“Mobility is everywhere. It models our way of seeing and organising our daily life.” Georges Amar formerly Prospective and Innovation director at RATP and author of Homo Mobilis


Description

Mobility is taking new directions as it spreads. According to French consultant and researcher George Amar, being mobile is an individual’s right, skill, behavior and…experience! Mobility is shaping our lives: it is no longer a perk but both a rule and a standard of our lifestyles. In a survey by the Urban Land Institute, 55% of Millennials said they consider it important that their home be in close proximity to public transportation. What matters today in mobility is the wealth of opportunities, encounters and experiences that it procures or facilitates. Besides, with our world being full of technology, intelligence, and information, mobility addresses savvy individuals and its emblems are not the train or the plane anymore, but rather shoes and smartphones. Mobility is a single notion that differentiates itself from that of transportation.

In a survey by the Urban Land Institute, 55% of Millennials said they consider it important that their home be in close proximity to public transportation.

Indeed, while transportation enables people to go from point A to point B, in the quickest and more efficient manner, mobility has an individual approach that goes beyond transportation: mobility is a “way of life”. Thirdly, the term also refers to the quality of a place, a city, and its ability to organize new usages of mobility. However, too much travel ends up being unsustainable and sometimes people undergo more moving than really desired. There are too many kilometres, too much CO2, congestion, gridlock, pollution, etc. Therefore, some advocate for “non-mobility”, while others vote for some sort of ethical mobility.

A new approach to time and space

Mobility is reshaping our relationship to time and space, making moving a more fluid experience. Time of travel is not that of transportation. Transportation is used to save time, to get there even quicker, whereas mobility is about “living time”. People want to take time to enjoy their ride: while moving they want to be able to read, work, communicate, get educated, distracted… which may explain the rise of urban biking. The European Cycling Federation says that for every car sold in Europe, almost two bicycles are sold. Car sales in the EU in 2011 reached over 13.1 million, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, while Coliped reports that more than 20 million bicycles were sold that year. In 2012, car sales declined an additional 8%. In terms of space, the place is no longer a place of origin or destination, it is the whole journey. From a broader perspective, the whole city has become a place of mobility: every place can be a meeting point, not a fixed point but a crossroads.

The European Cycling Federation says that for every car sold in Europe, almost two bicycles are sold. Car sales in the EU in 2011 reached over 13.1 million, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, while Coliped reports that more than 20 million bicycles were sold that year. In 2012, car sales declined an additional 8%.

There is an increasing number of crossing or traffic areas such as parks, cafes, and hotels that are considered as “third places”, in between the home and the office. Also, mobility is adapting to the growing importance granted to health: as this is a major concern for most of people, active transportation modes like walking, cycling, etc. are highly contributing to healthy lifestyles. Mobility also strengthens relationships with other people, as it is a means to create closer links, build new relationships, etc. And finally, mobility is shaping a new relationship with the environment, as the masses become more sensitive to pollution, and begin campaigning for the use of bikes or other eco-friendly vehicles.

New forms of home & travel

Travel is less about discovering new landscapes or cultures and more about being on the road for the freedom it brings and the experiences it allows. For instance, the “truck mania” represents what our modern world has lost in its constant race for virtual and digitalisation and wants to find again: freedom, independence, slow time. The vehicle is an ideal ambassador of this aspiration to a freer, more fluid and tangible mobility. Travel is adopting new formats. First, remote tourism has been made possible thanks to the advent of digital and innovative technologies (3D immersive teleconferencing, etc.), providing a mental escape. Second, accustomed to the immediacy offered by the web and attached to values of fun and discovery, the Millennial generation has given room for unexpected travel. For flexible consumers, the element of surprise keeps mobility spontaneous and exciting.

Through 2012, roughly 36 million Americans used a smartphone to research travel, versus 15.8 million for booking (NewMediaTrendWatch.com, August 2012).

The travel industry is carving out alternative travel planning that reinstates a little mystery. In fact, consumers use smartphones more often for research than booking. Through 2012, roughly 36 million Americans used a smartphone to research travel, versus 15.8 million for booking (NewMediaTrendWatch.com, August 2012). Meanwhile, new forms of homes are rising up: mobile houses, for example–small-sized habitats that house a single person and protect from noise and pollution of cities. Also, with home-office situations blossoming, more and more household machines and devices are adopting a “portable” version, pushing a desire for reduction (in volume, in numbers) of material possessions in order to be able to move anywhere and at any time.

