Urban Connected Mobility
Germany’s transportation sector accounts for just under a third of the country’s total primary energy consumption and 17.7 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly two thirds of traffic-related CO2 emissions are attributable to private transportation. These ratios single transportation out as a major target for energy-efficient technologies. Shortening the distances traveled by applying smart mobility management and reducing traffic congestion times are promising ways to lower energy consumption and cut the resultant emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases. At the same time, more must be done to incorporate alternative drive technologies in mobility concepts. While substantial amounts are set aside for investment in traditional infrastructure projects, the much-vaunted strategy of joining up transportation systems – which would make it easier to use different modes of transport – is still in its early days. Urban connected mobility is a digital system that passenger transportation (both the infrastructure and the vehicles) in urban areas. Within this system, a host of players are busily developing innovative business models.
The digital system urban connected mobility is made up of lots of individual components, Private individuals, companies and public institutions have access to various means of transportation, such as (shared or privately owned) cars and public transportation services. Bookings for individual means of transportation can be made separately, with (mobile) Internet offerings supported in the majority of cases. Individual guidance is also provided in the form of parking guidance and navigation systems. Existing transportation infrastructure elements (such as traffic lights) are equipped with sensors, while filling and charging stations permit cars powered by every conceivable drive technology to be used on a large scale.
Digitalization brings these hitherto separate elements together, with virtual traffic management forming the core component. This is where data from users, means of transportation, infrastructure and destinations comes together to be processed and passed on. The management core analyzes information about mobility preferences and destinations and updates it in the system. Urban connected mobility can thus be built around the four keys to digital transformation.
Companies involved in the digital system
The many facets of this digital system are reflected in the large number of companies that operate on this market (see Figure). Solutions for parking management are marketed by firms such as Parkpocket and ParkTAG, while Cisco and HP play an active role in the field of digital data. Carzapp and Getaround focus on user access, whereas QNX and Delphi are advancing the automation of mobility. Similar to what we have seen with the other digital systems, urban connected mobility is thus shaped by a singular diversity of specialized companies – a fact which explains the considerable number of players.
As with the other digital systems, the varying backgrounds of the companies involved are again a striking feature. Sharing providers such as Scoo.me and Drivy are competing with transportation companies such as MyTaxi and Uber. Via the subsidiary companies DriveNow, car2go and Flinkster, automotive OEMs such as BMW and Daimler are now also committed to this segment, as are traditional mobility service providers like Deutsche Bahn. Additionally, automotive suppliers Continental and Bosch, sensor company Trilumina and telecoms firm Cisco all provide smart solutions for vehicle connectivity. In the race to interconnect individual components, industrial conglomerates of the caliber of Siemens line up against niche specialists such as Elektrobit. At the same time, card services such as Here and Atlatec are fighting Parkbob and other service providers to secure market share.
Start-ups like Quizzit, Carjump and Plugsurfing assume a key role in the digital system urban connected mobility. Cloud-based user connectivity, mobility offerings and infrastructure put them at the strategic nodes of digitalization, where they drive the development of digital business models. In the individual segments, this role positions them as the link tech-heavy firms and customers. It also lets them benefit from comparatively low investment and development costs.