Opportunities and risks of mobility servicesMaaS and the concept of a sharing economy suggest a more efficient and environmentally friendly use of resources. For Japan, such efficiency gains appear to be a means to cope with an aging society and depopulation in its rural areas. Seeing this potential in MaaS, the government’s “Smart Mobility Challenge” subsidizes pilot projects targeting regional mobility issues with technological approaches. On-demand services backed by artificial intelligence (AI) could mitigate diminishing bus lines, for example.
Sharing services have been particularly embraced in urban areas by local governments and consumers alike, but they still receive their fair share of skepticism and regulation. For years, Japanese authorities have been tackling the problem of abandoned bicycles. Accordingly, bicycle-sharing services must ensure their users park bikes at designated places. The same applies to the few e-scooter sharing companies participating in government-sanctioned field experiments in some larger cities. The e-scooter sharing industry is still being evaluated with debate over the appropriate maximum speed, lane usage, and helmet use. Sharing a car ride is yet a different issue.