This form of transportation is simply perfect for a late morning trip through the city. Emissions? Zero. The car drives on battery power. For the ride home in the afternoon, I hop on public transportation – I am having the shelf delivered and the streets are already filling up with commuters. A combination of the subway and a fuel cell-powered hybrid bus takes me to one of countless electric bike-sharing stations. This personal experiment with a mobility app proves that big things are happening in the local public transportation sector. The key words here are “seamless” and “intermodal,” and they refer to the ability to complete a trip without interruptions by intelligently switching between different modes of transport.
The demand for new solutions for local transportation in urban areas is huge. Over the last few decades, the urbanization megatrend has resulted in the formation of megacities, the largest of which have more than ten million residents. And this trend has shown no sign of stopping. The residents of many major cities already suffer from the effects of the traffic chaos today. During rush hour in São Paulo (population approx. 12 million), commuters can need up to an additional two hours to get to their destination. Anyone living in the greater Los Angeles area and on the road between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. needs to plan for their trip to take 84 percent longer on average. In Bangkok, that number jumps to 118 percent longer than during off-peak times. And cars in the city cause other problems – cities need to set aside between five and 15 percent of their total space for parking. And yet drivers still spend up to 30 percent of their driving time looking for a space – which further increases congestion and emissions.
It is not so much the car in and of itself, but instead the way it is used that is reaching its limits in today’s modern metropolitan areas, says Dr. Jennifer Dungs. She is the former institute director for Mobility and Urban Systems Engineering at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO in Stuttgart: “The desire to have fun driving is going to become less important. In the future, the focus is going to be on the enjoyment of getting to your destination – and doing so seamlessly, without waiting, and in a way that perfectly meets your needs.”