The future of mobility and transport in the digital age

Mobility is going through a period of unprecedented change but at The Floow we are working to help plan for a changing future

All around the world, mobility is going through a period of unprecedented change. Transport planners and strategists whose role it is to prepare for and enable the future of transportation are facing many hard choices and considerations before the future is uncertain. As people's needs, wants and habits relating to mobility and ownership are changing rapidly, it can be as difficult for organisations, governments and local authorities to plan for tomorrow as it is 20 years from now.

The increase in technological innovations such as driverless cars, the introduction of new services powered with increased connectivity and our changing opinions surrounding mobility and vehicular ownership make it difficult for decision makers to predict what they should be building and prioritising now to be ready for the future of mobility.

At The Floow, we have long studied transport and its trends in fine grained detail through second by second views of vehicle movements and the longitudinal risk of drivers. As well as exploring telematics, we also lead in fields looking at future technologies ranging from autonomous transport to peer-to-peer car sharing options.

We focus on questions such as how many people will be buying and using their own vehicles in 10 years time? What percentage will be electric and/or autonomous? When will the peak times for travel be as the world of work changes and more people work flexibly or at home? Currently, the estimates for these questions are hard to pinpoint and even with advanced modelling, the numbers still vary widely and have huge uncertainty.

Infrastructure projects and major building works plan for extended timeframes and the wide range of uncertainties brought on by the increasing number of innovations, which are making an impact across mobility and making the future less clear to predict, are creating a disconnect between things being built and knowing how they will fit the needs of future passengers and drivers.

The extension of the London Tube service to 24 hours on popular routes last year was a great example of how consumer demand is changing based on population habits, lifestyles and working lives. With more people choosing to work from home or in the gig economy outside the normal 9-5 environment, there will be an influence on how a transport infrastructure needs to develop in order to stay relevant for 21st century transport needs.

In order to prepare for the future, we need to understand if better knowledge of the latest transport innovations really could help us to steer more informed transport decisions and how policy can be adapted to ensure the best outcomes for all. We also need to look at what evidence we should be basing infrastructure decisions on, what approaches should be added or removed and what are the real risks if we don’t properly invest in the future of mobility.

To address some of these issues amongst a collective group of experts, The Floow is hosting a Digital Leaders salon event at our campus in Sheffield. This is the first event of its kind in the city, and its objective is to discuss and debate these issues with leading players and progress some ideas on how we can work to create a more beneficial future for mobility for all.

To sign up for the event, visit the Digital Leaders website.

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