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McKinsey & Company: Building the infrastructure for the future of mobility

Our road and rail infrastructure is not ready for the future of mobility. Owners and operators should act now or risk being left behind

Our road and rail infrastructure is not ready for the future of mobility. Owners and operators should act now or risk being left behind

When it comes to infrastructure, the developed world is running on a hamster wheel. In Europe, we estimate that governments spend 50 to 70 percent of their transportation infrastructure budget on maintaining or replacing aging existing systems. These upgrades are especially complicated and expensive as running traffic needs to be maintained, sometimes requiring the construction of provisional solutions, and a variety of stakeholder interests—those of infrastructure users, neighbors, developers, and investors—need to be addressed.

urthermore, the vast majority of existing infrastructure is not ready for the future of mobility. Automation, connectivity, electrification, and shared mobility are upon us, but the road and rail infrastructure requirements to facilitate these technologies are often not considered when rebuilding individual projects. In short, there exists no integrated vision of how to equip the infrastructure of the future. To build one, we need to answer a long list of questions, such as how electricity supply will be provided to fast-charging stations on motorways, how we will provide connectivity for autonomous driving, and how we manage the integration of old and new train control systems.

To prepare for the future of mobility, operators need to leap off the revolving wheel of repair. They need to develop an understanding of the desired end state and then take a hard look at their operating models. And they need to optimize current costs, adjust financing mechanisms, develop new competencies, collaborate with regulators to facilitate policy changes, cooperate with other infrastructure stakeholders, and transform their management models to break the constant repair and slow technological cycles. Those who start now will move to a new, modern mobility system with a better user experience faster, and at a lower cost, than those who wait.

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SOURCE: McKinsey & Company

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