Public value and effective governance in MaaS

Intelligent mobility, in particular the concept of Mobility-as-a-Service, is gaining a lot of attention in the contemporary debate about the future of mobility. In this article, which draws on EMTA’s current research on MaaS, Ruud van der Ploeg, EMTA General Secretary, and Thomas Geier, EMTA Research Assistant, address the challenge of effective governance.


Intelligent mobility can be described as a combination of system thinking and the application of technology, and has produced a variety of promising concepts from Mobility-as-a-Service, to automated vehicle technology, electrification of transport and increasingly intelligent infrastructure.

The transition towards intelligent mobility is expected to reduce the overall cost of transportation and need for additional infrastructure. Silos and path dependencies in planning are expected to diminish, creating room for innovative solutions and business models that aim to service our society’s need for movement in a more intelligent and resource-conscious way. The intelligent mobility transition has the potential to become a movement with as equivalent a reach and significance as the mass adoption of motor vehicles, which is considered to be the major socio-economic transformation of the 20th century.

Assessing the challenge

Considering the potential wide-ranging consequences, it becomes crucial to understand the role of the public domain and examine what governance challenges and policy changes need to be addressed in order to comprehend the intelligent mobility transition and account for its implications. The intelligent mobility discussion is primarily producer-led by the technology sector at the moment, which may create a disconnect between the proclaimed bright future of intelligent mobility and the actions of the players pursuing the transitions. Certain players may, for example, have an interest in inducing additional individual journeys for profit generation reasons. A sense of urgency becomes furthermore apparent when considering the public domain’s historic reaction to the automobility transition in the last century. It took several decades for authorities to address the issues and profound impacts of automobility on the economy, environment and society with its negative externalities (pollution, road safety, resource and space depletion) arguably still not being accounted for properly.

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