Mobility as a service in community transport in Australia: Can it provide a sustainable future?

Corinne Mulley* (Corresponding Author), Chinh Ho, Camila Balbontin, David Hensher, Larissa Stevens, John D. Nelson, Steve Wright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is seen as a transition from mobility being satisfied by a dominant car ownership model to a service model where mobility needs are met by a multimodal suite of services. The research environment of MaaS is heavily driven by the younger generation’s travel behaviour which appears to be less dominated by car ownership (following the peak car literature) and by their interest in all things technological, particularly their smart phones. However, this paper is looking at a different but very specific segment of the population in Australia that have their accessibility provided by Community Transport (CT), focusing specifically on New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (QLD). Arguably, this population segment is the complete antithesis of the younger generation in terms of chasing technological change but in other ways, for example, a lack of access to private cars, shows some similarities.

This paper is motivated by likely changes in funding for CT providers. Currently CT providers receive a supply side subsidy but there are plans to introduce funding to be placed directly with clients, in the form of person centred funding (PCF). Clients will then have a single budget to purchase mobility along with other services they require. The paper investigates the mobility services which comprise bundles that CT clients would be willing to pay in the new era of PCF. Five participating CT providers from a cross section of operating areas recruited clients to take part in a stated choice experiment, processed by a computer assisted personal interview (CAPI). Advanced choice models are used to develop models using the behavioural data collected by the CAPI and estimates of a CT client’s willingness to pay (WTP) for the MaaS bundle are presented. WTP provides a ceiling for pricing the elements within a MaaS bundle which is an important part of the CT providers’ future strategy. The WTP estimates were much smaller than the CT providers’ unit costs of providing the service. This poses a challenge for CT providers in the creation of mobiltiy bundles which cover costs, suggesting that the possible transition to PCF using MaaS bundles will not be an easy process and will require significant education as to the cost of provision. The paper concludes with some suggestions as to how CT providers could make the transition to PCF building on the evidence of this research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-122
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research. Part A, Policy and Practice
Early online date23 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

This research of this paper has been made possible through an industry partnership grant between the Business School at the University of Sydney, Australia and the Community Transport partners. We are grateful for this support and for the support of their clients, our respondents. We are also grateful for the anonymous comments of reviewers who have enabled us to improve the paper.

Funding sources
This paper utilised research funded under the University of Sydney Business School’s Industry Partnership scheme whereby five CT providers partnered with the Business School to fund the research. The authors acknowledge the facilities, and the scientific and technical assistance of the Sydney Informatics Hub at the University of Sydney and, in particular, access to the high performance computing facility Artemis.


  • Mobility as a service
  • Community transport
  • Australia
  • Choice experiment
  • Willingness to pay


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