Mobility is undergoing a significant transformation that could have wide-ranging implications in the way people and goods are moved in the coming years. The advent of certain megatrends in the last few years – connected technologies, autonomous vehicles, shared mobility, powertrain electrification and digitalisation – has opened up new vista of opportunities for every stakeholder in the mobility industry and beyond.
Vehicle makers are weighing options to address the switch from an ownership-driven model to a usership model; suppliers are looking beyond their traditional customer base of vehicle makers to offer solutions for cities; technology companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft or IBM are making significant investments to address future mobility needs driven by data; young companies led by young minds, are offering some innovative answers to mobility problems of the past; and civic authorities around the world are redrawing city landscapes to accommodate future-ready transportation solutions.
Cities, in particular, are an interesting subject of study today. Autonomous vehicles promise to make individual mobility a lot safer and to a great extent, more comfortable. They will allow different mobility concepts to develop, say experts, especially in urban areas.
For that to happen, cities will also need to be redeveloped and reoriented. For all these years, cities have mostly been built with a larger focus on motorised vehicles, without much focus on walkways and cycle tracks. With urban population on a steady rise, traffic conditions are getting worse and congestion is making cities unliveable. In that context, many cities are adopting policies to discourage the use of personalised vehicles. There seems to be a clear trend towards incentivising mass transportation in many western cities.
In the Indian context, the Central Government has taken note of the urban mobility issues in its Smart Cities Mission, and has identified efficient urban mobility and public transport – particularly, smart parking, intelligent traffic management and integrated multi modal transport – as the key enablers. These are expected to help India deal with the serious problems of deteriorating air quality, severe congestion and increasing number of road accidents.
This is a crucial year for India, with the country scheduled to elect a new government in the next three to four months. The roll-out of new safety regulations in October 2019 and BS VI emission norms in April 2020 aren’t too far away. It is important that all existing policies are pursued with. That is what the industry will expect this new year. Wish you all a great year ahead!
DEEPANGSHU DEV SARMAH
New Delhi, January 2019