The Future of Mobility: what's next?

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Framing the future of mobility

Using behavioral economics to accelerate consumer adoption

When it comes to shared mobility and autonomous vehicles, winning consumers over could be as challenging as developing the technology. How can organizations at the leading edge of the changing mobility ecosystem encourage adoption of these new modes of transport.

The user adoption hurdle

The extended automotive industry is in the early stages of a potentially transformative evolution, one in which today’s personally owned, driver-driven vehicles will likely travel alongside shared and self-driving cars. Incumbent players and new entrants are working hard to make that shift a reality, investing billions in developing autonomous driving systems and shared mobility platforms. Governments at all levels are mulling over how to regulate a highly transformed transportation landscape, while also encouraging innovation. For many advocates of the future of mobility, the expected societal benefits of these changes are self-evident: less congestion, lower emissions, greater efficiency, lower costs, and most compelling saved lives.

But even if we accept the advantages, the speed with which this future vision arrives likely hinges not only on technological and regulatory advances, but also on how quickly consumer expectations and behavior shifts. How we get from point A to B is ultimately an individual, rather than a collective, choice that is influenced by a multitude of factors, from the obvious (cost, convenience) to the obscure (perceived prestige, peer pressure). Just because a new technology offers benefits “on paper” does not mean customers will ultimately embrace it. This is especially true with something as deeply ingrained in our individual and collective consciousness as the automobile. For many, owning and driving a car is a rite of passage and a symbol of freedom and prestige reinforced by decades of advertising.

In our report, we explore how limitations in human cognition can lead us to delay or forego adopting a new technology (in this case, shared and autonomous vehicles), even if that technol­ogy provides demonstrable individual and col­lective benefits. While research in behavioral economics and social psychology has revealed deep and consistent biases that can lead to sub­optimal choices, it has also uncovered ways to potentially overcome these mental limitations. By constructing choices and framing new mo­bility options in ways that encourage adoption, companies, governments, nonprofits, and oth­ers can help ensure that the future of mobility arrives sooner rather than later.

Framing the future of mobility

The promise of the future of mobility

A series of converging trends, both technological and social, seem poised to dramatically reshape the ways that people and goods move about. In particular, the confluence of shared, on-demand transport via ridesharing and carsharing and the development of fully autonomous vehicles could transform the nature of mobility. The implications of this shift are potentially profound, affecting not only the automotive industry but also insurers, lenders, technology companies, telecom providers, energy suppliers, and governments at all levels. 

There could be a myriad of profound societal benefits as well. Traffic congestion could ease as autonomous vehicles safely follow one an other, inches apart, and fluidly navigate intersections. Electric powertrains coupled with lighter, more efficient cars promise to improve air quality and reduce energy consumption. Autonomous vehicles could eliminate many of the roughly 90 percent of vehicle accidents caused by human error, which, in the United States, contributes to approximately 30,000 traffic deaths each year. And shared self-driving cars could bring mobility to swaths of the population that are, today, effectively stranded, such as many elderly people.

At the individual level, the future of mobility could mean many fewer white-knuckle commutes, which researchers have consistently found to be a “particularly unpleasant” part of our days based on measures of subjective happiness. It means putting the time currently spent in transit (46 minutes per day, on average) to better use. It means getting the vehicle you need when you need it, not having to choose between a pickup that has an empty bed most of the time or forcing a chest of drawers into a hatchback during your annual trip to the flea market. It means more affordable mobility; the cost per mile of traveling might decline by as much as two-thirds, based on Deloitte’s analysis, as shared autonomous vehicles free drivers’ time and reduce insurance and financing costs. And it means no longer worrying about putting your teenage son or aging mother behind the wheel.

But even if the benefits of a world of shared self-driving cars seem self-evident, companies should not assume that consumers will reach a similar conclusion. In fact, a series of cognitive biases suggest that many people may be reluctant to relinquish their personally owned and driver-driven vehicles. Download the report 'framing the future of mobility' and read on how cognitive biases could slow the future of mobility.

The cognitive biases that could slow the future of mobility

In the report 'framing the future of mobility' we look into how human cognition leads to delay in adopting technological change that has individual and collective benefits? Just because technology offers benefits "on paper" does not mean customers will ultimately embrace it. This is especially true with something as deeply ingrained in our individual and collective consciousness as the automobile.

Want to know more on the Future of Mobility?

More information on how developments within the mobility landscape affects your business, please contact Frank de Bont at +31 (0)88 288 1572 and via mail FdeBont@deloitte.nl. Interested in our latest reports on the Future of Mobility, visit our Future of Mobility platform where we will publish new research, reports and interviews with thought leaders.

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