A woman standing at a crossroads

Four MaaS users profiles were identified in a research by MobiUs

Mobility  |  Transports  |  Mobility

Autarkic or rational? Routine or variety? 4 ways to live the road

Who are and what do typical users of new "Mobility as a Service" want? Which integrated, smart and sustainable mobility services are best suited to their needs? A survey by MobiUs, the SDA Bocconi and Mundys laboratory, tries to reveal MaaS target market profiles and needs

“I have an aversion to hypes and trends. I am not interested in trying out a shared e-scooter simply because everyone else is doing it, I only use what suits my daily mobility,” explains a millennial living between Milan and Mannheim. “I don't need a car for myself: I don't use it every day, it would be a waste of money. I think carpooling within the family or in a small community would be sustainable,” observes a peer from Vienna. What type of mobility do these two users express? It seems irrelevant, but the way we conceive of travel, combined with values such as safety, flexibility, comfort, economy and the environment makes all the difference in the daily choice of travel in a MaaS universe, and thus in the future of this new mobility.

There are the ‘autarkists’ and the ‘rationalists’, the ‘creatures of habit’ and the ‘gliders’ (‘air surfers’, ed.): in short, tell me what means you use and how, and you will know what type of MaaS ('Mobility-as-a-Service') user you are. Mobius Lab, an international research laboratory specialising in mobility trends, established from the partnership between SDA Bocconi School of Management and Mundys, has outlined some typical profiles of the user approaching today’s new mobility. A series of internationally valid MaaS traveller archetypes.

The analysis starts with seven types of MaaS services: car leasing, renting and sharing; ride hailing and mobility on demand (e.g. Uber); micro-mobility (scooter, e-scooter); route planning services (e.g. Google maps); public transport (metro, bus); urban air mobility (drones); multimodality (software developments). “Their use and the trends they have highlighted help us understand the changes taking place in mobility, where we are going, and what barriers still exist to its full development,” Laura Colm, head of the Mobius Lab Core Team, tells Infra Journal. The research, which is qualitative rather than statistical, identified four profiles in an intergenerational journey in mobility from baby boomers to Gen Z. 


Logical and pragmatic in the way they organise and conceive of their journeys as moving ‘from point A to point B’, rationalists consider vehicles first and foremost as means of transport. They also plan routine trips in advance and not at the expense of safety. They generally own their own combustion vehicle (a car), but are not fanatical about using it, even though they might use it on a daily basis.

“This typology concerns more Millennials and, somewhat surprisingly, Generation Z,” says Colm. “A very rational user who aims for efficiency, speed and simplicity without too many changes in the middle.” There are two subtypes: the ‘prudent’, who, while making pragmatic choices, focus primarily on physical and economic security, and the ‘sustainable’, who prefer to travel in an environmentally friendly manner, all things being equal.


They value their own autonomy and do not want to be dependent on others, autarkists prefer to travel alone. This is due to a need for independence and flexibility, as these users generally require adapting to changing schedules due to their dynamic lifestyle. For this reason, they are fans of open-loop journeys, which allow for different modes of outward and return travel according to emerging needs.

“Millennials and GenX take the lead, these are people with busy agendas who need flexibility, often self-employed and often women who need to move around during the day several times and by various means. For this type, the use of taxis and services such as Uber, where present, is widespread. They also often move around on foot or by transport,” explains Colm.


‘I'm a German car guy’ or ‘I'm not an underground guy’. Habitual people are extremely attached to their daily routines in all areas of life and mobility is no exception. They believe that the way they move contributes to shaping their identity and who they are in the long run. They generally see their car or vehicle as their ‘extended self’. 

“This is the category that uses transport the least and they are mainly baby boomers and Gen X, for them the car is a status, but there is an increasing tendency not to buy the vehicle but to lease it. In this the ecological transition and the lack of visibility of the coming years in terms of technology is playing a role,” she notes.


“For gliders, mobility is synonymous with interconnection, their goal is to ‘glide’ smoothly from one place to another. For this reason, mobility must provide quick and easy connections between people or between people and their targets, rather than with places,” Colm explains. They are highly digitally literate and navigate between different apps they use every day. “They are open to sharing and love means of transport such as bicycles and the metro. They are fans of public transport and mostly digital natives.”

A set of users that will shape tomorrow's mobility but which, if intercepted in the right way, can be steered towards new trends and more advanced MaaS models. “Working on perception is crucial from this perspective,” Colm concludes. Many barriers are real, such as the still great lack of infrastructures for the new mobility, but many others are the result of a kind of misinformation.” For example, the expert explains how charging stations in Italy are not as few as claimed, but in fact lead the user not to buy an electric car due to the widespread ‘fear’ that there are limits to its use. Therefore, while governments must concretely accelerate on the practical front (which is happening in particular in Asian countries), on several fronts there is a need to break down the educational limits concerning new technologies, new means and new ways of travelling in a MaaS perspective.

Sofia Fraschini - Economic-financial journalist, graduated in Sociology with a specialization in Communication and Mass media, she began her career in the Editori PerlaFinanza group where she worked for the daily Finanza & Mercati and for the weekly Borsa & Finanza specializing in public finance and financial markets, in particularly in the Energy and Construction sectors. Later, she collaborated with Lettera43, Panorama, Avvenire and LA7, as a television correspondent for the program L’Aria che Tira. Since 2013 she has been working as a collaborator for the financial editorial staff of Il Giornale and from 2020, for the monthly magazine of the Focus Risparmio di Assogestioni website.

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