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An Integrated Perspective on the Future of Mobility, a McKinsey Report Digest

How will urban mobility look like in 2030? Globally, mostly like it does today, but there are 50 urban areas that could develop into three different advanced-mobility models. The McKinsey and Bloomberg report use two main factors to predict these scenarios [1]. First are the mobility trends of electrification, shared mobility, and autonomy. Second is the synergy between these trends (image 1). Increased shared mobility could boost electric-vehicle (EV) sales thanks to their low operating costs. Higher EV production could accelerate innovation and reduce the cost of batteries and green power generation and distribution.


(Image 1: Synergies between driving forces for smart mobility shift, source: McKinsey)

The first scenario is Clean and Shared. In mega cities in developing countries (e.g. Mexico City, Delhi) wide-spread autonomous vehicles will not be a short or medium term option because of poor infrastructure and higher complexity due to lack of adherence to traffic regulations and pedestrian interference. Instead, the shift will be to EVs, expanding public transport and increasing shared mobility.

Private Autonomy will likely prevail for developed, suburban areas (e.g. Los Angeles) where cars are essential. Autonomous EVs could have dedicated road space, the use of which could be optimized using demand-driven congestion charges, thus avoiding building more roads.  Car and ride-sharing will be a complement but not a replacement for the private car on a large scale. Lower marginal travel costs and reduction of inactive time for the driver could increase demand for mobility and increase congestion. Travel in private autonomous vehicles could increase passenger miles by 25% in 2030.

Seamless Mobility is likely to emerge in developed and dense cities (e.g. Hong Kong, Chicago, London). Mobility will be on-demand and door-to-door, blurring the lines between private, shared and public transport. The system will be based on high-quality public transport complemented by self-driving, shared vehicles. Travel would increase 20-50% but the number of cars would likely remain the same or decline, due to sharing and significantly higher utilization. More than 40% of the vehicles on the road would be self-driving and 60% EVs.

These models are applicable to around 50 urban areas (500 million people) and the cumulative societal benefits per person can reach $2,800 for Clean and Shared (improved safety); $3,300 for Private Autonomy (increasing 2030 GDP by 0.9%); and $7,400 for Seamless Mobility (boosting 2030 GDP by 3.9%).


Personal comments

Really good report, not much to comment on except that it’s refreshing to finally see options for the developing countries. Cities in these countries are also under development and present a big potential market for mobility services. Most developing countries are following the same mistake as many developed cities, where too many resources are dedicated to the car and now are faced with the challenge to turn that around. 

Written by Magda Collado, Viktoria Swedish ICT.


1. 2016-10. An integrated perspective on the future of mobility