• Automobile Industry
  • Electric Mobility
  • Urban Mobility
  • Mobility Services
  • smart cities

Building Viable Mobility Services Will Require Business Ecosystem Connections

Sam Abuelsamid
May 22, 2020

Connectivity 8

No one ever said the mobility business was going to be easy. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, there were many challenges for providers and users. Convincing users that shared mobility is safe has become more challenging for the post-pandemic environment. Even if that can be achieved providers still have to tackle the convenience problem. To convince people they don’t need to own their own vehicle, the alternatives need to be as uncomplicated as possible.

The Personal Car’s History Influences Mobility Services

One of the reasons the car gained so much traction in the 20th century was its ability to go to and from just about anywhere. It wasn’t limited to rails or fixed routes like so many transit solutions. The car allowed people to live and work wherever they chose. The downsides to this change included suburban sprawl and motorways jammed with commuters. However, for many, the freedom of movement provided by the personal car was perceived to be a net positive, especially in the second half of the 20th century.

As more people have moved to cities in recent decades, affordable and accessible mobility can be difficult. Mass transit routes are inflexible by nature. For those who have to commute daily, taxis and ride-hailing services can be too costly to take from point to point. Micromobility, including shared bikes and scooters, has opened new modes of accessible transportation. But how do you coordinate a path through a multimodal mobility ecosystem while minimizing extended transitions along the way? 

Ride-Hailing Companies Partner with Micromobility Companies

Ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft and automakers such as Ford have invested in or acquired micromobility providers like JUMP, Lime, Gobike, and Spin. Uber and Lyft have integrated micromobility offerings into their main ride-hailing platform to help travelers go from one place to another with minimal disruption. Spin is largely a standalone service for Ford. Google has gone further than most companies with the integration of transit and mobility service data into its Maps app. Eventually, the app will likely incorporate the Waymo One and other robotaxi services.

One of the most recent acquisitions in the mobility industry involves Moovit coming under the umbrella of Intel’s Mobileye. Israel-based Moovit has been developing a platform to integrate a variety of mobility modes including mass transit to help travelers plan trips in real time. Intel Mobileye ranked 5th in the 2020 Guidehouse Insights Leaderboard: Automated Driving Vehicles. Like the other leading companies in the automated driving sector, Mobileye is paying attention to how the technology will be deployed and to building its virtual driver system. During a conference call discussing the Moovit acquisition, Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua emphasized the importance of Moovit’s data about where people are moving and how they are getting from place to place. Mobileye is targeting 2022 to launch its robotaxi services, which will integrate the knowledge that Moovit has gathered over the past 8 years.

This strategy will be critical to deploying mobility services that are commercially viable—something no one has accomplished yet. Whether this requires full vertical integration as in Mobileye’s case or a rich web of partnerships remains to be seen. Ride-hailing platform providers like Uber, Lyft, and DiDi Chuxing can bring value to the mobility puzzle with the trove of data they have collected over the past decade. Either way, removing the speed bumps in the mobility ecosystem is crucial to the success of mobility services.