Eight ways how Covid-19 is impacting the future of mobility

15 December 2020 Consultancy-me.com

As part of its partnership with the World Government Summit, Sia Partners conducted a market analysis on the implications of Covid-19 on urban mobility in the Middle East. Leveraging global and regional research, and insights drawn from interviews with a panel of top industry leaders, the 40-page report puts forward eight trends that are deemed most relevant to the future of mobility.

Cycling / E-Scooters / Mopeds / Nano-vehicles

Short term impact: Increase
Medium term impact: Increase 

The rise of personal mobility will be accelerated by Covid-19 for users using their own assets. For sharing solutions, there will be a temporary deceleration. Given the low levels of investment required and flexibility of these solutions, it will be easier for cities to rapidly repurpose streets and public spaces to expand their capacity. 

Eight ways how Covid-19 is impacting the future of mobility 

Autonomous & connected vehicles

Short term impact: Unchanged
Medium term impact: Unchanged 

Autonomous vehicles are a long-term trend, which should continue its regular course. In the short-term, the largest sub-trend identified in autonomous vehicles is the demand for “moving things” rather than people, with the most immediate use cases in last mile delivery. In the medium-term, use cases of autonomous shuttles for passengers from point to point seem highly feasible. 

Further reading: Emirates one of the most primed for the advent of autonomous driving

Electric vehicles

Short term impact: Unchanged
Medium term impact: Increase 

Covid-19 will have a positive impact in shaping consumer behaviours, raising their “sustainable mindset.” In parallel, more electrical vehicle friendly policies in pro-electrification countries can be expected. All factors accounted for, Covid-19 should have a moderate accelerative effect on this trend, although constrained by local policies, incentives and geographical considerations.

Adoption will be highly related to local consumers realising potential savings of buying a car (thanks to local incentives and a decrease in total cost of ownership).

Further reading: Covid-19 Crisis is accelerating the transition to electrical driving

Car / Ride-sharing

Short term impact: Decrease
Medium term impact: Increase 

The impact of Covid-19 on this trend in the short-term is significant, as volumes of users of ride-hailing and car-sharing services have fallen across the world. In this case, trust is the main factor, and as long as trust starts increasing among the users, the trend may recover.

The large pressures on this trend in the medium and long term come from two fundamental factors, the resilience of the business model of the aggregators as well as the regulatory aspects. All experts consulted and the research analysed points towards a short-term deacceleration followed by a smooth rebound, maintaining the trend in the medium-term.

Further reading: GCC sharing economy reaches $10 billion mark, but challenges remain

Integrated MaaS

Short term impact: Unchanged
Medium term impact: Increase 

In the case of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), there are no indicators to either accelerate nor deaccelerate this trend. All experts in MaaS that in the long-term this is still the “future” of transportation. 

Safety based operations

Short term impact: Increase
Medium term impact: Increase 

The so-called ‘Low-touch Economy’ will be accelerated by Covid-19 and will impact heavily public transportation. Recovering trust and confidence in passengers is an imperative.

Remote working & virtual reality

Short term impact: Increase
Medium term impact: Increase 

The rise of virtual presence has been accelerated by Covid-19 and many workers have gotten used to the new way of life. A shift to virtual presence has wide-ranging implications in terms of cost efficiencies to businesses, such as office space and removing commuting time for greater efficiency.

Further reading: Six charts on attitudes towards remote working and back to office

Car-free Cities / Deglobalisation / De-urbanisation

Short term impact: Increase
Medium term impact: Unknown 

The rise of sustainable living will be accelerated by Covid-19, with an impact on decelerating globalisation and mega-urbanisation. Covid-19 revealed the fragility of supply chains’ over-reliance on China, it could be expected that global firms will try to diversify their supply chains more, moving towards other manufacturing hubs. 

About the report
The report was led by Sia Partners consultants Rafael Lemaitre, Carlos Guevara, Vikram Sundarraj, Monsurudeen Alasi, Chloe Hilaire and Sami Srage, and delivered in collaboration with the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (led by: Ahmed Bahrozyan, Nasser AbuShahab and Amair Saleem).