How we choose to travel is changing.
The idea of being defined by a mode (“car owner”, “cyclist” etc) is being replaced by how we mix together modes into mobility lifestyles.
Existing and emerging co-mobility services are emerging as a key part of these trends. On the one hand, the emergence of new types of services enable new lifestyles; on the other, the demands of new lifestyles are creating fertile conditions for innovation and disruption in transport service provision.
This is important to acknowledge in terms of making sure that both policy and investment are informed by best estimates of future possibilities so that public benefit is maximised (Good Mobility) and risks and problems minimised.
Mix together Social trends with Transport trends, and Travel behaviour provides clear pointers for the future role of co-mobility.
The emergence of the sharing economy reflects the mega-trend in post-industrial western economies from ownership to service. While the poster boys of AirBnB or Über get the press, car clubs and ride sharing have been providing services for significantly longer. More and more types of people increasingly value use over ownership as many of the hassles of ownership are overcome. “Peak stuff” has been publicly acknowledged by several leading global retailers including IKEA.
This may be linked to people’s value of time changing, with “always on” and “just in time” becoming norms. The emergence of the smart phone and its widespread use enables “always on” lifestyles that give people instant access to information and services; being connected is increasingly valued relative to car ownership and use; this may help to explain general reductions in the amount that people are travelling.
This isn’t everyone everywhere.
The norms values of emerging generations of young adults are less about ownership than previously. “Generation rent” and millennials either do not value or are just not able to buy houses or cars. It’s also more pronounced in cities, especially where urban population growth is leading to densification and (hence) demand for services rather than inefficient and expensive ownership.
The relationship between the public and private sector is rapidly changing in transport and mobility.
The transport sector is being disrupted by new types and business models of transport services. These tend to be technology-enabled, global start-ups that provide services built around booking and matching people to vehicles. The lack of “heavy” infrastructure or fleet means that they can grow and disseminate more rapidly and be more reactive and responsive than traditional transport providers. The relationship between the public and private sector is rapidly changing in transport and mobility. This is due to the speed of private-sector-led innovation, and often the level of investment and global reach of the disruptive and less-regulated services. This is generally at a much faster rate than regulation and policy can accommodate..
Changes in Travel Behaviour
Most people are travelling less. Car use and car sales are falling and cycling is increasing. People are making fewer trips for commuting and shopping.
The evidence suggests that these are enduring trends, not blips. A comprehensive review of the evidence is given in these links below.