Keywords: digital platform, pricing, incentives, regulation
A key to a successful sustainable mobility offering lies in developing digital platforms. This solution raises many regulation- and competition-related questions, as well as issues for users to accept and adopt new uses and their associated tariffs.
Mobility platforms, commonly known as MaaS for Mobility-as-a-Service, aim to provide users with a threefold service: providing information on transport and associated services, suggesting optimal journeys according to different criteria (notably environmental), and pricing and payment for the chosen journey giving access to a multimodal journey. From an operational point of view, MaaS consists in providing users with a subscription-based platform, available on smartphones, to search for optimized multimodal routes (based on journey time, comfort, altitude difference, environmental impact, price, etc.), which may be public or private, individual or collective, to book and pay for them all at once. In the long term, the idea is to vary the value of monetary incentives associated with different modes of transport in real time, and therefore for the organizing authority to take action on the network’s load by encouraging users to change behavior in order to reduce their environmental impact or divert their journeys from the most congested areas. These tariff schemes need to be studied all the more since this solution raises many regulation- and competition-related questions, as well as issues for users to accept and adopt new uses and their associated tariffs. Once one or more competing private platforms are operating, they must be regulated. As with all platforms, the highest risks are these platforms establishing a dominant position on the market and the resulting abuses of this position, and collusion between operators. In both cases, the use of algorithms poses specific challenges in terms of antitrust practices. To date, the impact of algorithms on competition is still poorly assessed, both theoretically and empirically, even if recent cases of algorithmic collusion or abuse of dominant position (tariff discrimination and dynamic pricing) linked to the anti-competitive use of algorithms give some idea of the problems that could arise.
Understanding network effects is also crucial, as a platform owner may subsidize one side of the market in order to increase the platform use and tax another side of the market instead. In other words, the price structure matters in addition to the price level.
- Researchers: Philippe Gagnepain, David Martimort, Carine Staropoli
Policy paper linked with this thematic
Guillaume Dezobry, Louis de Fontenelle, Carine Staropoli – Du bon usage de la régulation du libre-service : le cas des trottinettes électrique