New mobility is coming to a city near you – will it be sustainable?

(Eco Business, 21 Jan 2019) With the right policies, these tech-advanced and data-driven modes of transport can ensure safe and reliable transportation for all.

More than 300 new bike-share services were launched worldwide last year. Ride-hailing services such as Uber and Didi Chuxing together provide more than 45 million rides a day. Electric scooters are accounting for more short trips in the places where they’re available and drones and autonomous vehicles are getting better every day.

These so-called “new mobility” services and technologies are not just a phenomenon in wealthy countries; middle- and low-income countries are also showing the way.

It’s an exciting time.

But governments can’t afford to sit back and be spectators—they need to ensure that this mobility revolution benefits everyone.

Advances in electric, autonomous and data-driven technologies are changing how people get around but also cities themselves. These changes could lead to healthier lifestyles, less traffic, fewer carbon emissions and pollution, and less road space needed for cars.

Already, between 50 and 90 per cent of trips in sub-Saharan African cities are by minibus and other “paratransit” vehicles. Digital mapping projects in places like Nairobi and Accra show how these traditional services can be integrated and optimized for better service and less congestion.

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Eco Business, 21 Jan 2019: New mobility is coming to a city near you – will it be sustainable?