From the invention of the wheel to the horse-drawn carriage, and from Ford Model T to the cars of today, human history has been shaped by innovations in transportation. Today, the transportation landscape of the past is colliding with radical technology innovations that may once again reshape how the world moves.
Dating back to the introduction of automobiles, we see a radical shift in the way we move today. With a rapidly growing middle class globally, the need for a car has increased and vehicles have become more affordable.
Mobility keeps a city alive and the need of the hour is to adopt smart technology to ensure it continues to remain tenable for millions of people. The transit to smart mobility requires innovative solutions that make a city smarter; more efficient, reliable and green.
In the early days of automobile, Henry Ford helped put the world on wheels, making high-quality cars at an affordable price for the average worker. But today the solution to ensuring mobility for all isn’t as simple as putting more wheels on the road: About one billion cars are already in use, and some estimates expect the number to rise to four billion by 2050. This issue is especially acute in urban areas in countries like China and India, where traffic congestion is already a major concern and car ownership is becoming more attainable.
Today, personal mobility is about much more than just moving from A to B. Mobility is far more than motion it is about progress, it is about evaluating different options and finding the best possible solution.
Given the current scenario, we are witnessing the rise of four megatrends – explosive population growth in urban areas, an expanding middle class, air quality and public health concerns, and changing customer attitudes and priorities. These trends play an important role in decoding the future of urban mobility. It’s an approach that recognizes that sometimes the solution may not be a private car but shared ownership models, ride sharing, or a multi-modal journey that requires a combination of different types of transportation. Greater integration between the technologies in automobiles, mobile devices and infrastructure will change how we interact with the services that move us from point A to point B.
To understand the current involvement of technology based solutions, Ford conducted a survey across Asia Pacific, the results conclude that consumers are driving these changes as technology gives them new and easier ways to plan their journeys, whether using private or public transportation – or a combination of both.
In Asia Pacific, one in four respondents to the survey said they use a ride-hailing app more than once a week to get around. Respondents in China and India were the most likely to use ride-hailing apps (both 28 percent). On the other end of the spectrum were Australia and New Zealand, where respondents reported low ride-hailing app usage. Only 5 percent of Australians and 3 percent of New Zealanders said they regularly use apps to book a car.
Half of the respondents said they spent more time sitting in traffic than a year ago, with only 18 percent reporting that traffic had improved. The survey also sought consumer opinions about how to reduce congestion, and found widespread agreement that the immediate future of mobility will rely on the shared capabilities of city governments, mobility companies and even commuters themselves.
In 2012, Bill Ford introduced the Blueprint for Mobility, a vision for the future that provides solutions for short-, mid- and long-term mobility needs. It calls for private businesses, regulators, cities and countries to take action to address the transportation challenges ahead for a more sustainable and viable future. Since then Ford is actively researching ways to relieve the pain of congestion by revolutionizing mobility around the world.
At the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, Ford will be giving consumers a chance to see for themselves some of the advanced solutions it is working on – including Ford Smart Mobility experiments that explore ways to make parking in crowded cities more convenient, and ways to optimize public transit services to make them more reactive to consumer needs. Stay tuned to know what’s in store.