European Commission publishes MPMF report on Multimodal Digital Mobility Services

DG MOVE has published the report about Multimodal Digital Mobility Services (MDMS), drafted by the Multimodal Passenger Mobility Forum (MPMF) established by the EC at the end of 2021.

The POLIS Secretariat and many POLIS members are a member of this forum, whose first task entailed gathering views and making recommendations about several aspects of MDMS (also known as MaaS). DG MOVE identified three priority themes on which it sought views: three corresponding subgroups were formed and rapporteurs were appointed from among the forum members.

POLIS had the pleasure to lead the first thematic area dealing with the alignment of MaaS with SUMP goals, which itself comprised two sub-themes:

  • Mobility data for public authorities' mobility management needs (ie, B2G);
  • the Alignment of MDMS with the passenger transport authority’s (PTA’s) objectives.

The second thematic area dealt with the broader issue of ‘facilitating cooperation between mobility operators and MDMS providers’, addressing points such as mobility operator data sharing (quality, cost, and access conditions), a unique identifier for access nodes, and harmonised interface for MDMS APIs. The final subgroup addressed self-preferencing.

Sub-group 1 had a purely urban focus, more specifically the Functional Urban Area (FUA), which is the geographic scope of the daily trips of most citizens. However, the interurban/cross-border dimension arose many times during the information-gathering process, particularly when discussing with railway stakeholders.

From the outset, the need to differentiate between different types of public authorities emerged (eg, a PTA and a city authority), since they have different roles, responsibilities, and jurisdictions, but are often treated as one and the same. While the PTA, as the body responsible for procuring public transport, has been the main MaaS stakeholder to date, a role is starting to emerge for the city/regional authority, which decides on the transport policies and plans for the area, as expressed through its SUMP. However, it should be noted that in some FUAs, the PTA may have SUMP and data-gathering/analysis responsibilities.

Aligning MaaS to SUMP goals

In relation to the first sub-theme on data transferred from the MaaS provider to the public authority (B2G):

  • Most B2G data-sharing practices today are mainly of a bilateral nature between individual modal operators (eg, eScooters and buses) and public authorities. Data sharing from MaaS provider to public authority is limited due to the small size of the MaaS sector.
  • Commercial/third-party MaaS providers are wary of sharing data with PTAs due to commercial sensitivities – it views PTAs as a competitor.
  • A legal basis (at the national or EU level) should be established allowing B2G data sharing, to avoid potential problems (and lengthy negotiations) regarding the transfer of personal data and to ensure use cases are justified in terms of public interest.
  • Four data-sharing use cases emerged: planning, sustainability, avoiding fraud, and customer service.
  • It remains unclear whether a separate data-sharing channel should be created from a MaaS provider to a city authority in addition to the channel created towards the PTA.
  • Data protection is a key issue – some use cases involve the transfer of personal data – and will require special attention.
  • Views on compensating MaaS providers for sharing data are mixed and largely depend on the use case. If adopted, FRAND conditions should in any case apply.

Regarding the second sub-theme, MDMS alignment with SUMPs:

  • It is a difficult task to understand and define what it means to align MDMS with SUMP in practice, given the variety of SUMPs implemented across Europe and the fact that these are expressed with high-level sustainability KPIs.
  • There is widespread acknowledgement that public authorities need to have agency to steer the implementation of any type of new mobility-related service to ensure potential negative effects can be addressed.
  • There was near consensus on the mandatory inclusion of GHG emissions in information about trip options. However, there first needs to be a standardised method for calculating emissions.
  • There were differing views about the obligation to include active modes (walking and cycling) in MaaS offerings. Some held the view that this is a decision for the MaaS provider itself and should therefore be voluntary. The fact that few commercial MaaS services operating today include walking and cycling suggests that there is justification to go further.
  • A compromise may be to set sustainable modes as the default option and to allow users to filter results.
  • Another interesting policy measure put forward proposes that MDMS providers indicate how they are going to support a SUMP, through quantifiable indicators and self-declaration.

Want to read more?

The full report can be downloaded here.