How we travel is changing. Smart transportation technology has enabled users to locate, book, or order the transport they want instantly from their handheld device. Concerns over the amount of congestion and pollution have given more focus to sustainable modes of travel. At the same time, the sharing economy is removing the need to own a private vehicle.
2020 however, has been an unprecedented year and seen the transportation industry badly shaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. Passenger safety concerns and fewer people needing to travel have highlighted the fragility of the urban mobility ecosystem. At this moment, it is particularly important to understand the impacts on the different industry sectors and predications for future recovery.
In this article, we've collected a selection of statistics that tell the story of mobility in 2020.
In this article:
● Taxi and private hire services
● Private cars
● Public transit
For the last decade, ride-hailing has taken the world by storm. The uptake of smartphones and widespread internet across the globe have opened the possibilities for ride-hailing. However, as with many other modes of transport, customer safety concerns caused by COVID-19 has decreased usage numbers and slowed this rapid growth. Nevertheless, the market is predicted to recover, with Asia-Pacific overtaking the US as the fastest-growing region.
1. In a 2020 survey, 54% of respondents in the US stated that they would much less likely use a ride-hailing service if coronavirus were to spread in their community.
2. A survey conducted in five metropolitan centers: Berlin, London, New York City, Seattle, and Seoul. Showed that only 48% of respondents had used a ride-hailing service during COVID-19 (compared to 71% before).
3. Ride-hailing giant Uber’s business fell 80% during the pandemic.
4. The global ride-hailing market is expected to decline from $60.5 billion in 2019 to $52.07 billion in 2020. However, by 2023, the market is predicted to recover and reach $85.48 billion.
Taxi and Private Hire Services
In recent years, traditional private hire and taxi fleets have had to deal with competition from ride-hailing players, pressuring them to innovate to stay relevant. As with ride-hailing, taxi and private hire services have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Looking to the future, the sector is suggested to recover and to expand past pre-COVID levels by 2023.
5. In Berlin, at the height of the pandemic, an estimated 3,000 of the (nearly) 8,000 taxis were taken out of service.
6. In Madrid, taxi services experienced a 90% drop in customers at the crisis' peak.
7. Overall, the global taxi and limousine service market is expected to decline from $83.0 billion in 2019 to $46.7 billion in 2020. However, by 2023, the market is estimated to reach $94.4 billion.
Since the middle of 2018, the global car sales market has been falling; the popularity of ride-hailing and car-sharing schemes contributing to this decline.
The impact of coronavirus on car sales and usage is mixed. On the one hand, the closure of factories has temporarily stalled the sales market. Additionally, the carless cities emerging from lockdowns have emphasized environmental concerns surrounding road traffic. In contrast, nervousness over virus spread may increase the number of private car journeys with many survey respondents making their intention to drive more clear.
8. Global sales of passenger cars are forecast to fall to 59.5 million units in 2020, down from 79.6 million units in 2017.
9. In a UK survey, 22% of drivers said they would drive less post-lockdown after seeing the environmental benefits of fewer cars.
However, contradictory to the above...
10. In Wuhan, China, private car usage nearly doubled when lockdown ended, rising from 34% before to 66% after.
11. In a recent US survey of commuters, 93% said they are using personal vehicles more (since the outbreak began).
The coronavirus crisis has hard-hit public transportation. Even as lockdowns have ended and people begin to travel again, passenger nervousness over the perceived safety of taking public transit has stifled usage. Current estimations suggest that public transit ridership numbers will be impacted for some time post-virus.
12. According to Moovit, at the height of the pandemic. Major cities experienced considerable drops in public transport usage. Including:
● - 89% (Madrid)
● - 80% (London and South East England)
● - 76% (Singapore)
● - 75% (New York City)
● - 55% (Hong Kong)
13. In April and May, New York City subway ridership was overtaken by bus usage for the first time: 444,000 on the subway versus 505,000 on the buses.
14. 57% of people surveyed in the US revealed that they would be much less likely to use public transport if COVID-19 infected their community. Similarly, 61% of Britons are nervous about taking public transport post-lockdown.
15. The World Economic Forum envisions 80% - 90% of passengers returning to public transit by the end of 2020. Full recovery is not anticipated until mid-2022.
Micromobility and particularly shared device schemes have been a rising star over the last 5 years, demonstrating rapid growth and changing the face of travel for good. The COVID-19 crisis has temporarily slowed the global market - with the removal of devices a notable factor. However, there are several positives for the sector, including, in some regions, usage climbing and individual journey length increasing. Post-pandemic, the market is expected to make a healthy recovery.
16. At the height of the crisis, global micromobility usage dropped between 60 - 70%.
17. However, survey respondents in Seoul and Berlin stated that during the pandemic usage in these cities increased. Of those asked, 21% used shared scooters weekly during the outbreak (up from 17% pre-outbreak.)
18. China has even reported a 150% increase in shared bike or cycle rides.
19. According to a US company that rents scooters, average trip distances have grown 26% since the start of the pandemic.
20. By 2024, it is suggested that 4.6 million shared scooters will be in operation worldwide, and by 2026 the market is estimated to rise to nearly $7 billion.
Inevitably, how we choose to get around is changing. The digital revolution, combined with increased choice and awareness for what benefits the environment and our society as a whole has heavily contributed to this change. The coronavirus crisis has deeply affected the industry, with most sectors struggling in the short term. Looking to the coming years, much of the industry should recover, with an emphasis on those who promote safe and sustainable travel.