Towards Mobility-as-a-Service: a cross-case analysis of public authorities' roles in the development of ICT-supported integrated mobility schemes

Automobiles have become counter-productive. Negative externalities resulting from car use have overcome the social benefits automobiles brought when initially introduced. Having shaped most contemporary transportation systems, the automobility regime is known to be hard to revert from. However, as all path-dependent systems, automobility can be subject to tipping points. Among other elements, the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have enabled the development of new solutions having the potential to support a paradigm shift. At the forefront of ICT-enabled developments, so-called ICT-supported integrated mobility schemes have emerged, encompassing smart transportation cards, Integrated Mobility Platforms and Mobility-as-a-Service, that bundle different transport offers together and aim at providing users with a mobility solution of a level of service competitive with the one provided by private cars, ultimately holding the promise of supporting a shift from vehicle ownership to mobility usership and potentially help unlatching transportation systems from the current automobility lock-in. However, most of those solutions are being proposed by the private sector, which often has different interests than the public sector. While the organization of transport usually falls under the responsibility of public actors, new governance structures are needed in order to make the most out of ICT-supported integrated mobility schemes. Hence, this thesis aims at shedding light on the role that public bodies are playing into the birth of smart cards, integrated mobility platforms and MaaS, and more specifically on the way they are governing their development. A case study strategy was employed in this thesis, where, building on grey literature and semi-structured interviews, the cases of smart cards development in London, integrated mobility platform unfolding in Vienna and Mobility-as-a-Service expansion in Helsinki served as empirical material. Based on a cross-case analysis conducted using governance and socio-technical transition literature, the main findings of this thesis are that (i) public transport authorities and state-owned railway undertakings are usually quite reluctant to ICT-supported integrated mobility schemes brought by external actors and prefer developing those by themselves and stay in control or avoid collaborating; (ii) central governments can act as true enablers by developing visions including strong quantitative targets, showing political support for those solutions, acting as matchmakers between public and private bodies, developing legislation, providing funding and steering, and using network governance to make incumbent regime actors change behaviors; (iii) city governments have a greater role to play by setting stronger quantitative-based visions and stop governing by laissez-faire; (iv) ICT-supported integrated mobility schemes should not be understood as magic bullets and must be combined with demand management policies to be truly effective. By providing thick-descriptions of the nuts and bolts of smart cards, IMP and MaaS development, this thesis contributes to the literature on transport integration, transport governance and socio-technical transitions, and contributes to practice by suggesting fourteen recommendations for public authorities interested in a sustainable and impactful development of ICT-supported integrated mobility schemes.

Finger, Matthias
Lausanne, EPFL

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 Record created 2019-03-27, last modified 2020-04-01

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