Nov 28, 2017 Henrik Suikkanen
Our current mobility solutions waste a tremendous amount of resources. The utilization rate of private cars is below five percent, our urban space is largely occupied by vehicles – and by spaces designed for them. We waste hours stuck in traffic and over a million people die in car accidents each year. On top of that, we are destroying ecosystems across the world with excessive pollution. Surely, none of this was part of Mr. Ford’s plan when he first envisioned the possibilities that new mobility could bring. However, we currently lack a real alternative. For many, the private car is still a necessity and an important status symbol. Cities and governments struggle to find solutions that could bring an end to congestion and pollution while making sure people’s needs are still met.
With the advent of autonomous, electric and connected vehicles, an increasing supply of renewable energy sources and many other disruptive technologies, we are now on the cusp of the largest change in transportation and mobility in 100 years.
With autonomous vehicles, time liberated from driving could make cars the instrument for the next media revolution or “offices on wheels”. They can also provide new opportunities for those who can’t drive, including disabled and elderly people. Together with solutions like Mobility as a Service, we can do more with far fewer vehicles. This will allow us to make better and more creative use of our urban space and have new encounters with people on shared rides. Electric car batteries could be used as storage for renewable energy and help balance the energy grid. Soon we might be able to travel 500 kilometers in 30 minutes by train, fly from New York to Shanghai in under an hour and even visit other planets.
Ford’s vision of the private car was just a proxy for a larger societal transformation. It impacted how we build our cities, work, structure our days, consume, live and travel. Today, self driving vehicles, renewable energy solutions and digital platforms could similarly act as powerful proxies for building a society that we’ll be proud of in one hundred years. This is why mobility should not be considered in a vacuum.
If the vision of the last century was world peace through consumerism, what would be the vision for world peace in the 21st century? How could better mobility support the vision? What would Mr. Ford think about the following goals?
The article was co-authored by Henrik Suikkanen, Project Manager of Slush Y Mobility, and Sampo Hietanen, CEO and Founder of Maas Global.
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