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Lyft says that up to 90 percent of all rides in San Francisco can be shared if riders are willing to wait five minutes. Unlike the fixed-route bus system, these services can operate with minor route deviations to make journeys more convenient, and the only stops are those requested by the riders. The start-up Bridj offers point-to-point bus service in the Boston area.

Its data-science team considers everything from census data to social-media posts to figure out where a city has the biggest need for bus service. The on-demand app also optimizes pickups, drop-offs, and routing based on demand. Bridj says it has cut some Boston commute times in half compared with public transit. Bridj plans to expand to Washington, DC.

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Moovit is a free app that allows commuters in hundreds of cities to plan and monitor their public-transit trips. Moovit gives commuters a real-time snapshot of what their trip will be like and suggests the fastest, most comfortable way to get from point A to point B. BlaBlaCar connects drivers with empty seats and paying passengers to offset distance travel costs.

The Paris-based company operates in 19 countries, mostly in Europe, as well as in India and Mexico. Because personal security is an issue in many of its markets, Easy Taxi promises background checks and training for its drivers. It also takes payment over the phone—crucial in areas where just about everyone has a mobile and few have a credit card. New technologies can change behavior, and this may be happening when it comes to transport.

Privately owned vehicles

Smartphones are already ubiquitous in developed countries and are spreading fast in many middle- and lower-income ones. In developed countries, there are subtle hints that consumer preferences and behaviors are changing. Even in the United States, where the love of the car runs deep, ownership rates are declining and drivers are driving less Exhibit 5.

  • Rapid manufacturing: an industrial revolution for the digital age.
  • Approaching the tipping point;
  • International Space University.
  • Argentina (Modern World Nations).

Declines in car ownership are most pronounced for the millennial generation those born between and the mids. Surveys have found that American millennials are 16 percent less likely to commute by car to work, use public transit almost three times more often, and are 23 percent less interested in owning a car than the generation that precedes them. They are also more likely to use shared transportation services like car sharing and e-hailing.

In Germany, car-ownership rates among to year-olds have dropped sharply, from cars per 1, people in to in Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt, kba. Still, further research is needed to understand whether millennials in the West are merely delaying car ownership or whether these attitudes represent a new normal.

Moreover, there are countervailing trends. In many developing countries, such as Brazil, China, and India, the desire to own a car is strong, and ownership continues to grow. Without new policies and priorities, they are likely to follow the same path much of the developed world did in the 20th century, with similar challenges relating to pollution and traffic.

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The difference is that these markets have options and can benefit from experience, tapping into new services and technologies to cope with these issues in a timely manner. Ultimately, we need to better understand various consumer segments and their attitudes toward car ownership and mobility. Cities will not develop in parallel. The pace of transformation is going to differ; the forces at work are not the same. On that basis, there are four types of cities that are particularly worth watching when it comes to urban mobility.

In each archetype, policies, technology, consumer preferences, and business-model innovations will play out in different ways Exhibit 6. This group comprises large, prosperous cities that are densely populated, with relatively low car ownership and well-functioning public-transportation networks—places like London, New York, and Tokyo.

Many of these cities are adopting new ways to manage traffic, such as congestion charges, parking restrictions, bike lanes, and car-free zones. In addition, new mobility services are already taking off in a number of established megacities. The result is likely to be reduced reliance on individually owned vehicles—but possibly less public-transit usage in favor of more convenient private-transit options.

At the same time, though, public transit is improving, and many cities are taking action to reduce vehicle usage and ownership. Moscow is seeking to curb traffic by improving the subway and making mass transit more convenient.

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Initial efforts along these lines have already visibly reduced congestion. Better usage of space and improved connectivity could ease congestion; more EVs could mean less smog. Will this be enough? That will depend on how fast, and how deep, these measures penetrate the market. These are similar to established megacities in that they are prosperous and feature good public-transport systems.

However, they tend to be smaller think Helsinki ; they are also predominantly European, though not exclusively. These cities are making conscious efforts to shift residents toward public transit, biking, or walking. Vienna is implementing a transportation system that expands public transport and builds more bike lanes. Vancouver is investing heavily in separate bike lanes, implementing variable pricing to incentivize off-peak commuting, and promoting employment along existing transit corridors.

In both cities, these measures will reduce pollution and traffic, while improving safety and quality of life. Most large US cities, particularly those that developed in the second half of the 20th century, fall into this category. Such cities face a challenging situation. Past decisions have established a status quo that requires individual car ownership to get around, which makes fundamental change difficult. That said, heavy traffic, long commutes, and environmental concerns may be creating the conditions for people to think about alternative ways to get around.

The most disruptive potential may come from connected driving. People will not easily give up their cars, but as a result of connectivity, those who have them will drive on safer roads with smoother traffic, reducing commute times and congestion. In more immediate terms, e-hailing companies are already operating all over the United States, and services such as car sharing and on-demand shuttles, while small today, have found consumer acceptance, which is the key to getting bigger. The biggest winners in the mobility revolution will be consumers, who will have many more ways to get around—and these modes could also be cheaper and faster, with customized levels of service and convenience.

Incumbent industries should watch for significant shifts in existing profit pools as new technologies and business models gain share—witness the impact e-hailing has had on the taxi industry in some cities. This means incumbents need to craft effective strategies sooner rather than later. Moving slowly at the start and not considering the spectrum of mobility services and consumer segments could mean losing the race entirely. And there may also be unintended consequences.

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For example, while private, on-demand shuttles may encourage more people to take advantage of alternative forms of transit rather than drive to work, these services may also compete directly with public transit, eroding ridership and making public transit less economical.

Collaboration is essential in the new-mobility economy. Mobility services, for example, will need to find partners to provide the technology to power their businesses. Manufacturers will need to work with insurance firms to develop new products for autonomous vehicles. And there are times when competitors will also find it necessary to collaborate, as Lyft and Uber do when dealing with regulators. For their part, regulators may find they need to consider how to use new technologies to broaden consumer choice and improve urban environments, especially reducing congestion and pollution.

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That may require rethinking rules written for a different era and redeploying city spending that has historically tended to favor more roads and highways—a difficult task, but one that will be crucial in how fast mobility innovations get traction. One thing is certain: given rising incomes and aspirations, there will be more demand for mobility.

Today, transportation in many cities and almost all suburban and rural areas requires owning a car; other options are either insufficient or simply not available. The availability and integration of increasing types and amounts of data will substantially increase the share of trips that are multimodal. So, what will the future of urban transit be?