3.82 - Mobility as a Service (MaaS) in Developing Countries

Project Description

In face of the continuous trend of urbanization, in combination with tightening environmental targets, transportation systems in metropolitan areas are put under great pressure. In response, new mobility concepts have been introduced in recent years. In particular, Mobility as a Service (MaaS), that promotes a shift from private cars towards mobility being consumed as a service, gained a strong momentum. First insights from case studies on MaaS schemes and trials suggest that it enables a shift towards more sustainable transport modes. With MaaS being concentrated mostly in Europe, this PhD project explores MaaS’ potential in developing countries. The research, thereby, includes a view from the demand as well as the supply side and intends to quantify potential benefits.

The project first aimed to find evidence for the expected diffusion of MaaS in developing countries. In this context, the authors have studied international diffusion patterns of New Mobility Services (NMS) via internationalization of mobility start-ups. They show that NMS typically spring from developed lead markets (e.g., San Francisco Bay Area) and from there diffuse globally including into the developing world, through expansion or imitation (Hasselwander, Bigotte, and Fonseca, 2021). At the same time, we found that mobility start-ups increasingly aim to offer multi-modal services and thus develop into MaaS providers and that voluntary efforts contribute to the development of mobile apps in the global South (Hasselwander, Kiko, and Johnson, 2022). We also show that the corona pandemic has created a window of opportunity for transitioning to MaaS. Based on our Metro Manila case study, it was found that MaaS harbors massive opportunities for the generation and utilization of much needed data – not only for informing time-sensitive decisions for responding to such pandemics, but also for long-term transport planning and strategy building (Hasselwander et al., 2021).

During a research visit at the University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies (UP-NCTS), we analyzed the willingness to adopt MaaS through binary probit models (Hasselwander et al., 2022a). Our results show that the vast majority (84%) of respondents of an online survey (N=238) would likely use a MaaS app and that potential MaaS users (61%) would increase the use of public transport. It was found that MaaS mainly leverages on multimodal travel behavior and increased use of transport apps. The statistical models further indicate that the main adoption reasons are users’ expectations of cheaper and more reliable service. In another study (Hasselwander et al., 2022b), we aimed at identifying how users in Metro Manila can benefit from MaaS. Considering that one of the main components of MaaS relates to transport integration, we calculated how transit accessibility may change under MaaS. The results indicate that the integration of paratransit (i.e., jeepneys) into the transit network could almost triple accessibility from 23.9 % to 65.0 %. The integration of micro-mobility (i.e., e-scooter and bicycles) as a feeder mode could further boost this share significantly (to 97.9 % and 99.9 %, respectively). This suggests that under MaaS, areas that are underserved by public transport could be connected to the transit network, which is a promising way to address latent demand and compensate for lacking transport infrastructure.

In conclusion, this research project unfolds the existing demand for MaaS and highlights that MaaS is likely to gain traction in the global South, especially in dense urban areas. It identified potential users and how they could benefit from an integrated transport system under MaaS. Furthermore, this work provides a comprehensive discussion of required policies and points out promising lines of future research.

So far, this research project has produced four peer-reviewed publications, while additional papers are currently under review. The work associated to this project has been presented at four international conferences (e.g., EWGT and ITS world congress) and three national conferences, and received recognitions from international organizations such as the ITF/OECD and UITP.



Hasselwander, M., Bigotte, J. F., & Fonseca, M. (2021). Understanding platform internationalisation to predict the diffusion of new mobility services. Research in Transportation Business & Management, 100765. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rtbm.2021.100765

Hasselwander, M., Tamagusko, T., Bigotte, J. F., Ferreira, A., Mejia, A., & Ferranti, E. J. (2021). Building back better: The COVID-19 pandemic and transport policy implications for a developing megacity. Sustainable Cities and Society, 69, 102864. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2021.102864

Hasselwander, M., & Bigotte, J. F. (2022). Transport Authorities and Innovation: Understanding Barriers for MaaS Implementation in the Global South. Transportation Research Procedia, 62, 475-482. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trpro.2022.02.059

Hasselwander, M., Bigotte, J. F., Antunes, A. P., & Sigua, R. G. (2022a). Towards sustainable transport in developing countries: Preliminary findings on the demand for mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) in Metro Manila. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 155, 501-518. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tra.2021.11.024

Hasselwander, M., Nieland, S., Dematera-Contreras, K., & Goletz, M. (2022b, May 18-20). MaaS for the masses: Potential transit accessibility gains and required policies under Mobility-as-a-Service. International Making Cities Livable (IMCL 2022) Conference, Paris, France. 

Hasselwander, M., Kiko, M., & Johnson, T. (forthcoming). ‘There's an app for that’: How the informal sector can benefit from open data and digital civic engagement. Submitted for publication.

Research Team
  • Marc Hasselwander
  • João Bigotte
Financial Support
  • The PhD project is funded by the Portuguese Foundation of Science and Technology (FCT) with research grant PD/BD/143184/2019 under the MIT Portugal Program.

Stage of Progress

  • To be completed in 2022