On 9 February 2018, Osborne Clarke hosted the first Mobility as a Service (MaaS) workshop of the MyCorridor MaaS research consortium.

Speakers at the workshop examined the challenges and opportunities presented by the emerging MaaS concept, addressing the subject from passenger, transport provider, platform developer and transport authority perspectives.

Jeremy Godley and Marie-Claire Smith, members of the Intelligent Transport team at Osborne Clarke, provided an introduction to the legal and regulatory issues that participants should consider when developing MaaS platforms.

Key considerations include:

  • Considering a privacy impact assessment to ensure the MaaS platform complies with data protection laws from the outset – a pre-requisite for passenger trust in MaaS and a key recommendation as the General Data Protection Regulation enters into force.
  • Maintaining impartiality and transparency of journey allocation systems so that competing transport providers have assurance they will not be treated in a discriminatory manner.
  • Compliance with EU payments regulations such as the Payment Services Directive 2 (EU 2015/2366) when designing payment and/or mobile ticketing solutions.
  • The need for robust but flexible contractual frameworks to deliver the MaaS ecosystem; for example, ensuring that liability is allocated appropriately.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of open and closed systems for MaaS platforms, including balancing interoperable systems with protections for intellectual property.
  • Understanding the role of the public procurement process where MaaS solutions are driven by transport authorities.

The workshop concluded with an interactive discussion of the practical, commercial and regulatory drivers for MaaS systems. This raised a potential conundrum in that MaaS systems can both alleviate congestion in some environments while contributing to it in others. In the MyCorridor project it is hoped this will be addressed by embedding a traffic management system (TM2.0) into the platform. We recommend following the result of the MyCorridor trials scheduled over the next 18 months which will provide some of the first research in this area.

Workshop participants also broadly agreed that for a MaaS system to work it should be backed by a suitable regulatory framework – the extent of such intervention depending on the particular environment in which MaaS is delivered. In a complex urban setting, where road or rail networks are already stretched, MaaS platforms might be constrained by rules to manage scarce capacity or use price or other levers to incentivise passenger choices. Workshop participants offered a few perspectives on the balance to be struck between transport authority intervention and market driven MaaS solutions.