Women in Shared Mobility: MaaS and Member Insights with SONJA HEIKKILÄ, KARINA TIEKSTRA and PIIA KARJALAINEN

Women in Shared Mobility - mobility as a service MaaS

This month, we interviewed women in shared mobility on the topics of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and member insights and experiences to gain more information about this rapidly changing and transforming landscape. We had the pleasure of speaking with Sonja Heikkilä of OP Financial Group, Karina Tiekstra of MyWheels and Piia Karjalainen of ERTICO. Watch the video for a summary or read their full answers below.

maas and member insights: Women in Shared Mobility

The interviewees:

Sonja Heikkilä, OP Financial Group

Sonja Heikkilä Women in Shared Mobility

What is the biggest benefit of MaaS?

MaaS makes mobility personal, meaning that it meets your personal mobility needs – in the same way your personal car does. In MaaS, the same service level can be reached with more efficient use of resources, resulting in less traffic and less environmental emissions. For the user, MaaS is hassle-free and accommodating to the user’s needs in real-time.

What is the biggest challenge for MaaS adoption and introduction?

The concept of Mobility as a Service has its foundation in ecosystem thinking. So the biggest challenge – as well as biggest potential – lies in cooperation between parties. How can MaaS be made into a viable business model and where to start?

How will MaaS change when AVs are introduced?

AVs will change mobility radically. Many questions bustle around AVs but certain is that the effect to the transport system will be huge. AVs will serve on-demand and they’ll be able to offer cheap rides door-to-door. What will be the role of public transport and other modes of transport, and what kind of MaaS services will these services together form?

Sonja Heikkilä has played a key role in developing the concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS). Today, Sonja works at OP Financial Group, where she is responsible for OP’s strategy for mobility services. Mobility services are part of OP’s new strategy of transforming from a bank to a diversified services company. Formerly, Heikkilä worked at the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation Tekes, coordinating funding and joined discussion sessions for MaaS initiatives. Sonja is constantly working towards better future with less cars, less pollution, and more freedom of mobility. Connect with Sonja here.

Karina Tiekstra, Mywheels

Karina Tiekstra Women in Shared Mobility


What is the biggest transportation challenge for an everyday citizen of your city when they move around town?

For me personally, to have enough space for cycling through the city. Amsterdam is getting very busy and our city council is not anticipating fast enough at this development. In general in Amsterdam people have a diversity in carsharing possibilities and still they are hooked on having their own car. Government should realize by now that carsharing is a key solution in creating more public space for living instead of parking cars and reducing air pollution.

How could shared mobility, or Autonomous Vehicles in the near future, solve that problem?

Shared mobility is key because is reduces the amount of cars needed without loss of mobility. One shared car saves up to 13 cars, so this is huge.

Women are slightly under-represented as members of shared mobility programs; why do you think that is and how do we change that?

Hard to say, but I think in the past mobility was always focused on traffic and setting up networks for that. Mostly the working space of engineers which often still are men. Nowadays we look at this from a different perspective and that is where the women come in.

Karina Tiekstra is Managing Director of MyWheels. Connect with her here.

Piia Karjalainen, ERTICO

Piia Karjalainen Women in Shared Mobility

What is the biggest benefit of MaaS?

MaaS is basically providing you a better everyday mobility with several options based on your own preferences – without any hassle or confusion. I truly believe that it also makes our mobility much more sustainable by increasing the use of public transport and shared mobility over private vehicles. This also makes MaaS as an attractive solution from the policy-making perspective: it is quite easy to sell to people an environmentally compliant transport system with full of choices when compared with the current policies which are often led by sticks instead of carrots, such as taxes or restrictions.

What is the biggest challenge for MaaS adoption and introduction?

Real-life MaaS implementations of MaaS show that hindrances of MaaS roll-out are not on the demand side – instead all experiences show that people love MaaS! But what may slow down the development is the lack of trust and ability to see the big picture. Traditionally transport sector has been orchestrated by the public authorities, they have dictated how the transport system should be operated. Always it hasn’t lead to the best possible solution. Now it is important to listen always the end-users first: what they really expect and how we can fulfill their needs?

I wish that one day we would have such an agile and dynamic transport system that the user no longer need to adapt his or her behavior to match to the available mobility options but mobility options would be customized according to needs and expectations of the user.

How will MaaS change when AVs are introduced?

Personally I see it mainly as a matter of your personal time. When transported by AV you are no longer committed to pay all your attention to driving. I presume that then we will see a big boom of different entertainment and value-added services integrated into MaaS offerings.

Piia Karjalainen is currently working as Senior Manager for MaaS Alliance at ERTICO – ITS Europe and passionately promoting Mobility as a Service on a daily basis. She is a Finn but now based in Brussels. She has been working her whole career in different positions related to transport mainly with transport strategies, ITS, Mobility as a Service, policymaking and EU regulation, e.g. in the European Parliament and the Finnish Ministry of Transport & Communications. She holds a Master of Science in Economics. Connect with here here.

The solutions provided by the MaaS movement are rapidly changing and improving the landscape of shared mobility and getting from point A to point B, as clearly shown by this Women in Shared Mobility series. Are you interested in being featured in our Women in Shared Mobility series? Contact us here.

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