularity. However, in the current dynamic playing field, there are still many uncertainties about the subject. That is why KiM conducted research to find out which groups in society are most likely to embrace MaaS. Because we are dealing with a service that is still being developed, this is not an easy task. KiM tested the interest in MaaS based on the most important characteristics of MaaS through the MaaS Potential Index.
Read more about the research on the early adopters of mobility as a service “MaaS”, blog.
KiM recently started a follow-up study to find out what the most promising trips for MaaS are (bike, train, car, etc.). Therefore, KiM is looking for partners to provide data on travel information and the use of innovative mobility concepts in order to discover certain patterns. Are you open to collaborating with KiM? Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find more information about the KiM and its publications at www.kimnet.nl.
Market potential of MaaS is unknown
According to the research, the ultimate MaaS user is a young, active, and travel-loving city dweller with a high level of public transport use, a high income, a high level of education, and an above-average concern for the environment. As you can imagine, there are not many Dutch people who meet all these characteristics. The profile of the most promising groups to use MaaS differs from the mass. This means the market potential of MaaS remains unknown. The KiM, therefore, warns the ministry that the MaaS pilots that are currently running are no guarantee for successful expansion to other groups.
How can we encourage behavioral change?
Given that the most promising MaaS user differs from the average Dutch person, it’s unlikely that MaaS will lead to major shifts in daily mobility within a few years. But, how can we increase the chance of success? Toon Zijlstra (KiM) mentions five factors that contribute to behavioral change (Rogers, 2003):
1. Relative advantage
Make sure to create a significant advantage compared to the current method of transport. Not only consider economic benefits for the target group, but also subjective benefits like convenience and pleasure.
Make sure to connect a new service to things people already know or use. A good example of where this was well applied is the first Birmingham station. At the time, banks had a great deal of prestige and were considered reliable. The architecture of the station has many similarities with a bank in order to gain the confidence of citizens to get on the “scary” steam train.
Birmingham Curzon Street train station (1838–1966)
It goes without saying that it is important to avoid complexity. The more complex the innovation, the greater the chance of rejection. Make your service as simple as possible for the user.
When the tea bag was introduced in the early 1900s, it was difficult to sell. The idea of tasty tea was that it is pulled directly from leaves and not from grit in a bag. So, how did the tea bag gain so much popularity? By getting people acquainted with tea in a low-threshold way and giving away the tea bags for free. The learning? Remove any thresholds to try out new services.
Finally, Toon shows that it is important to create visibility. A clearly observable innovation, such as the installation of solar panels, has a greater chance of being adopted than, for example, the introduction of smart “power management software”, even though the latter may have a greater relative advantage than the former. A current example in mobility is the visibility of the blue front tires of Swapfiets or the red cars of Greenwheels.
Workshop: Getting started with ‘UltiMaaS’
We can conclude that true innovation doesn’t just get off the ground, changing behavior takes time. What can we do ourselves to make new concepts like MaaS successful? All attendees worked on this issue during the breakfast session workshop. Led by service designers Floris Nijdam and Joy Jansen, we discussed how we can make MaaS more attractive.
The goal of the workshop was to enter into a dialogue with each other and to understand the travel behavior of different target groups. The participants were divided into three groups, using the personas: “Empty-nesters” Haron and Cynthia, 71-year-old Gerard, and 30-year-old Mirjam. To focus on the adoption of MaaS instead of the service, we assume that the “UltiMaaS” solution is already there.
We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the current travel behavior of the personas and how we can convert this into an opportunity for “UltiMaaS”. With the help of the workshop exercise below, the groups determined how they could make the service as attractive as possible for their persona.
After 1.5 hours of intensive discussions, it was time to share the initiatives with each other. The top results? The “Empty Nest” group came up with the idea to focus on the qualitative benefits of a journey for personas Haron (48) and Cynthia (46). They believed that not a seamless, but a seamfull experience could convince them to use UltiMaaS. Think of a nice route, room for a good conversation, or good food during the trip. It is not about efficiency, but about the experience.
The second group focused on persona Gerard from Amsterdam Noord. Since Gerard is not really comfortable with a smartphone, this group came up with a voice-controlled MaaS solution and a partnership with a reliable brand such as ANWB.
Finally, Mirjam’s group; is a self-assured 30-year-old woman who values status and flexibility. Arjos Bot (Arval) presented a creative solution on behalf of his group: A Platinum MaaS membership that lets you reserve your train seat, among other things. How they are going to reach Mirjam? Arjos laughs: “With Bridget MaaSland as an influencer.”
Conclusion: Make behavioral change attractive
Thanks to Toon his scientific insights and a constructive contribution from all participants during the workshop, we look back on a very inspiring morning. In order to make MaaS attractive to as many Dutch people as possible, we must first and foremost study the target groups that are not initially seen as obvious users. We hope the insights in this blog will help you stimulate the behavioral change of your users.
Mobility Breakfast sessions 2020
Next year we will continue organizing gatherings for the Mobility industry. We will delve deeper into topics such as MaaS and the role that digital plays within this service. Expect inspiring speakers and case studies from prominent mobility providers.
Do you want to stay informed about the next sessions? Please send an email to email@example.com and let us know why you would like to join. Please note that our Breakfast sessions are in Dutch.
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