Introducing our newest international transportation series; ‘Global Mobility.’ We firmly believe in the power of community and when it comes to mobility innovation, it’s essential that we take a look at the systems our international counterparts are implementing. We can learn so much from their success and failures. The challenges they face and what solutions they are bringing the table. In each episode of ‘Global Mobility’ we will be working alongside our intercontinental partners who will be speaking with native industry experts to give you an up-to-date look at what’s happening on the ground in each country.
Our first four episodes will be focusing on shared mobility in Brazil and will be hosted by our partner Humberto Maciel, Founder of OPTAI. In episode one, the panel of experts take a look at how the sharing economy is present within cities and discuss how it is possible to develop smart and sustainable mobility solutions for both residents and companies.
Watch the full webinar below or keep reading for a breakdown of the conversation in English. Don’t forget you can turn on auto-translated captions in this video. Simply hit the gear icon ⚙︎ then subtitles then auto-translate.
You can also check out our ‘Shared Mobility by Region’ blog posts here.
Global Mobility – Brazil: How the Sharing Economy is Present in Cities
Founding Partner of OPTAI | Parter of movmi in Brazil
Urban Mobility Specialist. Policy and Planning Director at the Ministry of Infrastructure. Co-author of ‘Urban Mobility: Concept and Planning in the Brazilian Environment.’
Founder and CEO of Joycar
How the Sharing Economy is Present in Cities
What is the shared economy?
We all live a sharing culture today for many different reasons. One reason is environmental, reducing our consumption has become an important consideration. Financial issues is another reason, the sharing economy allows us to mitigate our household budget constraints. The sharing culture is something that has come to stay and we can observe this in all sectors, not just within the area of urban mobility. For example, Co-working spaces fall within this realm. Something that has become common-place over the last few years and that has revolutionized the way we work. Other areas that are growing in popularity are shared art and even home appliances. For example, you can now rent a vacuum cleaner for the length of time you need one instead of having to purchase one for yourself.
The shared economy goes far beyond urban mobility, but we have seen its success, particularly within shared bicycles. But there is still so much more we could be doing within the space. We need to create a better structure for shared mobility and have greater dissemination. As a shared mobility company, you understand what sharing is, and there are groups in society that also understand the concept of sharing. However, we need to create a better communication strategy that will help hesitant potential users, that have never availed of the shared economy before, to better understand what it is exactly.
We need to create better definitions, for example what is the different between a rental car and a shared car? Not everyone is aware, so it’s our job to clarify this. This is hard because there are still some concepts that we are forming and consolidating and society is still learning how to deal with shared services both legally and within economic policies.
The term shared economy is also used improperly in many contexts. I like to define the shared economy as a movement formed by companies and people who are always looking for the best way to optimize the use of a product or object. The difference between a driver, for example, picking up people for a ride via an app, is that it can be defined as ‘access economy’ or ‘access savings.’ That car may not be on the street if that person hadn’t decided to drive it.
At Joycar, we optimize the product – in our case, the car – and create shared car operations. For example, we have a client that had rented 400 vehicles and each one was dedicated to one employee. They returned half of the cars to the rental agency and created a shared fleet with the remaining 200 vehicles. Today this company has 1500 employees using the same 200 shared cars. Cost reduction is all about the democratization of assets. More people accessing the same vehicles is a sustainable solution that generates a substantial reduction in the company’s carbon footprint.
The philosopher Heraclitus said ‘nothing is more permanent than the change’ and change has always existed but it was never with a speed so exponential as it has been in the last few decades. The shared economy connects strangers with common interests and needs. New technologies and innovation have allowed us to do this in an efficient way. Cities are becoming more intelligent and inclusive and the user is becoming the main focus.
Open data has become more popular and it demands the transparency of the government. Open data is one of the factors that has allowed the emergence and the expansion of our current economy. This collaborative economy is not a new idea, but it has been amplified by the widespread use of new technologies. Traditional companies are now being replaced by sharing alternatives, just think of Airbnb, Uber, Zipcar etc. During the pandemic when the scenario arose where minimal personal contact was encouraged, the shared economy increased, for example delivery services were considered essential services, however the need for ride share services and carshare services decreased dramatically.
The sharing economy can be beneficial for MaaS transportation, for example, I can jump in a Uber to take me to the nearest train station, but then why should I not just use the Uber to take me to my final destination. I cannot say if the shared economy positively or negatively effects MaaS, but it does offer a more integrated transportation network and choice for users. However, during the pandemic, people who did not use shared services before, are now doing so, for example bike share. Take a look a Paris, it has now before the 15 minute city due to the decreased number of cars allowed on the streets and an increase in bike lane infrastructure. Owning a private car, especially for young people, is becoming a thing of the past. Owning a private car is now almost frowned upon.
The biggest regulatory changes for shared mobility happened back in 2012, when the National Policy of Urban Mobility was established. Constitutionally, cities are responsible for legislating urban mobility services and the municipal government is the one that knows what is best for their particular area. Why? Because there are 5,570 cities in Brazil, each completely different from the other. Whereas the Federal powers sets the guidelines for this legislation, for example reduction of environmental impact, social inclusion etc. Any service can be great or terrible depending on how it is planned in a systemic way. It depends on the launch and marketing strategy and the learnings – who it is serving? Who it isn’t serving? etc. So the best regulatory framework in the country is the National Policy of Urban Mobility and to design a service in a systemic way, to mold something that is emerging into something that is truly efficient.
Shared mobility services can cause disorder and imbalance other mobility systems, which is the opposite of what they propose – convenience. But not everyone thinks about the public and private mobility systems together. For example, it can be the users that cause this imbalance. If everyone books an Uber instead of taking mass transit, then the roads will be congested. Ride-hailing apps are considered part of the shared economy and yet it includes thousands of vehicles on the roads, which completely disorganzies planned transportation systems. What it boils down to is the correct systemic planning, plus public and private companies working together.
I think the existence of the service, in and of itself, is already a benefit to the citizen, right? For example having a company offering a shared scooter service is good, but it has to be done in a way that is organzied and backed by a public initiative, otherwise the company will fail and won’t be sustainable from an economical point of view. There has to be a lot of investment in communication.
Predictability and balancing fleets can be solved by using the correct technology. Everyone has a computer in their pocket so we can get a lot of information about travel habits and patterns via Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. This can help us understand what solutions we need to offer, when we need to offer them and where.
The shared economy has emerged because there has been a democratization of society. Citizen participation, both in decisions of transportation and life have increased and therefore changed how we shape our society. Government no longer make sweeping executive decisions when it comes to transportation and infrastructure. As the population grows, we are becoming ever more present within our city’s decisions.
I think our democracy is still very recent and it’s something that we have to build on. In order for public and private partnerships to really work, there has to be a focus on all of society and not just particular groups. We also need to focus on those whose voices can’t be heard, such as minority groups.
The sharing economy is always changing. It also increases people’s power of choice and democratizes access to many things that people could not access before. Using technology, we now have the power to put pressure on the use of assets – like cars. I hope that we continue to evolve in this direction, because we won’t be able to live the next 30 years the way we lived the last 30 years, especially when it comes to our carbon footprint. I hope that we continue evolving our technological platforms to help anyone, anywhere in Brazil access a shared car.
Stay tuned for more episodes to come! In the meantime, you can check out some of our check out our ‘Shared Mobility by Region’ blog posts here.