Cities across the world are going through major growth and change. Today, 3.6 billion people are living in cities and by 2030, that number is expected to reach 5 billion. This growing number of urban residents has already presented issues like congestion, limited parking, and pollution which cost American cities over $300 billion in 2017. As the population continues to grow, so too will these issues. Before we find the solution, we need to first understand the problem.
It’s important to understand that traffic, congestion, and pollution are merely symptoms of the real problem. The problem is people movement, not traffic. In order to create efficient people movement and eventually alleviate the symptoms cities are currently facing, we need to build on three elements: mobility versatility, visibility, and optimization.
Creating a versatile mobility marketplace
The first building block of this solution is versatility. We need a versatile mobility market that offers a variety of services like public transportation, ride hailing services, bike sharing, and any other means of mobility-as-a-service. Emerging local mobility monopolies are causing an increasingly concentrated and inefficient market. This can be seen in New York City, where not so long ago there were 63,000 taxis on the streets. While ride-hailing monopolies solved part of the problem by enabling people to get from A to B, they’ve created a new problem by bringing the number of vehicles on the streets to over 100,000. This effects traffic and congestion, and of course, the local taxi companies that are unable to compete. Eventually, the biggest loser will be the consumer, as monopolies dominating the market will charge the highest price possible for their services.
Our solution to this issue is the HERE Mobility Marketplace which aims to build a healthy competitive mobility market that connects versatile supply and demand. The Mobility Marketplace allows anybody to plan and book their most suitable mobility solution. Every mobility service provider, whether it’s taxi, public transportation provider, or anything in between, gains access to demand, worldwide. Only when there is a wide variety of transportation possibilities available for everyone at the tip of their fingers, will our cities be able to manage people movement efficiently. However, a versatile marketplace on its own is not enough.
Enabling visibility for cities
Once there is a versatile and competitive marketplace for all mobility services, cities need to gain an understanding of how people are moving around; they need to have visibility of people movement. Today, cities are mainly seeing traffic patterns, which is just a symptom of the problem; they have little to no visibility to what actually causes these patterns. Because the mobility market is so fragmented, cities don’t usually have aggregated access to the full picture of people movement. Service providers have their own APIs, and their own means of gathering data, but often, cities don’t actually connect to every individual provider.
The missing link to mobility visibility is standardization, and that’s where the Mobility Marketplace comes in. When service providers are connected to the Marketplace, one central hub, cities will be able to have complete access to all the data from every transportation supplier covering all the different modes of mobility. Once cities have access to this data, they will better understand how people are moving. By gaining visibility into the mobility marketplace, cities will be ready for the third and final step in the pursuit of efficient people movement.
Optimizing for the future
When cities hold visibility and the knowledge of how people are moving within a versatile and competitive market, they can then optimize and improve the way people get from A to B. By deriving insights out of the full understanding of people movement, monitoring the effect of changes being made, and optimizing accordingly, cities can actually make efficient people movement a reality.
Having access to real-time data is another essential piece to effectively change the way people are moving. For example, during a big event, a city may want to increase parking prices in order to keep cars off the road. At some point cities will be able to advise residents to stay at work an extra half hour in order to beat the traffic and get home earlier. Once a city has a holistic view of people movement, it can better orchestrate how people actually move in real time.
We are standing at a pivotal point in time and if we find a way to collaborate now, we can help cities become Smart Cities. If we find ways to optimize people movement, we can win the mobility game and change the course of our future. At HERE Mobility, we are working to create the missing link towards a better future, and we are excited for what’s to come.
As we look ahead to CES 2019, we invite you to join us at booth 1407 in Westgate Pavilion, to explore how our smart mobility solutions are driving the future of Smart Cities.