Transforming European Mobility

By Whim • December 11, 2020

On the 9th of December, the European Commission released the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy. The strategy sets out the main targets and stepping stones for greening transport in the whole union. The journey to reaching these goals does, however, remain unclear, writes MaaS Global’s Policy Lead Ida Schauman. 

At MaaS Global, we spend our days figuring out how we can compete with the private car. We know our customers expect only the best from us. They want a service that does not just tell them what modes are available, they want easy-package journeys that will get them from door to door with just a few clicks.

In the Sustainable and Smart Mobility strategy, the goal of the journey is very clear; greenhouse gas emissions from transport need to be reduced by 90% by 2050. Multimodality is given a strong role, being cemented in one of three pillars for the whole strategy. The Commission sets out several new milestones relevant to MaaS, by 2030 the Commission aims for:

  • a 100 European cities to become climate neutral.
  • seamless multimodal passenger transport to be facilitated by integrated electronic ticketing
  • high-speed rail traffic to double and at least 30 million zero-emission vehicles to be in operation on European roads.
  • scheduled collective travel of under 500 km should be carbon neutral within the EU.
  • all external costs of transport within the EU to be covered by the transport users at the latest by 2050.

While the goal is clear, the way there is by no means yet an easy package-journey. The success of the strategy will be determined by the 82 point action plan published by the Commission. Mobility is a politically inflammatory subject and the Commission will need to commit considerable political capital to make the action plan reality. Policy initiatives can easily become caught in the diverging interests of the incumbents in the market. At MaaS Global, our sincere hope is that the Commission stays focused on the interest of European citizens and on improving their access to modern, multimodal and sustainable mobility options.

For MaaS, the current challenges relate to the access to high-quality up-to-date data, the interoperability of systems and to ensuring that the market is fair by using existing applicable competition law. The main goals of regulation should be to set a framework for the industry, decrease market fragmentation and develop trust. We are very glad to see that the Commission has listened to our concerns and included these themes in the strategy.

MaaS is a significant opportunity for green growth. To seize this opportunity, services need to be able to scale quickly with low costs. For an innovation like MaaS to develop, speed is of the essence and any new regulation needs to be considered carefully. When possible, guidelines on existing regulation in relation to MaaS is better than tying up development with extensive regulatory processes.

As a first step, the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy is an ambitious document. Any strategy is, however, only as good as it’s implementation and the action plan will ultimately determine whether European mobility will indeed become sustainable, smart and resilient. For MaaS, the initiatives below will be the ones to watch.

Upcoming policy initiatives affecting MaaS: 

1. Revision of the ITS Directive, including a multimodal ticketing initiative (2021)

2. Development of a common European mobility data space (2021)

3. Review of the passenger rights framework including options for multimodal tickets (2021-2022)

4. Assessment of the need for regulatory action or a recommendation the on rights and duties of multimodal digital service providers to ensure public service contracts do not hamper data sharing and support the development of multimodal ticketing services (2022)

5. Review of the transport relevant State aid rules (2023)

Upcoming policy initiatives affecting the wider ecosystem:

1. Revision of the Urban Mobility Package of 2013 (2021)

2. Guidelines to support the safe use of micromobility devices (2021)

3. New regulatory framework to open up access to car data to mobility services (2021)

4. Assessment of need for measures to ensure a level playing field for local, on-demand passenger transport and ride-hailing platforms (2022)