A Field Guide to the Future of Mobility

World Economic Forum (January 2016)

Personal mobility matters. It is one of the main enablers not only for human interaction, but also for knowledge transfer and relationship-building, and is a major contributor to the economy. Personal mobility is also key to income and employment around the world. Recent studies on upward mobility from both Harvard and New York Universities1 have found that transportation can be the single largest factor in escaping poverty. This is even truer in the developing world and emerging economies. Personal mobility, or more accurately, access, can be a fundamental generator of social equity and prosperity.

The automobile has been a major pillar of personal transportation for the last 120+ years and has contributed to higher degrees of accessibility, social and economic prosperity, convenience and human interaction. However with a growing global urban population, an increasing demand for transport in urban areas and an increase in automobile access, the world is facing a new set of societal and environmental challenges. Fortunately, a host of opportunities enabled by technology and entrepreneurial innovation are resulting in new mobility models that can not only help to solve the mobility challenge, but also create tremendous economic and societal benefits.

This paper primarily targets the key decision-makers and opinion leaders of cities and states, established enterprises and start-ups, and representatives of civil society. It aims to inform ideas and actions for future influencers, such as concerned or inspired citizens, professionals and students.

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