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#MobilityLifeBalance

Mobility: Available anytime, anywhere?

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Tags: AutonomousDriving, Efficiency, #MobilityLifeBalance

Individual mobility is a costly commodity if it means owning your own car. In the future, reaching a destination using different modes of transport, should be as convenient as it is with your own car – but at a much lower cost.
Martin Westerhoff, July 01, 2019
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Martin Westerhoff studied technology journalism and writes about vehicles and technologies since then. He has a soft spot for motorsports and racing cars.
The taximeter rattles as it prints out the receipt. The nearly 25-kilometer-long trip from the Amsterdam suburb of Schiphol to the center of the city costs the art student EUR 45. The train ticket for the same trip would have cost her only EUR 5.60. But, unfortunately, she just missed the train on her way to the Rembrandt House.

The biggest expense: owning your own car

The biggest expense: owning your own car

The example from the Dutch capital demonstrates that the established modes of transport differ considerably, not only in terms of their short-term availability, but also in terms of costs. According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, private households in EU member states spend an average of 12.8 percent of their total expenditures on personal mobility. This amounts to more than EUR 1 trillion per year. The lion’s share of this figure goes to the operating and maintenance costs of owning your own car, followed by acquisition costs, and only then by transport services such as public transportation or taxis.

Intermodal mobility growing in importance

Intermodal mobility growing in importance

This indicates where we need to place our focus if we want to make mobility more affordable. Passenger cars need to find a happy medium between the legal requirements in terms of carbon dioxide and pollutant emissions and affordable road capability.
Because, after all, these vehicles will continue to be indispensable in rural areas. However, the current trend toward owning a second or third car is expected to reverse. “Households will purchase more bicycles and small vehicles rather than multiple personal vehicles. Car sharing will replace car ownership, with people switching cars more frequently; as a result, the changeover to electric drives will occur more quickly than we had thought”, says Tilman Bracher, Head of Mobility at the German Institute of Urban Affairs.
His classification outlines two major trends: On the one hand, micro-mobility – such as e-scooters – will reduce urban traffic and also be financially attractive. On the other, mobility will increasingly become a service, based on the premise of nevertheless reaching the destination comfortably, safely, and quickly. Intermodal mobility, which involves using various modes of transport on a given route, is blurring the sharp line between individual mobility and public transportation. Intelligently managed and perfectly coordinated, this new mix of transportation options should bring together all the respective benefits: making mobility as affordable as a bus or train ticket while, at the same time, making it as easily available as a taxi or your own car.
“Owning a car will be replaced by car sharing, and people will change car-sharing services more frequently.”
— Tilman Bracher, Head of Mobility at the German Institute of Urban Affairs

12.8 percent
of the total expenditure of private households within the European Union is spent on personal mobility on average.

Autonomous shuttles: saving money and reducing traffic

Autonomous shuttles: saving money and reducing traffic

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and Transport-as-a-Service (TaaS) describe all forms of passenger and goods transport that are offered as a service in the mobility mix. According to experts, offers involving autonomous vehicles have particularly great potential. The authors of a study conducted by the consulting company Berylls predict that, in the future, it will be possible to offer fully automated shuttle services at a lower cost than bus rides today. Presumably municipalities could operate these kinds of shuttles without cross-subsidization, which would not only help passengers to balance their budgets, but also the municipalities themselves. For example, the public transport system in Germany alone currently requires an annual subsidy of around EUR 5.8 billion. The study’s authors also see another major advantage: robo-taxis could significantly reduce traffic in large cities. Using Munich as an example, the Berylls advisors calculate that 18,000 robo-taxis could replace around 200,000 private passenger cars.
©ZF
Autonomous ride-hailing: passengers indicate their destination via smartphone app. A robo-taxi arrives shortly thereafter.

High acceptance anticipated for robo-taxis

High acceptance anticipated for robo-taxis

In order for these offers to be commercially successful, they require easy-to-use apps with booking and payment options. However, the cloud-based systems working in the background are becoming increasingly complex as they must be continually connected with all robo-taxis in the fleet. This is required in order to process the incoming booking requests with passenger location and desired destination in real time according to the positions, routes, and capacities of the taxis. This also keeps the overall distances traveled as short as possible and the energy consumption as low as possible for the fleet operators. The passengers benefit by being able to call a shuttle quickly.
A study carried out by the Technical University of Delft in 2018 showed that consumers are willing to use these types of offers in the future. In an international poll, a large percentage of the 7,755 participants from 116 countries said that they would be interested in riding in an autonomous vehicle. The art student in Amsterdam surely would have no complaints about the option of taking an affordable robo-taxi with a short waiting time.

#MobilityLifeBalance

With an initiative, ZF focuses squarely on people with regard to mobility offers, showing where and how things can be improved.

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