The future of mobility must be sustainable

The future of mobility is about software.

The future of mobility is about software. The following graphic helps to demonstrate this.

mobility and sofware

A fully driverless future is still some years away. In the meantime, sustainable transportation models need to encouraged and facilitated by governments. MaaS (Mobility as a Service) described in the last newsletter is a step in the right direction. The Institute encourages this form of mobility and recommends the electrification of transportation wherever it makes sense.

MaaS Summit

Catherine Kargas facilitated the first ever MaaS Summit that was held Helsinki, organized by the Government of Finland, on November 10th 2015. The Institute congratulates Finnish Transport and Communications Minister Berner and her government on their sustainable mobility vision and the political will to make it happen.

Several articles have been written about the prospect of fully automated vehicles increasing vehicle kilometres travelled. To ensure that driverless vehicle technology contributes to a more sustainable mobility ecosystem, it is essential for governments to get involved and set the parameters within which mobility suppliers will be able to function as seamlessly as possible. The use of existing and future transit infrastructure (metros and trains) should be optimized as these are often the most efficient modes. Regulations should ensure that cooperation occurs between various modes and become fully integrated. Common payment platforms are but one way to achieve this goal. Where possible, active mobility should be encouraged.

Ridesharing

More ridesharing offerings are popping up in cities around the world.

Now available in over 350 cities around the world, Uber is looking to combine ride-sharing and delivery services. UberRush has already launched in three US cities, providing local businesses with same-day delivery of goods. The company is also announcing the launch of UberPool in a number of cities around the world, including London and Paris.

Oh, and in case you weren’t aware, with the latest round of fundraising, Uber is now valued at $62.5 Billion USD!!! On paper, it is worth more than GM (valued at around $55.6 Billion USD).

More ridesharing offerings are popping up in cities around the world. Via, a NY-based app, announced entry into the Chicago market.  The app offers on-demand carpool rides for up to four passengers headed the same direction. A professionally chauffeured SUV will pick customers up and deliver them to their location, just like Uber or Lyft, but it will cost just $5 when the ride is prepaid, or $7 if payment is made at the time of the pickup.

In Paris, a ridesharing service was launched specifically targeting people with disabilities.

But the ridesharing world may be changing quickly with the possibility of an Uber union? In Seattle, determined immigrant drivers, a hard-charging union and an ambitious City Council member have pushed the city close to enacting the groundbreaking legislation establishing collective-bargaining rights for contract employees like Uber drivers.

Car sharing

Electric car sharing is gaining popularity in cities around the world.

Audi has launched its “Audi at Home” vehicle sharing service in San Francisco and Miami. Residents of two residential communities will be able to reserve vehicles via their smartphone for “spontaneous booking” of vehicles, each made to suit a specific set of tastes.

Electric car sharing is gaining popularity in cities around the world. In previous newsletters, we discussed the 1,000 EV car sharing project of the City of Montreal.

The City of Palermo launched its electric car sharing service a few weeks ago while in Canada, EMC initiated discussions with a car sharing leader and a municipality already known for their spirit of innovation and their commitment to a cleaner environment in order to implement a new EV car sharing model

And, at the LA Auto Show, Evercar launched its electric on-demand car sharing service.Evercar

Electrification of transportation

As demonstrated by the agreement reached at COP21, governments around the world are turning to electric transportation as a solution to combatting climate change…and rightly so.

As demonstrated by the agreement reached at COP21, governments around the world are turning to electric transportation as a solution to combatting climate change…and rightly so. A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists shows electric cars not only eliminate tailpipe emissions, but that they beat gasoline cars in cradle to grave emissions regardless of the source of electricity.

Reducing emissions from transportation by promoting the uptake of zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles is a key part of Ontario’s new climate change strategy. The Government of Ontario also announced a residential and business EV charging incentive program.

More positive Canadian environmental news: Manitoba will join Ontario and Québec in introducing a cap-and-trade system for large carbon emitters.

Québec is a signatory to the International ZEV Alliance.

On Canada’s West Coast, Vancouver councillors are set to vote on an ambitious energy strategy that would see the city getting every last joule of its power from renewable sources within 35 years.

In Montreal, Taxelco launched its electric taxi service called Téo.

And, in always exciting Silicon Valley, Faraday Future, a mysterious electric vehicle start-up, with 400 employees, plans to build a $1 billion EV pla

TEI Supports SEAMlessTM Vision

The Transportation Evolution Institute has been involved in a number of sustainable mobility-related initiatives in Canada and abroad.

