As cities expand and the populations grow, so too do the forms of transportation that connect us to where we live, work, and play. There have been a lot of changes in the mobility landscape over the past 100 years, but there have also been significant innovations seen in the past several years.
As someone who has worked at Zipcar and General Motors, Senior Sales and Operations Executive Scott Hall Maryland knows all about this rapidly evolving field, as well as where it is headed. From the history of urban mobility to the trends of 2020, Scott Hall Maryland is going to break down everything you need to know about getting around and out of the city.
Urban infrastructure and mobility have changed rapidly since 1920; this accelerated progress has led to incredible breakthroughs in movement over the past several years. While Scott Hall Maryland recognizes that it may be challenging to picture a time when horses and buggies were the primary means of transportation, it was not until the 1940s that cars started to become ubiquitous.
Back in 1940, if you were traveling across town, you would travel in a carriage, car (if you could afford one), rail, or electric trolley lines. Automobile dominance during this period led to new psychology celebrating mobility. Cars and trucks needed road construction, bridges, and highways, which set the scene for the contemporary urbanization we are familiar with today.
While many of the roads, highways, and bridges from this era have been updated and maintained, they have also expanded and grown to cater to a diverse range of new vehicles and services, including car-sharing. Scott Hall, from his home base of Maryland, explains that companies like Zipcar and Turo are changing the face of vehicle ownership in urban communities.
With fleets with hundreds of thousands of vehicles, commanding a multibillion-dollar stream of revenue, car sharing is making the convenience of owning a car accessible for those without the means to invest in their own.
In America, the average cost of a new vehicle is over $33,000, an unreasonable price for someone looking to grocery shop or go on weekend trips. These car-sharing services allow customers to get around without the hassle of going through a car rental company.
Scott Hall sees things differently from Maryland and recognizes that the increasing popularity of car-sharing in the United States and abroad is associated with changes in consumer behavior, especially among younger segments of the population.
The potential environmental impact is staggering; different studies illustrate that just one car-sharing vehicle can replace 8 to 20 private cars. This brings us to our next mobility trend: peer-to-peer ridesharing.
Ridesharing is not a new concept, as carpooling clubs have been around since the Second World War and surged in popularity during the energy crises in 1970. However, as Scott Hall saw from his perch in Maryland explains, peer-to-peer ride-sharing has been elevated, streamlined, and improved through advances in mobile technology.
Companies like Uber, Lyft, and Juno have been dominating ride sharing since the turn of the past decade, but not without backlash. Despite the convenience of peer-to-peer ridesharing, many urban dwellers are concerned about their inaccessibility to those without a smartphone or credit card, the competition for cabs, and their relatively low wages for workers. For those who are unfamiliar, peer-to-peer ridesharing is when a program or application allows users to sign up to be drivers, and users to sign up as customers.
Much like car-sharing services, this recently emerging travel alternative provides users with the option of choice and has bridged a gap in public transportation services. Scott Hall sees that in Maryland and across the country, explains that connective technologies will continue to drive increased innovation, making owning a car less and less necessary.
Uber has also claimed that it will start test runs of flying taxis in 2020. Fixed with rotors, much like a helicopter, these vehicles will be small and efficient enough to fly above densely populated areas and land where needed. Along with this trend is autonomous driving vehicles.
Considered the next major frontier in mobility and transportation, autonomous vehicles will have a dramatic impact on both the public and private sectors. From autonomous transport trucks to autonomous city buses, the global fully autonomous vehicle market is expected to reach $6 billion by 2025. Another key technology that has filled in the gaps in public transportation is the lesser-known micro-mobility.
Micro-mobility includes modes of transportation that are provided by very light vehicles such as electric scooters, electric skateboards, and shared bicycles. Scott Hall explains that explains that with heavy urban congestion in Maryland and beyond, micro-mobility has been considered the last major hurdle, allowing individuals to ride distances typically less than one mile.
Micro-mobility companies have been on the rise, and they include companies like Citi Bike and Jump Bikes. This trend was re-energized in 2018 with the emergence of dockless electric scooters. As always, among the positive impact that these companies have had on the lives of urban dwellers, are the negative impacts.
With scooters ending up in lakes, congesting sidewalks, being stolen, causing injuries, urban planners are asking whether or not this technology is a solution or is a part of the problem—only time will tell.
The Future Of Public Transportation
Scott Hall explains that the Washington Metro service in the greater Maryland has experienced a major fall in passengers, going from 750,000 in 2009 to 626,000 in 2018. The numbers are not specific to Washington either, as New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority registered almost 30 million fewer rides on the subway in 2017 compared to 2016.
In Washington specifically, passengers younger than 29 took 21 percent fewer trips on weekdays and 40 percent fewer trips on the weekends. Many of these changes have to do with the rise of accessible, affordable, and convenient ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft, but also in the way we work.
Working remotely is more popular than ever before, and according to a Gallup survey, 43% of Americans work from home occasionally—which is up 39% from those who did in 2012. As we continue to change the way we live, work, and play, our mobility will naturally adapt and change with us.
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