By 2025, more than half the world’s population will live in cities of 10 million residents or more and today’s global car census of 1 billion will likely double by 2050. In this way, many urban planners and automakers, and in particular Ford Motor Company, envision the potential for global gridlock on a scale the world has never seen before.
Car companies are now challenged to develop a better connected, more intelligent transport system for cities that will solve the challenge of urban mobility. In order to work towards this solution, auto companies are launching initiatives to better understand how consumer behavior is changing – including developing smarter in-car technologies, innovative connected vehicles and experimenting with alternative forms of car ownership and sharing models to identify long-term solutions that improve the customer experience.
For instance, Ford just launched the all-new SYNC 3, a new communications and entertainment system feature that can help a driver find the shortest and most fuel efficient routes to their destination.
One sector that auto companies are exploring is the idea of connected vehicles. With closer collaboration between carmakers, and greater use of technology, an interconnected system can link pedestrians, bicycles, cars and commercial and public transport. For example, innovations such as the connected car provide multiple options to use vehicles more efficiently. Connected vehicles would not only speak to each other, but also the roadways and networks around them, creating a smart vehicle network. Although there is no off-the-shelf remedy to “global gridlock,” smart vehicles can enhance mobility and, at the same time, reduce congestion, accidents and pollution.
These smart vehicles will not only provide a safer, more efficient driving experience, but will provide automakers with data that will help transportation providers better understand their customers needs, and help identify and develop the right technologies to enhance our global driving systems.
Another area that car companies are exploring is car sharing and on-demand transportation, which have been the embodiment of the sharing economy – led by companies like Uber, ZipCar, Lyft and RelayRides. These services are currently an enticing alternative to many urban-dwelling customers, and car companies are taking a closer look at consumers’ car sharing behaviors. For example, in New York and London, through a service of premium mini-buses offering on-demand transportation, Ford’s Dynamic Social Shuttle experiment aims to understand the social dynamics and routing requirements of shared transportation. Targeting a “white space” opportunity between traditional city bus services and on-demand personal transportation services, Ford aims to lower costs, improve efficiency and still satisfy individual needs.
So what does the future hold for transport in our cities? On Wednesday February 25, join Erica Klampfl, Future Mobility Manager at Ford Motor Company, for a discussion on how we will get along in a dense world and what’s to come in order to make our movements more efficient. Erica will be joined by Reilly Brennan, Stanford University Transportation Guru; Jamyn Edis, Founder and CEO, Dash and Colin Nagy, Executive Director at Barbarian Group.