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Chapter 9: Smart mobility experimentation: Reflecting on a public transport authority’s convoluted journey with Mobility-as-a-Service
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Digital Systems, Mobility and Systems. (Mobilitet i transformation)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5607-1180
2022 (English)In: Experimentation for sustainable transport?: Risks, strengths, and governance implications / [ed] Kelsey Oldbury, Karolina Isaksson, Greg Marsden, Boxholm: Linnefors förlag , 2022, p. 185-201Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is an umbrella term for services that enable users to plan, book, and pay for multiple types of mobility services through a joint digital channel (Smith 2020). From late 2013 to early 2014, what is often referred to as theworld’s first MaaS pilot took place in Gothenburg, a city located in Västra Götaland, Sweden. The outcome was promising; the pilot participants appreciated the service and substituted private car use for shared and active mobility during the pilot period. Inspired by these results, the regional public transport authority (PTA) for Västra Götaland1 has since performed a suite of ex- periments to further explore the MaaS concept and to facilitate its implementation. Still, seven years later, MaaS is not available in Västra Götaland, apart from via one commercial service that integrates public transport with parking, and in a few small- scale pilots.

In this chapter, I briefly describe the PTA’s journey in relation to MaaS as I see it, and, with the benefit of hindsight, reflect on what I believe has hindered greater progress. The reason that I judge that I have something to say about this is that between 2016 and 2020 I was employed as an industrial doctoral stu- dent at the PTA. In this dual role as civil servant and aspiringresearcher, I was specifically assigned to oversee and analyse the PTA’s work on MaaS and to revise their MaaS strategy based on my insights. As I argued in my doctoral thesis from 2020, this exploratory and participatory research approach gave me a unique opportunity to acquire an empirically grounded un- derstanding of the dynamics of MaaS developments. Still, now that some time has passed and I no longer must navigate the constraints associated with my dual role at the PTA (see Smith 2017), this chapter arguably gives me an opportunity to step back and reflect more broadly on my experiences.

Given the ground-breaking but convoluted nature of the PTA’s journey with MaaS, I believe that it can be an informa- tive case for other public authorities that set out to experiment with smart mobility concepts such as MaaS. Hence, inspired by the literature on projectification and experimentation, I end the chapter by proposing what there might be to learn for public authorities. I considered the two selected strands of literature to offer a valuable frame of reference for this analysis since the former explains how the prevailing project logic within the public sector in Western countries shapes expectations on ex- periments, and the latter highlights the need to move beyond a narrow focus on scaling the outcome of isolated experiments. Researchers Torrens and von Wirth (2021) have suggested that, taken together, the two strands of literature instead propose a much wider view of how experiments can be organised and through which mechanisms they can stimulate societal transformations. This perspective helped me critically reflect on the PTA’s strategic decisions in relation to MaaS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Boxholm: Linnefors förlag , 2022. p. 185-201
Keywords [en]
Experimentation; Mobility as a Service; MaaS; Smart mobility; Public transport
National Category
Public Administration Studies Other Civil Engineering Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-60089ISBN: 978-91-88651-14-3 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-60089DiVA, id: diva2:1693283
Available from: 2022-09-06 Created: 2022-09-06 Last updated: 2023-06-02Bibliographically approved

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