The Primordial Soup of On-Demand Mobility

Stephen Zoepf and I continued our collaboration on analyzing key components of next-generation mobility. In this second article we focus on on-demand mobility services, they issues they face, and the opportunities they have. The piece is pertinent to the conversation about California’s AB5 and the conversation it is raising. It also provides a good preview of topics I am discussing in my upcoming book.

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The Automotive Industry at a Crossroads

Recently I have been collaborating with Stephen Zoepf, Executive Director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford on the challenges facing the incumbent automotive industry because of the emergence of new business models and technologies. The piece below is the first of what we hope to be a series.

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Seven Implications of Multimodal And Shared On-Demand Mobility

On-demand mobility services continue to evolve fast. New solutions are introduced constantly to address changes in consumer urban transportation tastes, or address shortcomings of existing offerings. Consumers demand for personalized transportation solutions that are affordable, convenient, and safe has led to the rapid growth of ride-hailing.  But in cities where it is most popular, single passenger ride-hailing is a major contributor to traffic congestion and lengthening travel times leading to deteriorating passenger experience. We need to find solutions that increase the passenger throughput per mile and permanently remove vehicles from streets. Micromobility and new forms of ridesharing emerged in part to address these problems but also to provide lower cost transportation alternatives. They are now being combined with ride-hailing to offer multimodal transportation. Multimodal and shared on-demand mobility will have seven implications that will require careful consideration.

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Before Regulating Next-Generation Mobility Data, We Must Understand That Data

The congressional and European Parliament testimonies of Facebook’s CEO focused attention on Internet and ecommerce corporations and startups whose business models rely on the collection and exploitation of big data, with personal data being a major component. Legislators and the public at large came to realize a) the leverage such companies now possess through the dominant positions of the free and frequently personalized services they offer in exchange for the data they collect, b) the risks associated with not properly safeguarding this data, c) the legislators lack of detailed understanding about how the data is collected and used by these companies and their partners, and d) how difficult it will be to regulate the collection, processing, AI-based exploitation, and use of this data in a way that is agreeable to both consumers and businesses. These issues are re-emerging as more connected vehicles are shipped and will become more critical as companies using autonomous vehicles in a variety of services start to employ big data in insights-enabled business models. As we consider the monetization of transportation-related data it is necessary to understand who the main generators and users of this data are, who owns each type of generated data, the risks that may arise from mishandling the collected data, and whether existing and proposed regulations relating to autonomous vehicles and more broadly next-generation mobility suffice or need to be augmented.

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Five Categories of On-Demand Mobility Services Companies

On-Demand Mobility Services, and particularly ride-hailing, have emerged as a strong option for consumer urban transportation. In the process, ride-hailing has disrupted the taxi and limo industries and could next disrupt public transportation and last-mile goods delivery. Nowhere is this more evident than in cities such as New York and San Francisco. Other mobility services such as shared ride-hailing, and micromobility, as well as various forms of microtransit and car sharing are also showing robust growth. In a previous post I organized automotive OEMs into five categories. Using a small set of dimensions I created a similar structure for the companies offering on-demand mobility services, focusing particularly on ride-hailing services. In this post I present my first attempt to organize these companies into five categories based on how they approach next-generation mobility and the value they offer to their customers.

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