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Limitations to the car-substitution effect of MaaS. Findings from a Belgian pilot study

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) has received widespread attention over the past couple of years amongst scholars, businesses, policymakers and mainstream media. Most coverage is oriented towards its possible gains for traveling individuals and the travel industry, while still lacking conceptual clarity and sufficient detail about its potential acceptance by the general public. This leads to varying perspectives on what MaaS precisely is and will be in the near future. In this study, we reflect upon the relationship between MaaS use and private car ownership, based on insights gained from a MaaS pilot study organized mid-2017 in Ghent (Belgium). This exploratory pilot study targeted 100 car-owning participants (i.e., Ghent University employees) and explored how these motivated people can replace or significantly reduce car use in return for a monthly mobility budget which they could spend on MaaS services. The study reveals that most respondents were apt to explore MaaS services (especially public transport and car sharing services), but a clear reduction of private car use remained difficult in a real-life setting. Despite being highly motivated to reduce car use and being given incentives, participants faced considerable difficulties in bypassing their personal car, especially for (non-repetitive) leisure trips. By drawing parallels with a similar debate in the transport literature from a couple of decades ago, we suggest that MaaS should be regarded as a complement rather than a substitution of private car use in the near future. The relationship between MaaS use and car ownership might in reality be more complex than generally acknowledged. In addressing these parallels, the paper opens up new critical questions for MaaS research in the future.
Journal: TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH PART A-POLICY AND PRACTICE
ISSN: 0965-8564
Volume: 131
Pages: 196 - 205
Publication year:2020