Fast-moving targets: Challenges and trends in the corporate mobility market has been saved
Fast-moving targets: Challenges and trends in the corporate mobility market
Companies should act now and reconsider their corporate mobility policy
The Netherlands may be known for bicycles, but almost three quarters of all travelled kilometres are covered by car (1). In 2019, the total Dutch fleet grew with nearly 2% and is now counting almost 10 million cars, of which approximately 19% is considered a corporately owned car (or in Dutch, ‘auto van de zaak’) . Moreover, other statistics point to a mobility system that is reaching its limits in terms of traffic jams and CO2 levels.
Written by Imre van Impelen, Dirk Reuser and Willem Christiaan van Manen
It’s easy to recognise that current solutions and standards aren’t rising to the
three biggest current mobility challenges:
- Capacity: How can we keep Dutch citizens moving? How do we make the best use of available space and transportation modes? And how can we do this with a decentralised decision-making structure in the Netherlands? Mobility as a Service (MaaS) offers a beacon of hope, but we have yet to see full acceptance and optimum application.
- Sustainability: How do we reduce the ecological impact of an increasing demand for transportation? Our need for mobility is causing carbon emissions to keep rising. Traveller and cargo stakeholders are struggling to reduce, measure and track the carbon footprint as the demand for transportation increases. We need more drastic measures to address how we move from point A to point B while reducing the overall carbon footprint.
- COVID-19 impact: How mobility will look like in the long run remains uncertain. Will we predominantly work from home? Will we still use public transport in the same way we did before? Will other modes of transportation arise? This makes any predictions on both the future demand and supply of mobility very difficult, hence making it very complex for government bodies and private companies to adapt.
Dutch corporations have an important role to play in shaping better country-wide mobility, but many of their own corporate mobility policies are not flexible or forward-thinking enough to cope with all concerns. Now there is a unique chance to change. Current circumstances have resulted in a weaker demand for mobility, with an opportunity to reduce mobility costs and free up funds for other investments. CEOs and CHROs should be assessing potential scenarios and recalibrating their corporate vision and policies to help move the Netherlands,
as a whole, toward a sustainable, safer and seamless mobility system.
Forces of change
Unfortunately, tailoring a corporate mobility policy to such goals is complicated by design, because of the large pool of stakeholders involved: employees, the board, HR, procurement, IT and risk, as well as any type of fleet support department. Besides these internal stakeholder complexities, we also see the following four fast-changing forces that influence the Dutch corporate mobility market and should be factored into policy revision.
1. Need for mobility
Big picture: COVID-19 will continue to make mobility needs highly uncertain. Forty-nine per cent of the Dutch workforce want to work from home (WFH) more in the future and work travel is diminishing as digitalisation of work accelerates. Even when freedom and confidence to travel is restored, 20 per cent of public transport users expect to look for alternatives. Moreover,
safety and public-transportation regulations are subject to become stricter.
Next move: Corporate leaders should be asking themselves, How much mobility do we need?
Big picture: Fifty large Dutch companies, including Deloitte Netherlands, have pledged to halve their carbon emissions for corporate mobility by 2030 (compared to 2016). The Dutch government decided that in 2030 each sold car must be electric. And employees have applauded their employers’ social and environmental commitments – even showing greater productivity. Regardless
of these positive steps, it’s still difficult to create a future-proof mobility policy that balances sustainability with costs for staff.
Next move: Corporate leaders should be considering, How sustainable do we want to be?
3. Surge of new mobility modes and providers
Big picture: Incumbents, along with a wide range of new mobility providers, have launched an array of new and successful modes of transportation in the Dutch market in recent years. Examples are shared cars, electric scooters and car/bike subscriptions. They’re all poised to improve congestion and increase access to transportation for traditionally underserved communities. These concepts are often also enticing to new users, presenting an incentive for corporations to boost staff satisfaction by making them available for their employees. But this growing range of providers is creating a scattered landscape – an unconsolidated market, blocking full use of their potential. Corporate entities cannot (and often wish not to) interact with a long list of providers, as they want to avoid operational and financial complexity. Moreover, many new players’ standards for IT, security or (financial) operations are insufficient, limiting their ‘right to play’ with big corporations or compliance with government policies or regulations.
Next move: Corporate leaders should be deciding, How much will we make use of new forms of transportation?
4. MaaS gaining ground
Big picture: For MaaS to fundamentally change the mobility ecosystem in the Netherlands, the government has to re-determine the rules of the mobility game (a.o. implement mobility income tax). In addition, public and non-public transport service providers need to own their role on a MaaS platform. Finally, travellers need to adapt their travelling behaviour – with employees enabled by refined corporate mobility policies.
Next move: Corporate leaders should be seeking to answer, How does our mobility policy need to change, to benefit from the full potential of a MaaS platform (once available)?
How to adapt?
Given the current challenges of capacity, sustainability and changing mobility needs, most current mobility policies are no longer fit for purpose. Figure 1
shows that 5 out of 6 potential future scenarios demand that companies
seriously reconsider their mobility arrangement.
COVID-19 provides the perfect opportunity for companies to start rethinking and revamping their mobility policies, to remove any barriers standing in the way of a future-proof policy. A new policy should address such key questions as:
- Which new mobility arrangement will best cover the individual needs of employees, while enabling a post–COVID-19 balance of WFH, visiting clients or other business contacts, and spending time in the office?
- What is our stance on cost in relation to sustainability? How active a role do we want to take in enforcing sustainable travel?
- Which modes of transportation will we supply? Why? What impact will this have on how we ‘configure’ (eg, effect on our operating model, such as total parking required, contracts, IT security)?
To tailor a future-proof mobility policy that tackles the key mobility challenges, corporate leaders should begin answering these questions, and examining the effects of the four mobility forces on various stakeholder groups. The end result could be a mobility policy that includes: an increased focus on shared mobility to offer a seamless travel experience, enablement of an integrated MaaS platform, a fully digital experience with insightful and actionable (personal) dashboards, and fully electric, zero-emission mobility solutions.
Reaching that result can be extremely difficult; designing a new policy in the current environment forces a trade-off between benefits (satisfying employee and employer needs, and meeting sustainability goals), and increased implementation complexity (and, thus, costs). But whatever challenges
lie ahead, the process should start now, with decisions about how and when to
respond. This will allow a policy to develop, step by step, into one that is future
proof and directly supports business goals.
(1) “Verkeer en Vervoer”, Statline CBS, October 2018, https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/, accessed on 16 November 2020.