The Future of Mobility
Published on Wavefront.ca on July 10, 2017.
When you think about the future of mobility, what comes to mind? If you’ve seen The Jetsons, there’s a good chance you might imagine flying cars zooming through the city at the speed of light.
While we’re not quite living in Jetson-ville, certain advancements in technology have enabled societies around the globe to adopt revolutionary solutions in transportation.
This month we sat down with the founder of movmi and expert in shared mobility solutions, Sandra Phillips, to get the scoop on the mobility landscape in cities across the world and what future trends to watch out for.
Global mobility trends spurring innovation
According to Phillips, more cities around the world are embracing change in the mobility industry every year. A number of factors contribute to this. One being the rising cost of vehicle ownership. Since a vehicle is often the most expensive asset next to owning a house, many urbanites are opting for mobility solutions that don’t require ownership. As costs for parking and fuel continue to increase, the demand for solutions to relieve these expenses also increase.
There is also the emergence of mobility as a service platform, or MAAS. These platforms work to integrate all regional mobility service offerings in one place and provide the user a high degree of personalization. For example, the recently launched Whim in Finland allows travellers to book any mode of transportation in the city through a personalized search app that provides a single point of payment.
The movement towards autonomous vehicles is also gaining traction. While Phillips forecasts that full deployment won’t happen for a few years, recent advancements are laying solid groundwork to make it a reality.
“In North America, the technology for self-driving cars may be ready in the next five years. But there is still much work to be done with regulatory frameworks and consumer adoption rates before the technology will take off,” says Phillips.
Smart cities around the world embracing shared mobility solutions
More cities are embracing innovative tech solutions to improve the quality of life of their citizens. As early adopters of the Internet of Things technologies, many smart cities are looking to adopt new mobility services.
For example in Berlin, shared mobility services have freed up land space by reducing the amount of parking required. In one instance the city has turned this free space a ‘livable road’ featuring benches and trees, creating a community meeting point in the midst of the city.
While this and other benefits like lower vehicle emissions speak for themselves, integrating shared mobility services into large cities is not without its challenges. City density plays a role in mass adoption. The right municipal policy and insurance frameworks must be in place. These two issues combined are often the biggest hurdles to getting a network off the ground.
“This ecosystem is very unique and requires a symbiotic relationship between three areas: the public sector, private sector and residents of the city must all work together to make implementation successful,” says Phillips.
Who are the global leaders in innovative mobility?
movmi’s Shared Mobility City Index (SMCI) provides insight. This annual report ranks cities in order of their suitability for setting up a shared mobility service, taking into account five factors:
- City density
- Commuting patterns
- Parking cost
- Strength of the city’s sustainability/ mobility plans
- Shared mobility competitive landscape
According to their 2017 SMCI report on North American cities, Vancouver ranks sixth on the list of the top ten with leadership in mobility solutions, coming just behind New York, Washington, DC, Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago.
“Vancouver is quite far ahead of many North American cities when it comes to the different number of shared mobility services offered. With two free-floating car services, a bike share and a decent public transportation system, the city is quite forward thinking on sustainability and how that relates to their transportation plans,” Phillips shares.
In Europe, Berlin stands out as offering city dwellers the most options, while Finland is paving the way in the MAAS industry.
movmi setting the stage for worldwide adoption
movmi is uniquely positioned to make a big impact on how shared mobility services are rolled out across many of the world’s urban centres. Spearheading the launch of companies like car2go and Evo, Phillips and the movmi team have deep expertise in building shared mobility service architecture in cities all over the world.
movmi supports operators in setting up shared services, hosts advisory workshops, and conducts ongoing research on trends and best practices. Their recently launched resource library, the Shared Mobility Portal, outlines proven tools and processes necessary for city-wide implementation, providing a wealth of knowledge to those seeking insights on success strategies.
With projects completed in Dubai, Zurich, Vienna, Seattle, Hawaii and major cities across Canada, movmi is driving change towards smarter cities and economies.