3 reasons why Cities are a key actor of the Urban Mobility Revolution

3 reasons why Cities are a key actor of the Urban Mobility Revolution

1. Cities make the rules

Unlike tech companies, which are free to move around in cyberspace and therefore can get away with not playing by the rules, urban transport companies need public infrastructure to operate. They must thus respect the city in which they have set foot if they don’t want to risk being shut down.

Uber, despite being one of the world’s most popular apps, has already been banned from several cities across the world. London, for instance, refused to renew the ride-hailing service’s licence after September 30th, due to a “lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications”.

More and more cities are run by elected mayors (V.S designated mayors) which means that they are becoming largely independent. It also means that these mayors are answerable to the citizens who voted for them and want to show them that they have their best interests at heart. Many cities have decided to ban diesel and fuel motor cars to protect urbanites’ health. Take Paris: mayor Anne Hidalgo has promised to ban diesel cars – which represent 66% of cars in France – by 2025, though the car industry is strong and there is no national agenda on this matter.

2. Cities create the mobility they want

Each city has its own needs and vision.

Singapore, for instance, has massively invested in Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) to become a smart city which optimises its commuters’ trips.

Paris has declared it wants to become the world’s bicycle capital and has allocated 150 million euros to the “Plan Vélo 2015-2020” which will double the length of bike lanes amongst other improvements.

Meanwhile, now that it’s clear the future of mobility is electric, many cities have started to invest in developing charging stations, like Paris with its Belib’ network which was launched a year ago.

3. Cities are the gatekeepers

To operate in a city, you need to get the rights to come in. This is especially true for shared mobility. In Paris, the Velib bike-sharing program was run, up until now, by JCDecaux, but the market was recently won by Smoove. This means that the former company is going to have to remove all of its infrastructure to allow the new one to take its place.

Meanwhile, the Chinese dockless bike service Ofo had to earn the French capital’s blessing before being able to spread its yellow bikes in Paris at the beginning of December.

Automakers used to have a direct relationship with the customer, but now that they need to develop new mobility services to stay in the game, they’re having to deal with cities. This is what Daimler and BMW with their car-sharing services car2go and ReachNow are learning, and why they’re working on building relationships with cities everywhere to ensure their services have room to grow.

At Autonomy, we understand the key role cities play in the urban mobility revolution, which is why we invited 40 cities to join our event in Paris this past October.

Let’s get our cities moving!

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