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Policy Paper

Mobility Data for a Just Transition

The Case for Multimodal Platforms and Data-Driven Transportation Planning
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Executive Summary

The current, private car-based mobility system is not sustainable: it contributes to climate change, it is unjust from gender- and socio-economic perspectives, endangers health and obstructs urban space. To counteract this, mobility data offers entirely new avenues for planning, organizing, and implementing mobility and transport. This strategy paper considers two possible ways to use mobility data for improving environmental sustainability and equitable access to transportation in Germany:

1. Availability of data for better mobility management and transportation planning

Movement data generated by mobility services and GPS-enabled cell phones provides a new foundation for planning mobility compared to the previous methods of traffic counts and household surveys. Populations' mobility and traffic flows can now be tracked and analyzed across all modes of transport, including starting points and destinations, in real time. Based on this data, transportation planners and mobility managers are able to develop infrastructures and mobility services that respond better to demand. Yet staff and budget shortages prevent urban mobility managers from utilizing mobility data - even when it is available. This report offers recommendations for easier access and higher usability of data for mobility management.

2. Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)-platforms

Mobile internet access enables flexible, responsive mobility services, which include car, bike, and scooter sharing, ride-pooling, and other forms of shared mobility. MaaS-platforms connect these services and allow easyaccess to information and booking options so that users don't have to navigate a multitude of apps and accounts. They enable transfers between mobility services and other sustainable transport modes - public transit, cycling, and walking - enabling convenient, sustainable mobility without private cars. This is why, when set up with sustainability goals in mind, such platforms could be a powerful lever to help bring about a just mobility transition.

But currently, public resources are wasted on a multitude of platforms, which use incompatible data standards and integrate only a fraction of the available services.

While most commercially operated MaaS platforms can be used nationwide or beyond, they prioritize on the fleets of commercial mobility service providers, which focus on profitable inner-city areas, and hence do little to address social and environmental problems while creating the risk of mono-/oligopolies. Public mobility platforms, on the other hand, integrate public transit services and connect sharing services with the aim to provide general public utility and to reduce car traffic. Yet currently, they often only integrate a fraction of the available services.

Key recommendation

Following a pioneering phase that brought about a multitude of platforms with different levels of integration, models of cooperation, and interfaces, there is now an opportunity to pool scarce resources and exploit synergies. This report provides the following recommendations to achieve these goals in Germany:

Mandate data sharing and payment interface for private mobility service providers: Based on the EU Directive on Intelligent Transport Systems, and emulating legislation in Finland, all mobility service providers in Germany should be obligated to make static as well as dynamic information on their services available to other mobility service providers, public institutions, and for research purposes via the National Access Point. In addition, a mandatory payment interface would allow third parties to book and bill all mobility services available in Germany.

Following such a regulation, all (public and private) mobility providers could offer integrated platforms that cover all available mobility services in Germany. This would not only reduce personnel and financial expenditures in the public sector, but also enable citizens to seamlessly travel beyond the boundaries of their municipalities and

public transit systems without a private car. This approach also boosts innovation, as customers could find smaller providers more easily and all mobility service providers could develop their services with a better understanding of actual demand. In addition, the market power of platform companies would be reined in, especially if accessing mobility data via the National Access Point came with an obligation to display all available options of a given mobility mode without discrimination.

A mandatory nationwide data-sharing obligation would also support transportation planning and mobility management. Data on all local mobility service providers would be available in a uniform format, and suitable tools for evaluation could be provided consistently nationwide. It would empower municipal staff, policy makers, transportation planners, and researchers to gain a comprehensive overview over how mobility services are used locally and beyond. It would also unlock digital capabilities for small municipalities with lower levels of data literacy and weaker leverage vis-à-vis mobility service providers.

The above approaches could improve the quality and user-friendliness of mobility services in both urban and rural areas, making sustainable mobility more attractive. Used correctly, mobility data can make an important contribution to a just transition in the transportation sector.

Product details
Date of Publication
June 2023
Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung e.V.
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents

Executive Summary

  1. Introduction: Mobility Data to serve the Common Good
    1. MaaS platforms: Risk of monopolization and opportunities to centralize services
    2. Data-driven mobility management as a building block of a just mobility transition
    3. Focus and methodology
  2. Sustainability of MaaS Services
    1. Ecological sustainability
    2. Mobility and gender
    3. Services for the mobility-impaired
    4. Data protection: challenges and solutions
  3. MaaS Platforms and Use of Mobility Data by German Municipalities
    1. General conditions for MaaS platforms in Germany
    2. Mobility management: Case studies from German municipalities
  4. Proposals for Comprehensive MaaS Platforms and Optimizing Mobility Services
    1. Targeted support for sustainable MaaS applications
    2. Municipal options for traffic control and supply planning
  5. Conclusion



About the authors