Shared Mobility in Rural Contexts: Organizational Insights from Five Mobility-as-a-Service Pilots in Sweden

Despite a growing interest in using Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) as a tool to address ruraltransport problems, the question of how to organize such a concept remains unanswered. To addressthis knowledge gap, this article explores organizational elements of rural MaaS pilots. The analysis,which is based on participatory observation and interviews with actors involved in five pilots in ruralareas of Sweden, reveals that the motives of the actors involved in rural MaaS both overlap with anddiverge from the frequently stated objectives of urban MaaS developments.

Both concepts centeron complementing and extending public transport, but while urban MaaS is underpinned by thefight against climate change, congestion, and local pollution, the main objective of rural MaaS is toreduce transport poverty. The analysis, moreover, illustrates that despite the geographic differences,actors involved in rural MaaS pilots face similar organizational challenges as have been reportedfrom urban MaaS developments. In both cases, actors struggle with finding their roles, mitigatinguncertainties, distributing responsibilities, and negotiating business models. Finally, the analysisfinds that rural MaaS puts higher expectations on user involvement than urban MaaS and identifiesa risk that rural MaaS developments might contribute to spatial injustice since the studied pilots onlysupported rural communities with high social capital.

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