With 70% of the world’s population predicted to live in cities in 2050 and congestion, climate concerns and connectivity disrupting mobility, the need for improved urban travel is becoming ever more important.
A major new study of how 24,000 people travel around urban areas, conducted by Kantar TNS for strategic consultancy firm Le BIPE has revealed that the mobility landscape of the future will be fundamentally different to what we know today.
Just as Airbnb has disrupted the travel industry and Deliveroo has unsettled restaurateurs, so the most noticeable disruption to conventional methods of mobility is emerging from the tech world. It is apparent that the emergence of new technologies, over economic or environmental concerns, is driving a major shift in the way the world’s population is navigating its biggest cities and dramatically changing global attitudes towards urban mobility and expectations for the future. Almost nine out of ten urban citizens carry out essential daily travel, with 75% of them now using apps to organise or guide their journeys.
Amidst the emergence of technology, there is a simultaneous change in driving habits. In Singapore, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, London, Istanbul and Los Angeles, we are seeing the first signs of car abandonment due predominantly to cost, convenience and environmental concerns. Over a quarter of people (27%) drive less today than they did six months ago; this figure rises to 29% in Shanghai, 34% in Paris, 37% in São Paulo and 43% in Mumbai and 24% in New York. One in three non-car owners also says that car ownership is an expensive hassle.
From optimising the cost or convenience of a journey to hailing taxis and ride sharing, technology is becoming central to daily travel
From optimising the cost or convenience of a journey to hailing taxis and ride-sharing, technology is becoming central to daily travel. The ability to access a ‘pay per ride’ journey with one tap on a phone app has revolutionised global mobility. 22% of people have adopted shared services as their most popular alternative to having their own car. Of these, car clubs like ZipCar are taking cities by storm; 13% of urban citizens now regularly ride-share and up to half of millennials in cities like London use e-hailing services such as Uber and Gett at least once a month.
The advent of new technology has opened up more people’s minds to different mobility solutions. In Europe, for example, the use of carpooling expanded from 22% to 29% between 2013 and 2016, while professional car sharing increased from 4% to 7%. Car manufacturers and mobility players need to plan for this to keep ahead of the curve. For the most part, automotive brands have been quick to respond to this trend, with the likes of GM, VW and Toyota all investing in ride-hailing apps. We’ve also seen several brands, including BMW, Ford and Renault, invest millions in car-sharing projects.
By 2025, ambitious investments in connected mass transit systems and non-motorised solutions will extend the urban mobility range and improve the travel experience. Automotive brands will need to offer seamless services in urban areas to meet aggressive regulatory policies and demand for mobility sharing.
Almost nine out of ten urban citizens carry out essential daily travel, with 75% of them now using apps to organise or guide their journeys
New business models will be required that encourage partnerships, foster joined up thinking and create opportunities for innovative collaboration. This has already happened to some extent with OEM car-sharing initiatives, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, the road ahead for mobility cannot be mapped out by one industry alone. The environment in which vehicle manufacturers, airlines, rail networks and public transport providers operate will be shaped by one another, as well as by policymakers, town planners, environmental campaigners and NGOs. No view of the future can be complete unless it incorporates insights from each of these groups.
The world of mobility and all its stakeholders face a future that is likely to be fundamentally different from its past, a future that will be centred on the provision of a complete and seamless range of transportation services. As people have access to an increased variety of transportation alternatives, car manufacturers will see their profits come from usership in addition to ownership. It is therefore clear that car brands, public transport networks and technology innovators need to collaborate, integrate and evolve, so that modern mobility solutions are connected, both digitally and among themselves.