The mobility landscape was already evolving rapidly, but the coronavirus outbreak and the associated health measures, lockdowns and social distancing have now made people realise that their mobility needs have changed for good. For many years the focus has been on simple, fast, convenient, affordable, safe, seamless and sustainable transportation from A to B. The search for solutions to achieve this has led to a rise in shared mobility, whether in terms of public transport, car sharing/ride sharing or even shared logistics services for freight transport. Consolidating people or goods into groups for transportation purposes is more cost efficient and also more environmentally friendly. In this blog, we provide a glimpse of where mobility is heading in 2021 and beyond by focusing on five transformative trends that will further accelerate in the post-COVID-19 economy.
The five core values of mobility
Mobility – whether for businesses or consumers – revolves around five core values: accessible, safe, sustainable, convenient and affordable. Although these five core values will remain unchanged, the ongoing advancements in technology, sensors and connectivity are affecting how they are addressed. This is now being further compounded by the coronavirus measures. For example, public transport and shared mobility solutions in particular face sizable new challenges to keep mobility safe. In addition to the current road safety measures and zero-fatalities targets, the introduction of new health & safety rules – including social distancing guidelines and face mask policies, as well as tougher disinfecting and cleaning regimes – will change the way mobility is used and managed.
The following five transformative trends will increasingly have an impact on the core values of mobility:
1 Integrated, frictionless and flexible mobility
When people think of ‘mobility’, what they actually want is frictionless and flexible travel. There is a growing need to make travel more seamless, with minimal stoppages or checkpoints. Faced with the possibility of lockdowns being reimposed in the future and the associated unpredictable fluctuations in demand, businesses and consumers alike want more flexibility. This trend is manifesting itself in many ways, including more flexible contract forms and the rise of subscription-based mobility programmes (Mobility-as-a-Service/MaaS). Other examples include mobility hubs that enable multimodal transportation, technology platforms for ticketless travel and innovations in micro-mobility (e.g. electric scooters, shared bikes) and first-mile/last-mile solutions.
2 Digital and customer-centric
Greater use of digital technology in mobility can increase throughput, improve security and help drive a better overall user experience. Examples include digital preference profiles, digital driver’s licences and biometric or facial recognition. It’s all about placing more emphasis on users’ needs and making it easier for customers to use digital transportation tools.
3 AI-augmented mobility
A mobility ecosystem enabled with artificial intelligence (AI) can harness the power of data, analytics and the cloud to help reduce travel time, manage congestion, improve regulatory compliance, support traffic control and enable dynamic policymaking.
4 Accelerating innovation
Mobility is a broad societal challenge that requires a multidisciplinary approach to make optimum use of all the available expertise. Innovation can be accelerated by building public-private partnerships to drive further advancements in safe multimodal transportation as well as autonomous and connected-vehicle technologies.
5 Policy development to ensure safe and sustainable mobility
Safety relates not only to all mobility users (i.e. passengers) but also to the mobility infrastructure, and that includes employees. After all, drivers are among the most important assets, both in public transport networks and company car fleets. They must therefore be given special protection, both as individuals and in their role as drivers. All possible efforts need to be made to ensure that safety measures implemented by governmental agencies and public transport & mobility companies are based on comprehensive impact assessments, taking account of the social, environmental and climate impact as well as the economic one.
Businesses and private individuals will increasingly demand more flexible and multimodal mobility solutions (including car, train, e-bike, scooter, etc.). Fleet and mobility companies will have to address that demand by providing digital interfaces enabling users to manage all the mobility options, anytime and anywhere. As people’s mobility needs continue to develop rapidly, more and more investment will be required to drive the necessary innovation and stimulate the usage of digital solutions such as e-payment and online mobility bookings. Technology and automation can play a key role in delivering a better customer experience, improving the quality of facilities and boosting service levels to ensure competitive, attractive and safe mobility with a long-term focus.
How Mobility Switch can help
At Mobility Switch, we are specialised in the complex dynamics of today’s – and tomorrow’s – mobility market. We can provide tailor-made advice and training and offer solutions for your specific mobility needs.