Featured examples

 

Remote Control Tourist, Melbourne

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Melbourne’s tourist information office launched the Remote Control Tourist initiative over five days in October 2013. People from all around the world with an online connection could visit the city in real time through the lens of two remote tourists who visited top attractions, ate in renowned restaurants, hung out in cafes, chatted with locals and rode their bikes around town, according to online users’ demands. People from over 158 countries and 3,888 cities checked out the website, attracting more than 103,000 hits and over 150,000 views of YouTube videos.
Australia Australia, October 2013

 

GPS to get lost

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Leo Burnett Worldwide communication agency has developed the ‘Get Lost’ GPS for Jeep Argentina, which invites its user to experience the fun of getting lost on the way. First the GPS suggests to the driver to relax, then it guides him with indications such as “in 50 meters, turn where you want” or “if there is mud on the way, go for it”. This journey will lead the driver randomly to a beach, a mountain, etc. The beauty of it is about the journey itself , not the destination. A smart initiative that is reminiscent of the 6.0 random GPS by collective NoGo Travel, this initiative guarantees drivers never getting bored.
Argentina Argentina, May 2013

 

Drungli

Credit: Drungli’s Facebook page

Credit: Drungli’s Facebook page

With Drungli, your next travel destination will be guided by chance, not by choice. Drungli is a new online free service developed by two coach-surfers, encouraging travel, adventure and exploration of the world. Users must register their departure city and leaving dates, then the search engine displays a series of destinations throughout Europe – and probably elsewhere in the world soon – in ascending order of price. Right now Drungli offers two flexible functions, where people can search cheap flights depending on when they are free or where they want to travel, aiming to bring them some surprise getaways.
Hungary Hungary, May 2013

 

Chevrolet MyLink

Credit: Chevrolet.com

Credit: Chevrolet.com

Tech-savvy Brazilian motorists can now access their stored entertainment — including music, videos and photos — with ease, even while driving. General Motors’ Chevrolet Onix MyLink in-car multimedia system syncs to the user’s smartphone as soon as the user gets into the car. The Onix MyLink makes it possible to play music, watch videos, see photos, make calls via Bluetooth and even navigate with the GPS installed in the phone. It has a 7-inch touchscreen. The brand is targeting consumers between 25 and 35 years old, and the product is available in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. The Onix MyLink has additional features like an alarm, a pocketknife key, and electric door-lock and a window operating system.
Brazil Brazil, December 2013

 

Turtle Taxi

Credit: Turtle-taxi.tumblr.com

Credit: Turtle-taxi.tumblr.com

Turtle Taxi is a new concept that embodies the shift from transportation to mobility. While traditional taxis boast their efficiency to transport a client from point A to point B as fast as possible, these new taxis offer their passengers the opportunity to drive slowly in order for them to both enjoy a more relaxing trip and respect the environment. Each taxi incorporates a button on the back of the driver’s seat. If passengers are not in a rush, they can press the button to inform the driver that he can slow down the ride. In addition, the driver can adopt an eco-friendly drive by stopping the vehicle at a red light and start over more slowly. According to the taxi company, the system has already accumulated more than 6000 km of eco-driving, with a 15% increase in clients requesting to roll slowly.
Japan Japan, May 2014

Business & Marketing guidelines

1

Play the card of adaptability and flexibility. Create products that can adapt to different places, environments and contexts thanks to parameters or functionalities that evolve according to usages. Imagine products that are either modular or recomposable or both. Your objective is to provide a multi-usage object or a service that can be consumed in different places, at different times.

2

Be aspirational in your communication. Keep in mind that mobility and even more so travel is one of the most aspirational industries. Make your customers dream by embarking them on new destinations, new experiences.

3

Don’t hesitate to harness the recent but strong emergence of robotics in the mobility space in order to provide convenience, fun and even performance to your consumers who are always eager for innovation and new experiences.

Summary

  • What matters today in mobility is the wealth of opportunities, encounters and experiences it procures by our moves, facilitated by mobile devices and geolocation.
  • Mobility is reshaping our relationship to time and space, making moving a more fluid experience.
  • In a survey by the Urban Land Institute, 55% of Millennials said they consider it important that their home be in close proximity to public transportation.
  • Travel is less about discovering new landscapes or cultures and more about being on the road for the freedom it brings and the experience it allows us to live. There is a new aspiration for a freer, more fluid and slow mobility.

Experts that we recommend

bruno-marzloff Bruno Marzloff
Sociologist & founder of urban mobility consultancy Chronos & author of book Pour une mobilité libre et durable (FYP, 2009)
georges-amar Georges Amar
French futurist & author of book Homo mobilis – Le nouvel âge de la mobilité (FYP, 2010)
philippe-gargov Philippe Gargov
Geographer, digital city specialist & founder of [pop-up] urbain blog