Mobility as a Service – One Size Doesn’t Fit All


Mobility as a Service – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

There’s an article over on about automakers not wanting you to by cars. It’s rather interesting – The authors posit that with billions of people moving into cities, by 2050 individual ownership of automobiles will be impossible and modes of travel like ride-hailing services, public transportation, e-bikes, e-scooters and, eventually, robo-taxis will be the way people will get around. This “Mobility as a Service” has automobile companies, not wanting to be left out of this transportation market and moving slowly away from selling individual vehicles.

As usual, the biases of the authors take over. Note that private vehicles aren’t even mentioned as a possible way for people to get around. They point out that 94% of the time POVs are not in use. Let’s think about that for a minute. My car is 14 years old and runs great. However, if it had been on the road say 75% of the time, rather than six, It would have 12.5 times as many miles on the odometer, or two million miles.

In Elon Musk’s world, where you rent out you car to others to keep it on the road, or in the article’s author’s world where AVs are in constant motion, what kind of technology will exist where vehicles run around 150,000 miles a year. Just how long do we expect them to last before replacement? How high will be the maintenance costs? How do those numbers factor in?

In any event, no matter how long they can run, will folks not living in megalopolises want to take scooters and bikes on 20 mile trips to the store, or school? Roughly three billion people will not be living in these huge cities. How are all these folks going to get around? My guess – POVs.

Seems like a pretty large market to me. Just some things to think about.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. “Let’s think about that for a minute”

    You just summed up the whole issue with the whole Mobility/Autonomous/Ride-share “bandwagon” that has overwhelmed us over the past few years. It sounds great UNTIL you really start to think about it.

  2. Recent analysis of census and other data ( shows that suburbs are growing more than urban or rural areas. People in the suburbs are less likely to ride transit because the service to employment locations either doesn’t exist or takes much longer than driving. It’s hard to imagine that these individuals, as well as many urban dwellers who work in the suburbs, are going to ride-hail, take a scooter, or ride public transportation. Newspapers and columnists are full of predictions about dense urban living and no use of cars. Reviews of the data definitely don’t take you to those conclusions, particularly right away. I agree with your column, and with rta’s comment.

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