Mobility as a Service: sharing rides in time of pandemics

Dr. Maurizio Catulli, Matthew Cook, Stephen Potter, Miguel Valdez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a sharing economy business model. Through smartphone apps, users request to travel between locations and the MaaS system provides access to multiple mobility services (cars, shared bicycles, train, metro, airplane) for such purposes and bills users accordingly (Kamargianni et al. 2018). MaaS has attracted considerable attention from academics and policy makers, because despite the availability of various sustainable travel approaches, transport’s environmental impacts continue to grow. As such, MaaS delivers environmental benefits by reducing single occupancy ridership, improving utilization rates and encouraging walking and cycling (Jittrapirom et al. 2017).
Proponents claim that MaaS can work as a more sustainable transport solution than private cars, because modern consumers are more likely to share vehicles than in the past and levels of car ownership are set to drop (Nicola and Behrman 2018). However, diseases associated with climate change (Leach et al. 2010) and pandemics such as Covid19 (C19) are likely to present an existential threat to MaaS and other sharing business models (Brzeski and Cocuzzo 2020). Users of MaaS may fear infection from shared transport technologies and feel that other consumers and providers may not follow rules of hygiene management. Ultimately, these issues may entrench consumer culture and practices (Schneider 1992, Gartman 2002) of personal mobility through private cars as they ensure social distancing. Indeed, electric car sharing system e-carclub saw a drop in demand for their vehicles due to C19 and had to reduce their service and bear the costs of disinfection, which affects their profitability ( 2020). This paper discusses how consumers may negotiate these issues of trust, infection and contagion in shared mobility practices and MaaS operators may better prepare for pandemics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPLATE - The 4th Product Life Times and the Environment Conference Proceedings 2021
Place of PublicationLimerick, Ireland
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Mar 2021
EventThe 4th Product Lifetimes and the Environment Conference (PLATE) - The University of Limerick , Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 26 May 202128 May 2021
Conference number: 4th


ConferenceThe 4th Product Lifetimes and the Environment Conference (PLATE)
Internet address


  • Consumer Culture
  • Consumer Practices
  • Mobility as a Service
  • Pandemics Preparedness
  • Sustainability


Dive into the research topics of 'Mobility as a Service: sharing rides in time of pandemics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this