The Transportation Evolution Institute has been involved in a number of sustainable mobility-related initiatives in Canada and abroad. We thought we would end the year by providing readers with a brief update of some of these activities.

As many of you are aware, the Institute supports the SEAMless™ vision of mobility developed by MARCON. As a brief summary for those who are not familiar with this model, SEAMless refers to Shared, Electric, Autonomous, Multimodal mobility. In this sustainable transportation ecosystem, mobility is accessible via technology that is becoming increasingly ubiquitous. A user is presented with mobility options (including but not limited to information about cost, time of departure, time of arrival, active and non-active modes to be used, environmental footprint and level of sharing with others) enabling him/her to reach his/her destination. Travel options take into consideration the user’s set preferences (example: increased physical activity) and physical limitations (example: options may limit active mobility).

The Institute’s activities over the last few months reflect our work in promoting the SEAMless mobility model.

Electric mobility: The Institute is a staunch supporter of electrification of transportation, wherever possible. Within Canada, the Institute collaborates with Electric Mobility Canada, the national organization promoting electrification of transportation, in all its forms. The Institute also collaborates with AVERE, the European electric mobility association.

Our environmental realities and the blatant inability of internal combustion engines to help us meet our pressing environmental commitments means that electric propulsion systems charged with electricity generated increasingly through renewables is an important solution.

For Canada, it is a no-brainer. Almost 70% of Canada’s electricity is generated through renewables and thanks to utility efforts, this percentage is increasing.  Instead of importing fossil fuels and hurting the provincial trade balances, it makes strong economic sense to use electricity produced locally to power our mobility solutions. This approach supports a domestic good and the local jobs required to deliver this good to the mode of mobility.

A 2015 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists entitled “Cleaner Cars from Cradle to Grave” says that “over their lifetime, battery electric vehicles produce far less global warming pollution than their gasoline counterparts – and they’re getting cleaner.”

Car sharing: Sharing is an important part of the SEAMless Mobility model. Research has demonstrated that a shared vehicle replaces 9 to 13 individually owned vehicles. Shared, electric mobility is increasingly being encouraged by municipalities as a way of dealing with stifling congestion and pollution issues. One need only look at the efforts and plans of cities like Helsinki, Oslo, Paris and London.

The Institute collaborates with the Car Sharing Association and supports efforts of car sharing organizations to electrify their fleets. Not only is car sharing fleet electrification important in terms of immediate environmental impact, but it has the advantage of educating car sharing users about electric vehicles. In fact, research undertaken this year in the US concluded that an individual who has used an electric vehicle in car sharing mode is 43% more likely to buy an EV if a change in his/her lifestyle requires him/her to purchase a vehicle.

Research undertaken this year by some of the Institute’s members in the area of car sharing fleet electrification and discussions with car sharing fleets in Canada and abroad lead us to believe that municipal – fleet collaborations present strong opportunities for car sharing electrification.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS):  Last month’s newsletter article described the plans of the government of Finland to implement MaaS as a way of moving to a sustainable mobility model based on usership instead of ownership of mobility. It is a model that makes significant sense from the perspective of the Finnish people as well as the Finnish government. For the latter, it is an economic development policy that also helps the country better manage its expenditures while helping to meet its emissions reductions targets. For the citizens of the country who, like motorists around the world, use their vehicles on average 4% of the time, the car is generally their second greatest expense after lodging (first for home owners who choose to invest in their lodging). If the Finnish people can be presented with an integrated mobility system composed of a variety of options for moving around, a system that is convenient and easy to use, and one that costs less than vehicle ownership, why would ownership make sense?

MaaS means sharing of mobility assets. It also means true integration of multimodality. Where possible, electrification is encouraged. Shared, electric and multimodal: three of the four pillars of the SEAMless Mobility model.

A few weeks ago, Catherine Kargas was in Finland, collaborating with the Finnish government on this important step in sustainable transportation. She moderated the MaaS Summit (involving transportation, technology, transit and government stakeholders from around the world) that took place in Helsinki and represented the Institute at the MaaS Alliance meetings. We are pleased to announce that the Institute is a member of the MaaS Alliance.

Automated technology: The Finnish Government is interested in incorporating autonomous vehicle technology into MaaS: the fourth pillar of the SEAMless model.

Given its numerous benefits, the Institute is a firm supporter of automated vehicle technology. We are pleased to have contributed to the discussions at the Ontario AV Ministerial Roundtable that took place on October 29th 2015.

