Digital innovation from Flowbird, one of the world’s leading urban mobility systems providers, is enabling cities and transport operators on every continent to move to the new era of ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS).

MaaS is a mobility model that integrates private and public transportation services through a unified management gateway, making it easier for citizens to plan, book, access and pay for travel services through a single interface. The MaaS model offers citizens the flexibility of multiple transport options along with the ability to change travel plans at short notice while always benefiting from best value fares.

MaaS has the potential to reduce cost and increase the flexibility of transport choices for citizens; ease environmental and congestion pressures within cities by encouraging a shift away from personal car use; and embrace the generational move towards ‘subscriber’ commercial models. Hand in hand with this vision is the development of technology, and the standardisation of data sources and hubs to present a convenient and reliable user experience.

Flowbird is working with a number of cities around the world to enable the vision for MaaS to become a reality, delivering cloud-based back office systems and payment architectures, along with smart journey planning and ticketing platforms.

From a passenger perspective, Account Based Ticketing (ABT) is at the heart of the payment systems underpinning MaaS, with a Best Fare algorithm ensuring that users access the most cost-effective fares irrespective of the mode of transport and how many legs are involved. ABT provides users with absolute traceability of all transactions, while at the same time providing an audit trail to operators and authorities. This true end-to-end system provides much greater transaction security and reduces the opportunities for fraud.

“The MaaS model makes the planning, booking and payment for multimodal, multi-leg journeys seamless for citizens,” said Owen Griffith, Managing Director of Flowbird Transport Intelligence. “It is a ticketless system – there’s no need to buy a ticket in advance because travel rights are conferred through an account holder’s unique identifier. The system combines all types of transport – from bus, rail, metro, ferry and tram to shared and autonomous vehicles, taxis and bicycle hire – making travel easier than ever before.”

As part of MaaS, transport operators benefit from Flowbird’s open architecture through cost and efficiency improvements by shifting core ticketing and related functions to a secure cloud environment, reducing reliance on local ticket issue, transaction and cash handling costs, and associated infrastructure.

A key element of the platform is the company’s CloudFare back office, which provides a flexible, modular and scalable approach to the management and control of network assets and systems, including ticket retailing infrastructures.

In addition, as an authorised Payment Service Provider, Flowbird processes about 500 million electronic transactions each year through payment channels certified in numerous countries around the world.