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ON A 72 JULY/AUGUST


STREAM


SK ANY TRAVEL BUYER about ground transport and they are almost certain to roll their eyes, then tell you about how difficult it is to book through corporate tools and that technology needs to find an answer.


As one buyer puts it: “When you talk about the end-to-end journey, it’s


always the end part that’s the problem – booking ground transport is a still a pain point for us. The booking plat- forms aren’t good enough yet and the industry’s just so fragmented with so many different players.” But maybe – just maybe – technology is finally about to start removing this tricky barrier to the much-lauded frictionless business travel trip. The answer may lie in Mobility as a Service (MaaS) technology that essentially aims to consolidate all different types of ground transport – both private and public – into a single app or platform allowing travellers to choose the best way of getting from A to B, whether it be by car, train, bicycle or even a scooter. The hotbed for this particular type of transport tech-


nology revolution is not – for once – in Silicon Valley, but tucked away in northern Europe and the Finnish capital of Helsinki in particular, which is widely regarded as leading the MaaS revolution. (see box, p75)


A UTOPIAN VISION?


As a concept, MaaS represents a move away from people owning private vehicles towards a technology-based platform that allows travellers to switch between multiple different modes of ground transport, including public services such as buses and trains, depending on their journey requirements and personal preferences. In this kind of utopian vision, a company may no longer need to have its own fleet of cars for employees, or even allow staff to use their own vehicles (the so-called


2019 buyingbusinesstravel.com


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