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How to accelerate on mobility challenges?

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The Boston Consulting Group

24-26 Rue Saint-Dominique

75007 Paris

France

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With new paradigms emerging, mobility in cities needs a proper rethink to solve current challenges.

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If you build it, the saying goes, they will come. But they have to be able to get there. In cities around the world, getting there is a challenge, increasingly fraught by growing traffic congestion and deteriorating public transit systems. All of this piles on travel time and impedes access to urban locations—but it’s more than a source of frustration. The mobility problems that cities face threaten their economic viability, the environment, and society overall.

Traditional approaches to solving mobility problems—adding more roads and transit lines—are not sustainable, primarily because of concerns related to climate change, public health, and funding, and they cannot be the solution. Hence the interest in new technology-powered forms of mobility: ride sharing, free-floating bikes, autonomous electric vehicles, digital mobility platforms, and more. These technologies, it is hoped, could be “congestion busters,” prompting people to give up grueling commutes in single-occupancy private vehicles in favor of modalities that will offer swifter, easier, cleaner travel as they decrease the number of drivers and vehicles on the road. But when it comes to these new modalities, most cities and transport authorities have effectively relinquished control of mobility by either allowing private actors to compete unfettered with traditional modes of transportation or letting mobility languish as they restrict any form of innovation.

Waiting for the technology to sort itself out is not the way to proceed. It is incumbent on cities to be part of the mobility revolution and ensure that technologies are deployed in the ways that are best for cities and the people who live and work there. City governments need to, in a word, mobilize. They need to regain control of urban mobility by orchestrating the entire landscape of mobility providers and mobility users in an integrated manner. To do this, they must commit to six related, sustained actions: measure, capture value, integrate, incentivize, regulate, and experiment.

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The Boston Consulting Group

24-26 Rue Saint-Dominique

75007 Paris

France

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