Mobility-as-a-service transitions in China: Emerging policies, initiatives, platforms and MaaS implementation models

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Abstract

The concept of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is gaining increasing attention in both academic and policy discourses concerning the future of transport and mobility. The current understanding of the progress of MaaS is based on the handful of studies that have explored pilot initiatives carried out mainly in Europe and North America. In contrast, this paper extends the literature by exploring the evolution of MaaS in mainland China. It examines
how the concept of MaaS emerged in China, identifies and maps on-going MaaS initiatives and platforms across Chinese cities, and investigates the most common approaches and models of MaaS delivery. The analysis
reveals that while Chinese government policy has long discussed integrated transport, MaaS and related aspects, including ‘one-stop’ mobility services and ‘Chuixing Ji Fuwu’, which is the Chinese translation of Mobility-as-a-
Service, have only appeared in recent times. At present, 41 Chinese cities are hosting ongoing MaaS initiatives and associated platforms. These are concentrated in the developed eastern regions, in cities with high political influence and larger populations. The geography of MaaS strongly reflects the prevailing digital divide in China, implying that deliberate policy choices are needed to avert widening transport and mobility inequalities in the age of MaaS. MaaS platforms currently only provide basic information and modal/service integration and are deployed either as bespoke applications or added to existing social media and navigation applications. Two main models of MaaS delivery were identified: public-controlled model that is predominant and centered primarily on integrating existing state-run public transport services, and partnership model that is emerging in cities such as Beijing to integrate more mobility services beyond conventional public transport. The complex landscape of actors associated with the emerging public–private partnership model presents new challenges for transport governance, especially in balancing an established tradition of strong public sector control over transport on the one
hand, and the interests of the fledgling private sector mobility service providers on the other hand.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101054
JournalCase Studies on Transport Policy
Volume13
Early online date29 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Mobility-as-a-service
  • MaaS
  • Integrated transport
  • Future mobility
  • China

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures

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