A key concern in surrounding the application of Mobility as a Service transportation solutions is resolving trust issues in the multi-party chain transactions which compose the core of the MaaS concept. This concern has recently become apparent in discussions around the new transport code regulations in Finland which require all transportation operators to enable open interaction with their systems. With transport operators concerned that they will be held liable for missed connections further down the line that result in unsatisfied customers and additional expenses, MaaS developers and legislators are actively seeking solutions that will strengthen the reliability of these systems and institute clearly defined trust-chains within them.

A recent article at Disruption delved into the potential for blockchain technology to serve as a solution for such trust-chain management issues. Utilizing the technology most widely recognized as the technology behind securing transactions in Bitcoin exchanges, the article suggests that MaaS systems could overcome the challenges posed by unifying disparate, often closed systems while ensuring safe, reliable, and cost-efficient services for its users. Blockchain, Disruption suggests, could serve three important roles “recording transactions, establishing identity and establishing “smart contracts””.

These functions are already being put to use in an innovative car sharing service launched this past August by professional services firm EY. Tesseract is an integrated mobility platform which enables new models of shared vehicle ownership: “With Tesseract, single vehicles, fleets and other transport services are available on the platform. Vehicles and trips are digitally logged on the blockchain, and transactions are automatically settled between owners, operators and third-party service providers through a single-source, usage-based payment system. Ownership of the assets is flexible and can be on a full or fractional share basis.”

Services such as Tesseract, and a number of other compelling ventures profiled in Disruption’s article, offer an insight into the great potential blockchain holds for transportation systems and the hope that it could help solve the issues that dog the evolution of MaaS.

Read Disruption’s analysis of the benefits of blockchain in MaaS

Read about EY’s blockchain-enabled shared vehicle service

Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat reports on confusion and concerns among transportation operators (in Finnish)(in Finnish)

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Reframing City Districts (ReCiDi)

A research project conducted by the Universities of Turku and Tampere which aims to form a new conceptual framework which will help shape the collective identity and common vision necessary to realize the future low-carbon and sustainability targets.

Systemic Architectures for Sustainable Urban Innovation (SASUI)

An action learning and research project conducted by Aalto University and the University of Tampere which aimed to form a better understanding of the architectural requirements for successful innovation projects.