Megatrends Impacting the Mobility of Tomorrow

Megatrend | Climate Change

As international, national, and even city governments get involved in understanding how to plan for climate change, they are being met with equal interest and need from the private sector. Climate disasters cost the United States over 100 billion dollars in 2017. To date, our cities and infrastructures have been built around unsustainable carbon-based transportation models. However, extreme weather conditions and climate change caused by carbon emissions have forced companies, cities and individuals to begin to question the mobility status quo. As climate change creates new risks for infrastructure and current mobility paradigms shift, communities around the world will be forced to look at alternate power sources and more versatile design—especially in places vulnerable to extreme climate events.

Megatrend | Smart Cities

In just the past few years, government officials in cities around the world have begun to draw on the reams of data at their disposal in order to address many of the problems of urban life.  From smart roads to waste management, smart cities are changing how citizens interact and react to needs in their everyday life. Through advancing technologies and IoT, urban planners are starting to incorporate big data and real-time stats to improve the lives of their residents.

Megatrend | Rethinking the Road

Drivers are responsible for 94% of the critical reasons that lead to crashes. With a current semi-autonomous vehicle crash reduction rate of 40%, Elon Musk is promising Tesla will provide a 90% crash reduction rate in the near future.  All major car companies are working on autonomous vehicles with most predicting the ability to have level 3 autonomous transportation on the roads by 2018/19, and some making an even loftier prediction of level 5 autonomy by 2020. Autonomous smart vehicles are expected to lower the rate of these incidents exponentially, which would greatly impact the frequency of high-paying claims resulting from such crashes. A new topography of the automobile will emerge, opening a new business model for automakers, insurers, and consumers alike.

Megatrend | Mobility Meccas

Major cities in Europe, Asia, and the Americas are investing in infrastructure and legislation to create a new urban ecosystem that prioritizes human connection over automobiles. These cities are looking at creating a new mobility mix, developing bike lanes, modern gondolas, and pedestrian causeways in an effort to rethink the urban infrastructure, once dedicated to the automobile.

Megatrend | Zen Moments

Researchers at the University of Illinois have discovered a 99% correlation between the number of miles driven and obesity. Cities, their infrastructure and their mobility options, are now at the hub of how we understand the future of wellness. As smart cities, autonomous vehicles and ride shares give commuters more and bette options for getting to work, opportunities will arise for mindfulness and mental wellness activities to take place during the commute. Getting to work has been a stressor for people for generations, however in the era of autonomous technology we will see greater access to wellness resources allowing us to rethink how we can create a more healthful intersection between mobility and wellness.

Megatrend | Beyond Employers

It’s estimated that 43% of people in the United States will be independently/self employed by 2020. In this new work landscape, the meaning of commuting is likely to also shift. Signals Influencing the Future of Mobility

The Near Future | Discovering  Signals of Change

A signal is a term used to describe a small innovation or disruption that has the potential to grow in impact. Signals can be a myriad of things: new products, technologies, behaviors, or even policies. Ultimately, signals are used to help guide us in understanding the emerging future.

Signal 1: Future Cities Catapult This lab is driving ingenious interventions in cities by leveraging collaboration between academics, urban planners, business, architects and engineers.

Signal 2: Bright Lights, Big Data As more data on urban centers is gathered and valued, new ways of capitalizing on those insights will emerge.

Signal 3: Technology and Inequality As digital technologies eliminate the need for many middle-class jobs, economic inequality may become more and more pronounced.

Signal 4: $1 Dockless Bike Sharing LimeBike is a smart, dockless, bike-sharing platform that’s gaining popularity in cities across the United States.

Signal 5: Digital Detox In the age of hyper connectivity, Digital Detox retreats are growing in popularity.

Signal 6: Maker Culture An 89-year old man reinvents the train in his backyard – he believes it can change the way the world moves.

Signal 7: Autonomous Buses Paris is currently testing and discovering how to extend its public transit models using electric, driverless shuttles.

Signal 8: A New Model for Congestion Pricing LA has launched a program to crowdsource solutions for congestion with the hope of turning one of the world’s worst traffic cities into a model of urban innovation.

Signal 9: Morality Comes to Machine Intelligence A platform built by MIT, the Moral Machine, is bringing human perspectives to machine ethics.

Signal 10: The Gig Economy The gig economy has created a new pull economy for last mile solutions.

Signal 11: Rethinking Urban Disaster Prep As Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston, TX to an extent never before anticipated, the city realized it’s flood plan hadn’t been updated to account for the city’s rapid increase in suburbs and concrete.

Signal 12: The Rise of the "Imagination Economy" Advancements in Virtual and Extended Reality technologies are creating new value by appealing to the imagination.

Signal 13: The Remote Year Sabbaticals are not just for academics anymore. The Remote Year concept allows professionals to travel, live, and work in different cities around the world for up to a year.

Signal 14: Soft Robotics Soft robotics use origami inspired ‘muscles’ to lift up to 1000x their weight.

Signal 15: Accessibility in Cities Cities are investing heavily in accessibility.

Signal 16: Climate Change Simulation VR simulations of large climate events like tsunamis are helping agencies plan for and experience extreme climate events.

Signal 17: Sponge Cities China is building permeable roads and designing other public spaces that can soak up stormwater, with the ultimate goal of capturing 60% of a city's rainwater.

Signal 18: Gesture Gloves These smart gloves are designed to support speakers of ASL using text-based technology.

Signal 19: The Projectable Skin Phone Startup Cicret has developed a working model of a projectable phone that displays onto a user’s forearm.

Signal 20: Haptic Holograms These safe, laser-based haptic holograms give you the feeling of touch without actually touching anything.

Signal 21: P2P Distributed Internet This Kickstarter campaign has secured pre-orders and funding to launch P2P web that pays users using cryptocurrency.

Signal 22: Predictive AI and Robots At UC Berkeley robotic arms are learning how to manipulate objects they have never encountered before.

Signal 23: Virtual People This startup is seeking to humanize how we connect with technology, creating emotive AI solutions.

Signal 24: Maglev Quadcopter This electromagnetic levitation quadcopter, currently in the R&D phase, uses the principle of conductive surfaces to test the possibility of creating new transportation models.

Signal 25: The Hyperloop for Electric Bicycles BMW believes that e-bikes will one day become the mainstream transport choice for short and medium distance journeys within cities

Signal 26: Bus Health Monitoring Straps A dairy brand installed health monitoring straps on public buses so riders could track and even share their health data to support both personal wellness and city-based wellness models.

Signal 27: Wearable Sensors Bodytrak aims to reinvent how we understand wearable technology, making it more discrete and useful.

Signal 28: Urban Acupuncture Biophilic Urban Acupuncture aims to bring the same principles of meridians and holistic wellness found in traditional acupuncture to cities by creating specific interventions to promote urban wellness.

Signal 29: Luxury Co-Working In New York City, Related Companies, a luxury residential leasing company has begun to provide their residents with co-working spaces in lieu of a traditional lobby.

Signal 30: Digital Nomad Digital Nomads are a category of independent workers that are leveraging technology to live a location-independent life, discovering new ways to live and work anywhere you can find a high-speed Internet connection. Inspirational innovative mobility devices/foresight videos

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