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Leading global Mobility experts identified and assessed the key mobility trends pre-COVID-19 and determined their short term and long-term effects following the pandemic, as well as identifying potential challenges and business opportunities for players in the transportation sector.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having profound economic, social, and political impacts on the globe, and its effects are being felt across the entire transport sector, including urban mobility. Public transport agencies, operators and other companies working in the mobility space are having to contend with the fact that travel patterns may not recover to their pre-COVID-19 levels for several years. In addition, new mobility patterns will emerge, based on changing consumer behaviors (e.g. trust issues, greener mindset), economic constraints (e.g. less disposable income) and new policy priorities (i.e. sustainable policies, budget deficits, health policies, etc). There are also multiple uncertainties that can shape all the future mobility trends, with the two most relevant ones being the degree of economic recovery and the containment of COVID-19. As a result, the organizational strategies of transport agencies and companies will need to be realigned to the new realities.
Sia Partners conducted an extensive trend scanning exercise, identifying more than twenty relevant key trends, out of which, we aggregated into five mega trends which we deemed the most relevant to the future of Mobility. These mega trends are; Personal Micro & Mini Mobility, Autonomous, connected, electric shared vehicles (ACES), Low-touch Economy, Virtual presence and Sustainable living. In parallel we connected with ten worldwide renowned experts in different mobility-related fields, holding in-depth interviews to assess the mega trends impacting Mobility, Remote Working & Urbanism. Based on these factors, we were able to provide indicators on whether we believe the mega trends will accelerate, deaccelerate and what will be the impacts for cities and for public transportation.
Our trend analysis conducted via detailed experts’ interviews, signals scanning, and expert research has indicated that in the short term, the COVID-19 reality will see impacts in two horizons. In the short term, and most immediate, the need to accommodate social distancing (Virtual Presence and Personal Micro Mobility) and mitigate of the spread of the disease (Low-touch Economy), which will take focus away from more longer-term trends (Autonomous, connected, electric shared vehicles), but enable others (Sustainable living). In the medium-term horizon, we believe most of the transportation trends will see significant acceleration as society gets to grips with the ‘New Normal’, however it is currently too early to tell if the Sustainable Living measures are here to stay or are temporary fixes.
In the short term, we have identified four immediate actions that we believe transport regulators and operators should focus on:
1. Prepare their operations for the low touch economy
2. Guaranteeing safety of employees and customers
3. Clear communications on their actions to build back user trust
4. Plan their networks to cope with a changing demand (i.e. remote working)
This white paper, developed in partnership with the World Government Summit and Dubai Roads and Transport Authority, attempts to outline the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on urban mobility trends.