Mobility as a Service for Public-Private Partnership Networks in the Rural Context

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Remote connection:

Topic of the dissertation

Mobility as a Service for Public-Private Partnership Networks in the Rural Context

Doctoral candidate

Master of Science (Tech) Jenni Eckhardt

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management

Subject of study

Industrial Engineering and Management


Associate Professor Heikki Liimatainen, University of Tampere


Professor Harri Haapasalo, University of Oulu

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Mobility as a Service for Public-Private Partnership Networks in the Rural Context

The transport sector is undergoing a disruption affected by several trends, such as servitization, tightening environmental targets and digitalization. New mobility concepts are expected to contribute to low-carbon mobility and offer customer-oriented services. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is an emerging concept that integrates multimodal transport services on a one-stop shop principle. MaaS is usually based on public transport, which is extended with additional mobility services. However, rural areas have limited public transport, and there are also other challenges related to mobility services due to long distances, sparse population and narrow flows of people and goods.

The aim of this dissertation is to find a new approach to rural mobility and demonstrate the suitability of the MaaS concept in the rural context. The study applies a qualitative research approach and a constructive research process. Data consists mainly of semi-structured interviews and stakeholder workshops, but also user surveys of pilot cases. As a result, this thesis presents a framework for MaaS in the rural context. The framework is based on public-private partnership (PPP) and comprises business ecosystem stakeholders and their roles, as well as a business model for rural MaaS. In addition, a public-private-people partnership network is presented, which introduces people as prosumers, thus both producers and consumers, offering mobility services on a sharing economy basis. Based on the pilot cases, PPP rural MaaS utilizing demand-responsive transport (DRT) and integrating various user groups has future potential. The main benefits of PPP rural MaaS are assessed to include improved efficiency and cost savings for the public sector, reduced emissions, and improved accessibility as societal impacts, and new business opportunities in rural areas as well as improved service level for users.
Last updated: 1.3.2023