Mobility as a Service (MaaS) – A new approach for a better commuting system in Switzerland?

The mobility needs of the Swiss workforce are changing – Within the ENSCC Smart Commuting Project, the Institute for Sustainable Development of ZHAW explores how to improve the commuting systems of tomorrow along with their project partners from Finland and Austria.

The importance of work-related travelling significantly increased during the last few years: The number of total commuters in Switzerland increased from 3.1 to 3.9 million between 2000 and 2014. That is a substantial augmentation by almost 26%. Additionally, the distances between workplace and home got longer. In 2014 the average way to work measured 14.5 km, which is 12% more than in the year 2000 (12.9 km). And this trend seems to be persistent.

Not only is the general travel demand rising, but also are needs and requirements regarding the journey itself evolving: More dynamic lifestyles, the increased digitalization throughout society and a changing work life are questioning the up-to-dateness of our current transportation systems.

The ENSCC Smart Commuting project examines the abovementioned developments and wants to find out how new types of mobility concepts, such as Mobility as a Service (MaaS), can help to resolve these challenges. The project consortium consists of ten partners in total, amongst the INE of ZHAW the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Austria and Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. Especially in Finland systems like MaaS are already in daily use and so the project can highly draw on this international collaboration.

MaaS are mostly smartphone-based systems that offer access and information to all kinds of transportation modes and services. Therefore, it becomes possible to create user-specific and tailor-made mobility offers including different types of transport.The payment is directly handled by the smartphone-app, the process and the selection of the travel options is easy and straightforward. The trip can be optimized depending on the users’ travel demands: If, for example, somebody needs to transport goods, the app will specifically suggest to take an ‘Uber’ or to use cargo-bike rental instead of public transport. Therefore, MaaS helps to meet commuters’ new needs and demands and can promote sharing services, which can also be a substantial contribution to a more sustainable transportation system.

As the ENSCC Smart Commuting project also collaborates with the Office of Mobility of the Canton of Basel-Stadt, a case study will be performed in the Basel area. We will evaluate the potential for systems like MaaS and develop implementation strategies. Thus, it is quite possible to see a rise of such new mobility offers also in Switzerland, improving your daily commute to work. Stay informed about the project on this blog, on our website or on twitter using the hashtag #ensccsmart.



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