Blockchain & Mobility as a Service: 5 great use cases that will disrupt how we move.
The human mobility marketplace is changing rapidly. Large public operators, private corporations as well as a wide range of new entrants are at the forefront of these developments. Together they demonstrate the huge disruptive potential to transform the way people move. Although diverse in its nature, most actors believe that the future of mobility is characterised by less ownership and more ‘as a service’ modes of transport. We at VMC aim to build the technical backbone to support and speed up this development. We consider this an important mission, since 20 to 30% of the total air pollution is caused by the mobility economy. In this article we share 5 possible new innovations that are a direct consequence of using a blockchain powered platform and will have a significant impact on how mobility is currently organised.
1 Democratisation of access to the mobility economy to facilitate innovation
At this moment, big mobility companies generate revenue using public infrastructures, while keeping their own infrastructure (and data) private. If this situation is maintained, cities and nations can never live up to the smart city ideals. An open mobility OS for smart cities would create a level playing field for mobility companies and facilitate innovation. It would lower the barrier to entry as very small mobility initiatives also have a possibility to enter the market. Competition on an open platform is about who delivers the best solution to travellers.
An open platform also means open data. Although we understand that some data is too sensitive to share with competition, governments should play a role in helping mobility companies to distribute classes of data to an open platform. Using sets of open data, developers, scientists and others would be enabled to build applications and algorithms that can solve mobility challenges in cities and nations.
2 Smart cities (and nations) are in control of their mobility challenge again
Using blockchain technology and an open platform, we can give back smart cities and nations the key to their mobility challenge. The front-end integrators who try to claim a share of the market with merely a payment applications, exclude cities and governments from (their) mobility economy.
Using an open platform, we can connect all the different stakeholders in smart cities (insurance companies, governments, electricity providers, etc). As a consequence, city officials can have direct access to distribute incentives to have real time influence on how people (and goods) move around a city. Using real time traffic data, cities can (for example) build self learning algorithms that would distribute these incentives in an increasingly effective way; To provide a real time solution to a traffic jam, cities can distribute incentives in the form of travel tokens to reward people to take a shared bike or public transport.
3 Tailor made, interoperable user experiences
An obvious downside front-end payment integrators is that mobility companies lose the relationship with their clients, all well as giving valuable (often very private) data to a third party. Using an open software based solution for smart payments, means that mobility companies work on a shared ledger, accepting the same travel token. This would give mobility companies and developers the freedom to build unique applications, delivering a great experience and building smart (local) solutions. For people it would mean that they can use one application to use anywhere in the world for all their mobility needs. The competition between applications is based on who delivers the best service.
4 Smart contracts to facilitate cooperation
There are numerous players active in the current mobility economy. Because of the lack of a shared platform, there is also a lack of trust and cooperation. Even if there is a willingness to cooperate, the costs of cooperation are relatively high. Implementing contractual agreements using “smart contracts”, would mean a fraud and cheat protected system to collaborate.
For example; if a large mobility companies would like to work with subcontractors, they do not have to send invoices and wait for payments anymore. Instead, they have the guarantee of a direct payment.
Another use case would be where micro-mobility companies and public transport companies cooperate. The micro mobility company can offer the first/last mile solution, deliver a traveller to a bus. The bus company can distribute a reward for delivering this traveller to the bus. Everybody wins: the bus company has more travellers, micro-mobility companies generate more income and travellers have more reasons not to use a car anymore.
5 No more expensive and complex check-in terminals.
Last, but certainly not least, one of the consequences of online validation of transactions is that there is no need anymore for complex and expensive offline transaction validators. In the very near future, payment cards will become obsolete. This will not only be a dramatic cost reduction for mobility companies. It also means that it there would be no need to rebuild old access gates to allow digital payments. Using online validation would in some cases (especially metro stations) mean that only a unique QR code on a gate is sufficient. Because we can dramatically lower the cost of connecting vehicles, we also offer lesser developed nations a quick and easy way to move from cash to cashless.