Summary: How Cities are About to Change Forever and the 3 Decisions they Must Make

Changing Cities public transportation

It’s no big surprise that the changes we are seeing in technology and mobility are leading to changes in how cities are shaped, what infrastructure they require, and how they function as a whole. We are now living on the precipice of cities changing forever, but in order to keep up with this change, they must make some important decisions in regards to MaaS, electric vehicles, and autonomous vehicles.

Here, we summarize this engaging article, which discusses the 3 top decisions cities face in this phase of change.

3 Decisions Cities Must Make amongst 3 waves

wave 1: mobility as a service

This initial wave of mobility as a service (MaaS) is already being felt in urban cities around the world, and you have likely already experienced this change in the use of shared mobility services like car sharing or bike sharing. With successes like Uber and car2go at the forefront of this wave, cities also play a role as they introduce inducements to ditching the personal car.

The question here is: how heavily will cities regulate private ride-sharing companies?

MaaS changes cities in incremental, yet noticeable ways: drop-off and pick-up areas replace parking spaces at popular destinations, consumers gradually cease to think of cars as general purpose, jobs in car dealerships fall due to the decline in private sales, car maintenance, washing, and valeting increases and so on.

The key choice is for cities to decide to what extent they should restrict global players and spawn local competitors according to locally defined labor laws.

Wave 2: Electric Vehicles

While Tesla’s sales only account for less than 1% of global car sales, 29% of all cars sold in Norway in 2016 were either pure EVs or plug-in hybrids. It is expected that, as governments introduce more strict emissions legislation and manufacturers offer more affordable models, global sales of EVs will rise tremendously.

The question here is: how far will cities go to support electric vehicles?

A global integration of EVs is dependent on the support from cities, since there are obstacles to overcome, such as network overloads with high concentrations of EVs being charged at the same time. Besides creating a network of charging points, the electricity grid in most cities will require major upgrades to supply the capacity required for electric vehicles.

When EVs are adopted in significant numbers, though the change is bound to take longet to occur, national governments will be presented with a big taxation choice. After all 4% of U.K. tax revenue comes from fuel duty. As fuel consumption falls, will the tax burden be switched to electricity or road usage or a combination of both?

Wave 3: Autonomous Vehicles

Already highly anticipated, wave 3’s autonomous vehicles will change cities most significantly. And while the technological questions that have been being answered for some time are set to be solved in the next 5 or 10 years, other, perhaps more significant, questions can be answered.

The question here is: what kind of social, urban, and economic changes do we want autonomous vehicles to drive? And what do cities need to do to make that happen?

The most disruptive change is likely to be the plummeting cost of door-to-door transportation. As most driverless cars in urban areas will be provided as a service by the likes of Uber, and without a driver to pay, price per mile is likely to drop to $0.50 from $1 to $1.50 per mile.

And, with all that time during commutes being available to business or pleasure, how will AVs change the landscape or urban and sub-urban dwelling?

Cities are about to change dramatically, and the first wave of MaaS is already well under way. Read the full article here.

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