Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a concept that is about to change the whole transport network in all its forms. MaaS utilizes the already existing physical transport network; bus, tram, metro, car sharing, city bike, Uber, and everything in between, to tailor the route in the most user friendly way.
Shape Helsinki worked with the pioneering MaaS operator, MaaS Global, as they built Whim, the world’s first MaaS service that revolutionises the way we move. MaaS Global had been researching the idea for a while already and it was clear we needed to take a very complex concept and form it into easily approachable product, putting the experience first.
Mobility is facing a massive change: user preference is moving from vehicle ownership to vehicle usage. Owning a car is no longer an obvious or even interesting choice. New business models (vehicle sharing, car pooling) drive re-allocation of street space for more creative and user-centric urban planning. Whim offers “mobility on demand”: a service that understands the real-time mobility needs of the users and respectively offers the best available options in real-time.
To better understand the requirements of both the stakeholders and end-users we carried out co-creation workshops, interviews with key personnel and several rounds of prototype validations. We mapped the different customer journeys from trip planning to post-trip services in order to identify the most crucial needs, wants and pain points of our users. The main pain points were prioritised for the first release, and the “nice to have” features like getting suggestions based on your social network or combining grocery deliveries with your trip home were left for a later stage.
Whim evaluates transportation and routes both against personal preferences of the user (time, environmental values, budget etc.) as well as against possible other constraints (traffic jams, bad weather etc.) before offering the best solution.
With a monthly subscription the user can forget about buying numerous tickets and making separate payments. Anything inconvenient for the user (like the complexity of combining different operators) is handled under the hood and the user is left with a “Platinum Card” for all transportation. Just enter your destination and you’re good to go!
And the more you use Whim, the more it learns about your preferences and the better it gets. It remembers your favourite places, syncs with your calendar and plans your journeys in advance.
Our solution also owes its existence to new technology. The use of open and free to use public transport data helped us carry out an information service with physical transportation products, rather than a transportation product with additional services. Making use of the open data city ‘platform’ helped us accomplish a more seamless, flexible and always up to date product.
Conquering the world
Whim utilizes a concept that can be applied in all local conditions; it always builds on top of the existing transport network. It shifts the emphasis away from construction and maintenance of transport networks towards effectively functioning, user friendly travel and transportation. The shift away from mass car ownership can also help make cities more densely populated, more efficient and more liveable.
Thanks to Whim, Finland now hosts the first MaaS ecosystem in the world. The country’s current legislation also already allows the use of automated vehicles in road traffic. Finland is a small market but an excellent pilot. Whim aims to grow in 2-3 additional areas by the end of 2017 and have global availability (50+ cities) by 2022.
Working with Shape Helsinki helped us facilitate the design in a way we weren't necessarily used to. They have a holistic approach most companies underestimate.
– Kaj Pyyhtiä, Co-Founder, Chief Customer Experience Officer, MaaS Global