AI is viewed by many exclusively as a prediction technology. The availability of large, diverse, and information-rich data sets combined with the power of neural networks, and more recently with the addition of Foundation Models and Large Language Models, has been responsible for achieving incredible results even in complex, multi-faceted situations. Every aspect of new mobility has benefited from AI’s prediction power. New mobility will continue to reap even more impressive rewards. Getting there will be accomplished as new mobility’s AI systems play three roles.
One of the main theses developed in Transportation Transformation is that, though still young, the app-based on-demand mobility services companies will need to transform before they can fully capture the opportunity afforded by new urban mobility. The book presents the decisions such companies must make and a framework that prescribes specific transformations consistent with these decisions. For some, the transformation has already begun. But will these decisions and transformations be equally applicable to legacy on-demand transportation companies and help them compete more effectively against their app-based disruptors?
Several megatrends will necessitate the transformation of urban mobility from one that is centered around the privately owned vehicle to one that is offered as a service, combines multiple modalities, and promotes sharing. The pandemic forced many of us to work from home and have goods delivered there, in the process causing us to rethink our mobility needs and practices in the context of urban travel. Work-related mobility deserves important consideration because about 30% of daily urban trips pre-pandemic were related to commuting. Many of the practices that will emerge from this rethinking will have their roots to the changes we made during the pandemic and could lead to a new normal for urban mobility.
There is no question that the pandemic is having a big impact on new mobility. Passenger transportation is down as reported by the dramatic decreases in public transportation ridership and mobility services rides. At the same time, goods delivery services are growing fast as more households are adopting Ecommerce. With these changes as a backdrop and realizing that many of them will stay with us post pandemic, what innovations and news are worth paying attention to?
June proved an extremely important month to the ongoing transformation of urban transportation.