Summary: An Integrated Perspective on the Future of Mobility

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It’s a common question and thought in our industry in regards to the future of mobility, which is exactly why we found the report entitled “An integrated perspective on the future of mobility” in collaboration between Bloomberg New Energy Finance and McKinsey to be such a critical one.

Posing the question with the obvious negatives that are a result of mobility, such as noise, congestion, and smog, the authors make it known at the benefits of current mobility and the outcome as our convenient, bustling urban landscape, stating that “a number of social, economic, and technological trends will work together to disrupt mobility, potentially creating three new urban models by 2030.”

So, what will be the future of urban mobility?

The mobility systems of the future are likely to be very different from what exists in most of the world today. The individual traveler is at the heart of this evolution, so consumers will need to be open to adopting new technologies and services. However, both the public and private sectors will have roles to play in paving the way.

The value of an integrated perspective

Key mobility trends such as electrification, shared mobility, and autonomy are about to enter the mobility market, encouraged by the fact that the costs of lithium-ion batteries have declined 65% over the last five years and are expected to continue dropping over the next decade. Currently, technology companies like nuTonomy and Zoox are testing self-driving models to provide travel with no human intervention required, to further the current car-sharing and ride-hailing services we already see at work today. 

In addition, urbanization is expected to increase average city density by 30% over the next 15 years, which results in urban planners and residents placing livability and sustainability higher on their set of priorities. 

The future of mobility in three models

Clean and Shared. For cities like Delhi, Mexico City, and Mumbai that are densely populated and experiencing rapid urbanization, poor infrastructure, interference from pedestrians, and a variety of vehicles on the road results in an inability to access self-driving vehicles. An adequate model here is to shift to cleaner transport, in the form of EVs, while reducing private car ownership, optimizing shared mobility, and expanding public transit. 

Private Autonomy. There are many cities around the world where a car is all but essential, and this will likely remain the case for the foreseeable future. This represents high costs for cities like Los Angeles, where congestion represents $23 billion spent per year. For this type of urban landscape, consumers should embrace new vehicle technologies, such as self-driving and electric vehicles, where dedicated road space can be exclusively allocated.  Car sharing and ride hailing can represent complementary options but would not replace the private car on a large scale.

Seamless Mobility. The most radical departure from what we know today, high-income cities like Chicago, Hong Kong, London, and Singapore are likely to see a door-to-door and on demand mobility system. Mobility will be available through a variety of options like self-driving, shared vehicles and high-quality public transit. EVs will become far more common, spurred by economics, consumer interest, incentives, and the creation of low-emission zones. 

“In cities from Tokyo to Vancouver, the reality of changing mobility is already apparent. More shifts are coming. These changes will allow people to travel more efficiently, more cheaply, more often, and in different ways. But the future is not set, and there is a strong role for the public and private sectors to help avoid pitfalls associated with increased congestion, air-quality concerns, and other potential negative outcomes.”

Read the full article authored by Eric Hannon, Colin McKerracher, Itamar Orlandi, and Surya Ramkumar  here.

Learn more about how cities attract different mobility solutions here.

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