Imagine a city that not only reduces energy consumption but also improves quality of life. This utopia exists through smart cities and their innovative multimodal transportation systems. With trains, buses, light rail, ferries, walking, cycling, and more, citizens have endless options for travel.
All this can work if smart technologies and multimodal transport systems are properly combined. We are proud of our technology’s ability to optimally link a multitude of different means of transport with transport operators and organise them into a single system.
As car ownership passes its peak, urbanised millennials opt for new forms of transport, and shared and autonomous mobility kick in, a new way of commuting and travelling will emerge. Smart infrastructure and transportation will respond to real time traffic, and a network of robo-taxis, electric shuttles, e-scooters, e-bikes, and even flying taxis will carry passengers to their destinations as quickly, cheaply and greenly as possible. This will have significant consequences for society, for automotive manufacturers and for the freight transportation industry in the future, and render many of today’s business models obsolete.
Why is this happening?
Many high-income countries have passed the peak of car ownership, according to a range of indicators. Car sales globally have begun to drop, including in the US and the EU and data from the US Census Bureau shows that in 2015, for the first time on record, the proportion of households without cars has increased. Studies have found a generational aspect to this change: over the past 30 years, all age categories in the US below 50 have a seen a drop in the proportion of licensed drivers, and the age group comprised of 20-24 year olds has over 15% fewer licensed drivers.
There has also been a revolution in new forms of shared mobility, and these have a significant role to play in multimodal mobility. The most common example is ride-sharing apps, which have grown their user base to over 500 million people in a mere decade. These have eclipsed conventional taxis, especially in large cities such as London and New York.
Driverless technology is another colossal change; although development has been slower than some expectations, driverless cars can now be found trialling in a multitude of major cities, including San Francisco, London, Las Vegas and Miami amongst others. This technology has profound consequences for multi-modal transport; a variety of concepts, from robo-taxis to shuttle buses, could provide cheap and on-demand transport anywhere in a city.
Who will multimodal mobility affect?
The impact of multimodal mobility on society is hard to underestimate. There are more obvious consequences, such as cheaper travel; a significant share of the current ride-sharing costs go to the driver, which will disappear with autonomous vehicles. Travel will also become greener, due to the more efficient use of vehicles and public transport, as well as more efficient planning, with integrated city transport systems diverting commuters away from busy stations, or intelligent traffic lights shortening wait times.
Multimodal transport—in its interconnected, autonomous, electrified and shared state—is set to revolutionise how we understand transport, especially in cities.
It is time to embrace greener living.
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