Queensland Transport and Main Roads and Mott MacDonald

Design Research


Who will embrace Mobility as a Service (MaaS)?


Rideshare and electric scooters were just the beginning. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a way to understand collaborative and connected multi-modal forms of transport that go far beyond car ownership.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads see this future coming. As a forward-thinking agency, TMR asked Symplicit and international global engineering, management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald to investigate who would use emerging MaaS platforms and to uncover those people’s expectations of systems and services that don’t exist… Yet.


Symplicit and Mott MacDonald created personas to describe people who would and wouldn’t use MaaS.

Our set of seven personas shows the lifestyle factors that we predict will influence the early and ongoing use of MaaS.

For TMR, these personas are part of their early thinking about MaaS. They’ll inform policy innovation, discussions with vendors and more.

MaaS is still an emerging concept. While it’s been trialled in different places worldwide, it’s not yet found a consistent form.  

These personas complete one part of the MaaS puzzle – who is this for?


To answer the fundamental question about MaaS, “Who is it for?” we knew that a simple demographic approach wouldn’t work. Age is no barrier to using a rideshare service or an electric bike. Instead, we had to look at how getting around is part of people’s lives and how they “do” transport in much more detail. Our personas were developed from rich qualitative longitudinal research with a small cohort of carefully selected participants. By selecting participants from across South-East Queensland, who met various demographic criteria, we could make the case that we had coverage of apparent factors. Our longitudinal research approach meant we could create sufficient depth in our analysis to find the harder-to-sense lifestyle factors that mattered for how people use transport in their daily lives.

Over three successive rounds of deep analysis and synthesis, we created a unique way to describe a set of relevant lifestyle factors that richly describe transport users in South-East Queensland. We can also say that we confidently predict that some of those transport users, who have profiles we can now sense and measure, are the most likely to be the first users of MaaS when it eventually launches.

In a final round of quantitative research, Mott MacDonald worked with one of the world’s best market research agencies to run a large-scale survey based on the factors predicted in our personas. The results showed, at scale and with substantial confidence, that our personas were predictive of the combinations of lifestyle factors that are present in the population.


The team worked collaboratively with our client and project partners to create a deep understanding of a service, yet to exist. Our genuine curiosity about people drove our research and analysis. Throughout the project, we advocated for an appreciation of how rich and complex people’s lives are, and we used that richness to create compelling and innovative research outcomes.