Gareth Herincx

The future of mobility: what’s next for tomorrow’s mobility ecosystem

In a world where technology is advancing at a staggering pace, fleet managers need to move faster than ever to keep up with the latest developments.

By Gareth Herincx on Jun 11, 2019

While the details of the future of mobility are still being argued over, there is a fundamental shift away from personally owned, driver-driven vehicles towards one centred around driverless vehicles and shared mobility.

In fact, the very job title 'fleet manager' may one day be redundant as today's fleet managers are set to become tomorrow's mobility managers.

Mobility managers will not only manage a fleet of vehicles and drivers, but also handle the needs of employees travelling by other alternative means.

This new role will manage intermodal transportation, connecting autonomous vehicles and other modes of transit to the end consumer. Mobility mangers will take into consideration customer preference, traffic data, and other circumstances to arrive at the most convenient and cost-effective mobility plan—whether that is a shared car, a train, a bike, or all of them.

Much of the future of mobility’s focus in centred on easing congestion in increasingly gridlocked urban areas. Employing a more flexible approach will help solve urban density problems.

Leading the way in the evolution of mobility is Helsinki where the introduction of a new app aims to make it unnecessary for any city resident to own a private car by 2025.

Since 2016, Helsinki residents have been able to use Whim that allows people to plan and pay for all modes of public and private transportation within the city - be it by train, taxi, bus, carshare, or bikeshare.

The scheme provides an alternative way to move more people and goods in a way that is faster, cleaner and less expensive than current options.

When applied to fleet, this approach could ultimately mean that company car drivers will have a mobility budget instead of a car allowance.

The mobility budget will be an incentive for staff to travel in a more sustainable way and would be used to pay for all travel costs by whatever means, including public transport.

Changing attitudes

UK businesses running company cars are not willing to give them up for another form of transport just yet, according to new research.

Only 11% of firms recently surveyed by Arval1 said they would “certainly” or “probably” be ready to withdraw cars – opting instead for alternatives including ridesharing, carsharing, or a mobility budget or card.

But this attitude looks set to change in an age where ride-hailing apps such as Uber and car clubs are becoming the norm among people who grew up in the internet age.

Sky's the limit

Autonomous vehicles

Self-driving cars, vans and trucks are the next big thing. Trials are underway all over the world, and though it's at least a few years off, they have the potential to dramatically change the automotive landscape.

Not only are driverless cars expected to be up to 80% safer, they will reduce fuel costs because they will be driven more efficiently on the best routes. They will also free up time for employees to get on with other tasks during the journey.

Meanwhile, truck platooning could have an impact on road haulage. Linking several lorries equipped with advanced technology in a convoy, or 'road train', platooning can also offer a wide range of benefits in the areas of safety, traffic flow, efficiency, economy and CO2 emissions.

Sky's the limit

It may sound fanciful, but fleet managers in the logistics sector of the future may also be able to utilise drones to deliver packages.

In 2016 Amazon completed its first aerial UK drone delivery in Cambridgeshire, while Domino’s delivered the world’s first ever pizza by drone in New Zealand.

In the same year, Just Eat, Europe's biggest online delivery food company, delivered its first takeaway using an R2-D2 sized robot in London.

The benefits are obvious - companies can avoid traffic congestion and traffic lights, and safely reduce the delivery time and distance by travelling directly to customers' homes.

The speed mobility will change at is still up for debate, but we do know when the future arrives, it will be integrated, flexible and cost-effective.

[1] 'Nine in 10 business unwilling to give up car fleet, according to Arval'

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