Insight: Environmental concerns driving mobility uptake

January 27, 2017

2017 will be a pivotal year for mobility services. According to Tim Albertsen, Group Deputy CEO at ALD International, demand for car sharing and other mobility services has been limited to date, but momentum is beginning to build. Major corporations are becoming the fastest adopters of new multi-mobility solutions, as reducing the size and emissions profile of corporate fleets becomes a key focus of corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. 

ALD Automotive has offered a corporate car-sharing scheme since 2008, but this still only accounts for around 2% of company revenues. However, the company expects significant uptake this year, particularly from large corporates, and has just launched a new ride-sharing scheme, ALD Community, in collaboration with WayzUp. 

Albertsen told Autovista Intelligence that ALD Automotive is starting to see the role of the traditional fleet manager die out. A new generation of younger fleet specialists who access the sharing economy in their personal life are beginning to expand the traditional responsibilities of the fleet manager into mobility management. They are looking for a different relationship with their leasing provider – one that helps them track more than just costs. Tracking the CO2 emissions profile of the fleet is increasingly important as companies aim to reduce their environmental profile. However, it is also about providing support for the mobility manager to create programmes that allow staff to spend their mobility budget in the way that suits them best – be that investing the full amount on a luxury company car, or just a proportion on a more modest car and the remainder on taxi and train fares and using car-sharing services. 

This is beginning to really drive momentum in the mobility market, leading Albertsen to predict that the long anticipated growth in uptake of mobility services will come in 2017. The technology is now in place to facilitate mobility services. Younger travellers have a different attitude to car ownership. But perhaps most importantly, political developments are forcing people to reconsider car use. Albertsen commented that commuters in Paris have been unable to use their cars on a daily basis in three out of the past eight weeks. Being inconvenienced to that degree really forces people to rethink their travel patterns. 

However, by way of a caveat, he adds that timing has always been the major challenge in the mobility sector. Fleet and leasing companies have long expected rapid growth in demand for mobility services, but that has yet to materialise. The critical issue for these companies is to be prepared when that change does come; they need to have the products, skills and services in place for when demand increases to successfully capitalise on interest in mobility services but without taking their eye off the core business that still makes up the vast majority of revenues. 

One factor that could arrest or promote development of the mobility sector is access to data. In the Netherlands, the government has ensured open access to data on travel patterns. If public transport, ride-sharing and car-sharing providers cannot easily tap into this data, they are unable to appropriately position their services and ensure they can offer the right transport solutions at the right place and at the right time. If city authorities do not provide open access to data, then development of the entire mobility sector will be hindered. 

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