How MaaS optimizes transportation networks and dispatcher operations
Digital evolution has fundamentally altered countless industries, and that includes transportation management.
Mobility-as-a-Service (also known as Transportation-as-a-Service) is still in its early days, according to Deloitte. Nevertheless, dispatchers are warming up to it as a way to plan passenger pickup and drop-off routes more effectively and to improve operational visibility in people movement. And we’re not just referring to ridesharing. Brokers that manage trips with multiple providers, whether taxi and limo services or non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) for Medicare, also leverage centralized MaaS platforms to become more operationally proficient in several transformative ways. These include:
Streamlined trip assignments
Transport management optimization starts at the top with the broker, which typically assigns trips to a transportation provider who meets the criteria for that trip, including but not limited to:
- Service area.
- Quality of service.
A core MaaS feature is the ability to quickly, if not automatically, assign trips to the right transportation provider based on those parameters.
MaaS also helps identify trips that are cheapest for brokers and fastest for transportation providers based on factors such as projected cost and ETA. Assignments can then be distributed on-demand since trip management leverages real-time data.
Alternatively, brokers can plan routes many days in advance. And since trip statuses and provider availability are always up to date, contingency plans are easy to implement so that brokers can handle cancelations, sudden volume spikes in trips and other issues that may arise.
Route optimization and contingency planning
There are many variables in people movement, including weather conditions, unexpected traffic, cancelations, last-minute trip additions and more.
With manual route planning, drivers would typically receive hard copies of their passenger routes for that day. Of course, the routes they ended up taking would look very different than anticipated because of the unexpected factors at play. The challenge, if you’re a dispatcher, is to maintain efficiency despite the many curves in the road throughout the day. Planning around contingencies is extremely difficult when all you have is a spreadsheet, a phone and some paper documents on the driver’s end.
MaaS, on the other hand, centralizes everything in a digital format. Dispatchers can share routes with drivers via a mobile application. If anything changes, or if the dispatcher needs to adjust routes, pickups or dropoffs, the driver will receive real-time updates indicating as much on their smartphone.
In addition to making it easier to manage by exceptions, this digitally optimized routing system helps dispatchers find new opportunities for value; for instance, an NEMT driver who just dropped a passenger off at physical therapy can make runs while that patient is in his or her session and still make it back on time for the return trip.