Digital solutions transforming urban mobility
Faster and further – mobility is a basic need for most of us. We now take it for granted that we can use digital maps to plan our car routes, download the latest bus timetable or conveniently buy and manage our train ticket via an app. But digital capabilities are having a far greater impact on our current and future mobility behavior. They are also transforming our cities through innovative mobility solutions and services.
Better air despite driving?
In the short to medium term, it is impossible to imagine cities without cars, as they are still the preferred mobility solution for many people to get from A to B. This is why it is also important to improve air quality in urban areas. That's why, even in an urban environment, the motto is: start the engine and drive. Or rather, with an eye to the future, the motto is: plug in and drive. After all, it is expected that there will be around 15 million electric cars on German roads by the year 2030. One of the advantages of electric cars is obvious: in contrast to internal combustion engines, they do not produce any local emissions and thus help to improve the quality of the air in our cities. But if we are to see the desired number of electric cars replacing internal combustion engines on our roads in a few years' time, there will need to be enough charging points. Many e-mobility drivers and fleet managers are therefore relying on charging boxes installed and maintained by companies such as Envision Digital or Service4Charge. For those on the road or those who cannot install their own chargers, providers such as Plufsurfing and elvah make it possible to find free and working charging points via an app and pay digitally.
Sharing is caring
But digitalisation also offers a wide range of opportunities for those who cannot or do not want to buy their own car. With car sharing, users do not own a car, but share it with other drivers on the basis of a framework agreement. This can be done conveniently via an app, saving the cost of buying and insuring a car and reducing the number of cars in cities. According to a study by the German Car-Sharing Association, car-sharing replaces a private car for 65 per cent of those surveyed. The duration of car sharing is relatively flexible. Providers such as Share NOW offer cars on a per-minute, hourly or (multi-)daily basis.
Digital and active mobility
Of course, the digitalisation of mobility is not just about cars. It has also revolutionized cycling. As with cars, you no longer need to own a car to get where you want to go. Finally, various providers have digital solutions that allow bikes to be used on a sharing or subscription basis. One of them is Cargoroo. The Dutch company offers e-bikes that allow users to transport large plants or moving boxes from A to B in an environmentally friendly way. You no longer need a Sprinter and you no longer have to worry about finding a parking space in front of your new home.
Complementing public transport
Digitalisation is making public transport more attractive. A key issue is bridging the last mile, the distance from your current location, such as your home, to the nearest bus or train station. This distance still prevents many car drivers from choosing public transport. Alternative mobility solutions, such as EasyMile's autonomous shuttle buses, can be used to complement the existing public transport system to overcome the last mile. Due to their small size, the shuttles save space in cities. It is also possible to use the mobility solution as an on-demand service. Mobility on-demand allows a specific mobility solution to be called up via an app when needed. This can relieve congestion in cities by optimizing the use of public transport.
Digitalisation is shaping urban mobility and has an impact on private and public transport. Integrated into different mobility solutions, it can help to reduce traffic noise in cities, make roads less congested and reduce traffic-related emissions. As we should rely less on individual car transport in the long term for environmental reasons, it is important to share alternative mobility solutions. Many of the new possibilities contribute to the fact that we will travel more and more intermodality in the future, i.e. combining different mobility solutions. After all, one of the strengths of digitalised mobility is that it can get us from A to B quite easily, depending on our needs and using an app.