On-demand travel set to revolutionise urban mobility

Digital technology is enabling new ways for people to move around cities, such as ridesharing in private cars or ride-on-demand, where users hire cars on a pay-per-minute basis.

This innovation in mobility could reduce the number of cars needed on urban roads around the world by up to 20 million per year by 2025, according to new research by BT and Frost & Sullivan.

The report, Environmentally Sustainable Innovation in Automotive Manufacturing and Urban Mobility, says that new technology supports a user-centric, service-led approach to urban mobility, allowing transportation to shift from the current ‘predict and provide’ model to ‘sense and respond’ through the use of historical data analytics and real-time information.

The consumer trend towards ‘on demand’ access rather than vehicle ownership, combined with the integration of smart vehicles and smart roads and cities, is expected to lead to fewer and more efficient journeys, reducing journeys in private cars by as much as 360 billion kilometres per year within the next decade.

This will result in a significant cut in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The authors of the report estimate that CO2 emissions could be reduced by 56 megatonnes per year by 2025 — equivalent to more than half the yearly emissions from transport in the UK. A reduction of the global car output by 20 million vehicles per year could save another 121 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.

And the introduction of sustainable car production methods, including lightweight materials, expanding the use remanufactured parts and better integrated supply chains, could potentially reduce the embodied carbon impact by another 89 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2025.

Smart parking solutions, using a connected infrastructure of sensors to calculate the most efficient routes to vacant parking spaces, will deliver an estimated £49bn in productivity and fuel savings and reduce yearly carbon emissions by 23 megatonnes in 2025, according to the study.

At the same time, ridesharing platforms could bring a reduction of 40 billion kilometres travelled, generating savings of £15bn for users and reducing carbon emissions by five megatonnes.

Ride-on-demand models could remove a further 10 million vehicles from the road, eliminating 15 megatonnes of emissions.

“These findings show that IoT solutions will transform the entire industry. Traditional car manufacturers are rethinking their business models and will become personal mobility service providers,” commented Hubertus von Roenne, vice president global industry practices at BT.

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