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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Using Data to Foster Sustainable Mobility

Mobility as a Service (MaaS) can be leveraged to implemented sustainable transport strategies in urban areas. Yet this requires not only a sustainable transport agenda but also data governance that is aligned with sustainability principles. The impact of data governance on MaaS contribution to sustainability, however, has received relatively little attention so far in both academic and more practice-oriented research. In addition, no research could be found that explores the role of local contextual conditions and examines to what extent data governance is aligned with a sustainable transport strategy. 

This research aims to close this gap by (1) analysing the current state of the art, (2) developing a framework to evaluate the effectiveness of data governance to advance sustainable mobility, and (3) exploring which conditions shape data governance structures in the local context and to what extend data governance is aligned with a sustainable transport strategy. By adopting a qualitative, inductive research approach, this study aims to further build the theory that data governance of MaaS has to be informed bsustainability principles. In addition, it compares the two cases of moveBW (Stuttgart) and Jelbi (Berlin) by utilising Elinor Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development framework and conducting interviews with experts in the field.  

The results of this research reveal that, in both cases, data governance is only partially aligned with sustainability principles. Next to local contextual conditions, general themes that enable coherent data governance become clear, including close cooperation with the commission for data protection and the development of MaaS in a public-private partnership. In contrast, general themes that disable coherent data governance include a lack of regulation for data interfaces in the German context, a lack of understanding of the environmental impact of the data infrastructure, and a lack of citizen participation.  

In the context of MaaS, this study is the first attempt to analyse the novel connection between data governance and sustainable transport strategies. By doing so, this research contributes to filling a gap in the literature and recommends clear areas for future research. In addition, it highlights shortcomings in the development of MaaS that need to be addressed through close cooperation among institutions from both the private and the public sectors operating in the field of urban mobility. 


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.