The Government should take an active and direct lead in supporting the development of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), or risk unintended negative consequences, MPs have warned.
MaaS aims to allow people to plan, book and pay for their travel across public, shared and private transport using a smartphone or other device.
The Transport Select Committee said pilot schemes had suggested the possibility of substantial benefits including reduced road congestion, improved air quality, healthier travel choices, increased efficiency in transport networks and more effective management of transport demand.
However allowing schemes to develop in an uncontrolled way, ‘risks unintended negative consequences such as increasing congestion and exacerbating digital and social exclusion’.
The MPs suggested Department for Transport (DfT) must now play a more active part by supporting and funding a variety of MaaS projects.
The MPs said there is a key role for Government to review and update current guidelines, codes of practice and regulations covering the provision of transport services so that MaaS schemes are properly accommodated within the regulatory framework.
Benefits of MaaS could be spread far wider if part of the development of policy and strategy across Government, working alongside existing work such as the Clean Air Strategy; the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy; the promotion and development of electric and connected and autonomous vehicles and the Future of Mobility challenge.
Committee chair Lilian Greenwood MP said: ‘It’s essential that Government has the bigger picture on developing schemes and the maximum potential is achieved. Possible benefits such as cutting congestion on our roads and cleaner air fit in with many of the Government’s current objectives including proposals to promote cycling and walking.
‘The Committee believes MaaS should now feature more prominently in the Department for Transport’s future plans.’
She added: ‘Now is the time for ministers to take charge and start supporting and funding current and future pilot projects. MaaS could revolutionise the way in which people travel.’
MPs said passengers’ interests must be protected when they are making multi-modal journeys, in case of accident or failure in service, and their financial interests must not be harmed as the MaaS market grows.
MPs also called for effective sharing of data between transport operators and MaaS platform providers, albeit in a way that is ‘consistent with their respective commercial interests and the protection of passengers' personal data’.