Over the last three years, the Institute’s members have visited the developers of this technology in Canada, the US as well as Europe. A couple of our members recently completed a tour of numerous organizations in Europe that are involved in the development and early commercialization of the technology. We are proud to report that some of these organizations will be demonstrating their capabilities at EVS29 that will take place in Montréal, June 18-22, 2016.  Don’t miss the opportunity to see and experience tomorrow’s electric mobility.

We are working on exciting projects that we hope to report on in the coming year. In the meantime, we take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a great start to 2016.

Government planning

NSW Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance made some fantastic statements over the last couple of weeks.

NSW Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance made some fantastic statements over the last couple of weeks. Understanding the implications of autonomous vehicle technology, he stated: I don’t want to see governments making multibillion-dollar investments and then it turns out that with the advent of driverless cars we’ve made the wrong decision”. He is calling on smarter governments that make investments taking new technologies into consideration. Isn’t this a more respectful way to invest taxpayer money?

Transit

In the future, public transportation is likely to look very differently than it does today.

In the future, public transportation is likely to look very differently than it does today. It may contain Hyperloops and driverless shuttles.  Hyperloop is concerned, work is scheduled to begin on a $6 billion test track in California within weeks. “The test track will be limited to 160mph with passengers on board but empty carriages will be tested at speeds up to 780mph. G-force in the system would be similar to those experienced by Formula 1 drivers, and tubes would mostly be straight in order to minimise stress and strain.” There are ambitions to role out the technology globally.

Several European companies are providing driverless shuttles. EasyMile’s driverless shuttle rolled out on Singapore and California over the last few weeks.

Insurance

Despite the addition of driver assistance features to vehicles intended to help avoid collisions, the growing number of in-vehicle distractions is resulting in greater opportunity for driver distraction.

One of the biggest pieces of news to hit the autonomous vehicle sector this last month was Volvo’s announcement that the company will accept full responsibility for any accidents caused by its driverless cars.  Mercedes and Google “have made similar claims as manufacturers race to create a full-functioning, legal car of the future”. The implications for the insurance industry are enormous.

Despite the addition of driver assistance features to vehicles intended to help avoid collisions, the growing number of in-vehicle distractions is resulting in greater opportunity for driver distraction.  A recently released study concludes that “aids”, such as Siri, distract drivers for up to 27 seconds after the interaction with the device is complete. Driving at 40 km/h, distraction of 27 seconds would cover a distance equivalent to 3 football fields.

The “misuse” by some Tesla drivers of Tesla’s autopilot (released in October via a software update) combined with the in-vehicle distractions should clearly spell danger for insurers.

KPMG released a report that concludes that autonomous vehicles could shrink US personal auto insurance by 60%. The impact would be underestimated if autonomous vehicles are defined as fully autonomous.

Munich Re has launched its Mobility Domain. It is part of the company’s enhanced focus on innovation and emerging risks. Driverless vehicle technology will be an important focus of the Mobility Domain’s activities.

Google is intensifying its investments and partnerships in the insurance technology space. The company has signed off on at least 6 separate partnerships and investments in insurance tech just this year. It looks like the Silicon Valley giant has its sights set on disrupting the multi-trillion dollar insurance business.

google_graph

Ridesharing

Uber is increasingly being perceived as a threat by auto manufacturers.

Uber is reportedly eyeing funding that would bring the company’s valuation to $70 billion US.

More news on Uber: the company is apparently interested in competing with couriers in the on-demand delivery space.

In several US cities, Uber is vaporizing the taxi industry. In NYC, for example, “total trips in the first half of 2015 were down 10% to 77 million, compared to same period last year”. Revenues from yellow cab fares have also declined. In month of July alone, there were 100,000 Uber trips in NYC daily, a four-fold increase compared to last summer.  Karhoo, a startup that will be launching in January 2016, has raised $250 million in funding, and will be working with licensed taxi companies to give them a technological leg up in the competition against Uber. Taxi companies are in dire need for assistance: the relative value of taxi medallions has plummeted. In 2013, a NYC taxi medallion was worth an estimated $1.3 million. Today, online listings range from $600,000 to $900,000.

Uber is increasingly being perceived as a threat by auto manufacturers. According to a recently conducted survey, “22% of Uber users aged 18 to 64, who have used the service in the past 6 months, said they were delaying or holding off buying a new car for that very reason”. The survey findings “translate to approximately 3 to 4 million people who may hold off on buying a new car because of Uber”.