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MaaS in Urban Tokyo

by Daisuke Miyamoto

1. What is MaaS? (1)

"Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is the integration of various forms of transport services into a single mobility service accessible on demand. To meet a customer’s request, a MaaS operator facilitates a diverse menu of transport options, be they public transport, ride-, car- or bike-sharing, taxi or car rental/lease, or a combination thereof. For the user, MaaS can offer added value through use of a single application to provide access to mobility , with a single payment channel instead of multiple ticketing and payment operations. For its users, MaaS should be the best value proposition , by helping them meet their mobility needs and solve the inconvenient parts of individual journeys as well as the entire system of mobility services.”

2. What has the concept of MaaS done?

While the MaaS concept has affected every transportation industry throughout the world, at the same time, Daimler, who is the one of car leading companies in the world, revealed their “CASE” concept at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. CASE stands for the fields of networking (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric) (2) , and will impact the car industry as well. It is said that both innovations will cause a great mobility revolution that is only seen once every 100 years since cars were first developed. Because both concepts help reduce the ownership of cars, curtail carbon dioxide emissions, encourage the use of public transportation and minimize congestion, many countries and companies have been studying MaaS and CASE in order to enlist these concepts.

3. MaaS in Japan (3)

The Japanese government has studied MaaS as well to ride the wave of its increasing popularity, and found that when MaaS is simulated in their future investment strategies, it helps the surrounding communities to achieve a high quality of life and mobilizes society by driving up the potential demand for going out. However, because there are many types of cities in Japan, and each one has several types of transportation options, it has been difficult to directly apply a single concept to every city. They have had to consider and develop a way for MaaS to be suitable for Japan, or one might say that they created a Japanese MaaS.

Finally, the Japanese government has found that there are 5 suitable types of MaaS in Japan, as follows:

a. Metropolis

b. Suburb

c. Regional city

d. Rural area

e. Tourism

These MaaS types have different goals, but the Japanese government believes that MaaS will be one of the better solutions for an aging society and expanding urbanization.

4. One MaaS Case Study in Tokyo

Tokyo Metro, one of the leading subway operators in the world, has recently launched their MaaS project (4). They called their Metropolis MaaS project “My! Tokyo MaaS." Tokyo Metro has 179 stations, 7.55 million passengers, and a 195.0 km rail network in Tokyo, so they have earned the position to be able to develop a Metropolis type of MaaS. They emphasize 3 concepts in order to add value to their rail network and service, as follows:

a. Personalized trip planning and added value

Passengers can get easier access to information for their destination, like routes to elevators in stations and paths to take to avoid getting wet when it’s raining.

b. Real-time train operation information

Passengers can, of course, get real-time transit operation information and train location information, but can also moreover get suggestions of detours in the case of an accident.

c. A more precise network

Tokyo Metro will work together with other mobility operators to enable passengers to easily access various mobility modes.

I believe that this project will assist not only commuters around urban Tokyo, but also foreign visitors. We are in severe times with COVID-19, but I believe that we can overcome it and enjoy travel again someday, of course with “My! Tokyo MaaS.”

Fig. Concept image of my! Tokyo MaaS


July 2020

Feature Article

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