Personalized Mobility as a Service via Blockchain

In my last post I discussed how blockchain tech can allow the introduction of the Internet of Mobility (IoM) which IoMob see as a more open, inclusive and unlimited tool for aggregating public and private mobility services in a city.

One interesting component of what is possible with an open protocol would be a personalized MaaS models. We believe that a blockchain enabled IoM platform is uniquely capable of supporting the infinite combinations of user preferences and allowing for a personalized MaaS in a pay-as-you-go or even in a monthly service plan.

There is no doubt the emerging MaaS models are indeed exciting for users to be able to have a fixed number of public and private providers in an unlimited monthly plan and also represent a big leap forward for municipal transit authorities willing to embark on such an aggregated public-private service network.

However, we see MaaS models as being too limiting and exclusive to reach optimal service levels while unfortunately expanding the rich get richer model. What I mean by this is that MaaS models are usually built on proprietary software platforms and are closed networks run by private enterprises entering into negotiations with other public and private mobility operators. The most likely candidates for inclusion in these models are the largest mobility operators. Taxi companies, public transit operators, multinational carsharing enterprises, etc.

In a previous post, I mentioned that in Barcelona alone there are at least 51 shared mobility operators competiting against each other and the larger players for mobility user attention. Thus, MaaS models will be unlikely to embrace small innovative startups because they don´t have the critical mass of users to be able to negotiate there way into a closed MaaS network.

How about a dencentralized MaaS model (dMaaS), via an open hub, whereby any mobility operator in the region that has been validated as legal, could be viewable by any user with an app connected to the open hub? Furthermore, what if this open hub, allowed for users to develop their own personal MaaS that met their specific needs, regardless of how big the mobiltiy service provider is?

Here is a practical example. I live 10 kilometers or so from Barcelona in the lovely, walkable picturesque town of Sant Cugat.


I generally travel by bike to the regional train FGCC, park my bike there and go into Barcelona (25 minutes on the train). I usually can walk from there to my next destination but sometimes I need to either use the bikesharing system or take a taxi.

Why couldn’t I have access to a drop down menu of all of the validated mobility services (public and private) in my greater area and then choose the ones that woudl be useful for me in an average month? If the open hub network has interacted with the mobility service provider, each one could have offered one or a range of prices depending on usage for monthly access to their service. So say I picked the Sant Cugat bus service (which is only useful for people living in Sant Cugat and would not need to be available on a global Barcelona MaaS service), the FGCC commuter trains, bicing and Donkey Republic bikeshare. I could build me own customized dMaaS model for my personal mobility patterns.

Furthermore, perhaps over time, if I authorized the hub to make recommendations, it may note that I could benefit from using a local carpool service because it detected that on rainy days I don’t like to ride my bike to the train station.

Thus, an open protocol, blockhain-powered Internet of Mobility solution could allow an infinite combinations of modalities to users that would be driven by their needs, not what the single, proprietary mobilty operator has negotiated. Furthermore, because an open hub exposes all validated mobility services to all users, innovative startups, say the electric scooter sharing system ecooltra could be discoverable by all mobility users in the area and have a fighting chance at being more widely adopted.

Why this may sound like mobility utopia, we at IoMob are committed to making it a reality in a city near you very soon!

Boyd is a researcher and entrepreneur in smart, sustainable & entrepreneurial cities, He´s authored 3 books & is CEO of IoMob.