18 Oct 17

Companies and cities must work together for future mobility

It's a message we've heard loud and clear from various participants to New Mobility World at last month's IAA in Frankfurt. And the latest report by Deloitte confirms it: Cities are the essential focal points of future mobility. This has important implications for corporate mobility strategies. 

'Toward a Mobility Operating System' is the title of Deloitte's new report. It details the mobility challenge facing cities today: how rising population pressures are increasing the challenge to provide adequate traffic infrastructure. 

Operating System
The answer, suggested by the report: the aforementioned Mobility Operating System (or mOS). Like phones and computers, cities too require an operating system, the report argues: a common platform that creates visibility, interoperability and optimisation of urban transportation networks.

The report then delves deeper into the key capabilities and technological components that such an mOS would require. In so doing, Deloitte has created a road map for those who want to help create the future of mobility, says Scott Corwon, Managing Director of Deloitte and practice leader of its Future of Mobility taskforce. Crucially, he says that “Public and private sector leaders in cities across the U.S. and around the world are key to realising this dream”.  

Urban laboratories
Yes, private sector participation is needed. This includes not just the expertise, innovation and investment of the corporate world, but also the participation of corporate fleets – often the first ones to trial new products and services. Corporate involvement is already helping to transform countless cities across the world into urban laboratories of innovative mobility solutions. 

But many corporate actors have not yet sufficiently grasped the importance of cities, and this is reflected in the structure of their fleet management – with global, regional and national levels, but hardly any attention to the urban level. 

Transnational platform
Urban mobility is not just a 'lower' level of engagement with local actors; as the Deloitte report correctly surmises, the urban environment, with its similar challenges and opportunities across borders, is a transnational platform. Despite the fact that cities still too often tend to work in isolation, and thus are always in danger of ‘reinventing the wheel’. 

If, as suggested by the report, these cities will shortly be developing an mOS that not only brings visibility, interoperability and optimisation to urban transportation but also spans across single cities to offer a wide scope for harmonized implementation, just imagine the benefits to those corporate players who were in on the game from the start. And vice versa.  

Authored by: Frank Jacobs