University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

Mobility as a Service: sharing rides in time of pandemics

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

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProduct Life Times and the Environment
Subtitle of host publicationPLATE
Place of PublicationLimerick, Ireland
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Mar 2021
EventProduct Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE) - The University of Limerick , Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 26 May 202128 May 2021


ConferenceProduct Lifetimes and the Environment (PLATE)
Internet address


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.

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