The Future of Mobility and Opportunities for Investors, Entrepreneurs, and Businesses

The Future of Mobility

Mobility or the ability of people to move from place to another has been an integral and vital part of our existence.

No matter how much we work from home or live in self sufficient gated communities, we still need to travel once in a while.

And for those for whom mobility is a daily necessity, it is harder to commute to and fro to their workplaces everyday without some means of comfortable means of transportation.

Moreover, with the world urbanizing at an increasing pace, it is more than ever necessary for planners and policymakers to deal with the problems associated with mobility in urban areas.

No wonder that leading experts on urban problems and entrepreneurs and investors often meet in glitzy conferences to discuss the problems of mobility.

In this context, it is worth noting that ever since the emergence of ride sharing and aggregator firms such as Uber, mobility is now being talked about in a futuristic sense.

In other words, the long cherished dream of having comfortable and at the same time, affordable forms of transport can now be realized with futuristic concepts such as Bullet Trains, Metro Services, Helicopter Taxis, Air Taxis, and the ubiquitous and always on cabs and sharing apps.

Are the Solutions Realistic, Feasible, Affordable, and Sustainable?

Having said that, one must be circumspect about getting too excited with the new concepts as mentioned above. The reasons range from affordability and reliability to the very real aspect of sustainability given the pathetic state of urban infrastructure in most cities around the world.

Indeed, when Uber was launched, it was heralded as a revolution in mobility only to be bogged down in traffic and surly drivers who are often rude and harass their passengers.

On the other hand, cab aggregators such as Uber have relived the pressure on urban roads and infrastructure by replacing private cars and vehicles and hence, contributing to a significant change in the way mobility happens.

However, it is a moot point as to what the actual benefits are since substituting private vehicles by other vehicles hardly solves the problem.

This is the reason why many urban experts suggest bringing in more ideas to solve the problem rather than going all out with one or two ideas that seem transformative but turn out to exacerbate the problem.

Some Other Solutions and why the Private Sector Needs to Get Involved?

Thus, there is an urgent need to examine how the future of mobility would be and what steps the governments can take as far as decongesting the roads is concerned.

A good place to start would be to involve businesses and investors by dangling the carrot of incentives and profits that can be earned by solutions to problems associated with mobility.

For instance, it would be great if the Metro services are operated by private players with last mile connectivity being offered by them as well so that commuters can hop on to the metro and then hop off and take the bus to their office from the metro station.

In addition, solutions such as Air Taxis and Helicopter services to be used to ferry commuters who can afford them can also be significant approaches that would go a long way in addressing the problems associated with mobility.

Apart from this, suburban rail operated on dedicated corridors is another solution that would make the commute smoother and at the same time, bring in revenues for the investors.

Thus, there are a host or a range of solutions that can be implemented which can involve the private sector so that there is a mutually beneficial arrangement from the partnership between them.

Comfortable Mobility for the Rich and Road Rage for the Rest?

Having said that, it is also the case that more often than not, most solutions when discussing the future of mobility are only targeted at the middle and upper classes and not at the poor.

Indeed, how many people can afford Uber or an Air Taxi and instead, would settle for an overcrowded local train. Moreover, how many can afford even Two Wheelers, let alone Cars.

Hence, it is important to note that any discussion on the future of mobility would necessarily have to take into account the issue of affordability.

Unless we address this aspect, there is likely to be social unrest and road rage on the roads as can be seen from the frequent incidents of accidents turning into fights and flaring up as clashes.

Therefore, it is our contention that there is an urgent need to address mobility in all aspects and not only for the few.

While the rich can take a Helicopter to commute to and fro, what options do the poor have? Moreover, with the middle classes also living in walled off communities and working from home and having all amenities inside their complexes, again it is those who are the most vulnerable that are the most affected and hence, it is time for the various stakeholders to address this imbalance.

Misguided Priorities

Lastly, it is of immense concern that the Indian Government is spending on Bullet Trains instead of using that money to improve the condition and the situation of roads. Moreover, the so-called Smart Cities project has failed to take off and this is compounding the problems as well. In addition, the Metro services that operate in many Indian cities are yet to provide Last Mile Connectivity. Therefore, to conclude, the time is now for investors, entrepreneurs, businesses, and the government to come together and address the Future of Mobility.

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