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Who Are the Travellers of Tomorrow, and How Do They Want to Travel?

Research group Intermetra recently released a comprehensive study of mobility users in the Swedish transportation system – and where they stand on emerging topics like autonomy, alternative fuels and shared systems [1].

When it comes to emerging transportation services and products, the Swedish society can generally be divided into two segments: Those who are open and welcoming of new technology, who predominantly are younger city-dwellers, and those who are defensive and sceptic toward new technologies, who predominantly are older rural residents. There was also a slight gender difference, where women were generally more open towards new technology compared to men. The report states that the segment more open towards new technologies are low hanging fruits that should be prioritized when implementing these technologies. However, to avoid backlash from the sceptic group, these individuals should not be ignored.

Autonomy has been prominent in different media channels throughout its development, which has contributed to ample knowledge and a positive attitude toward the technology among Swedes. A major current concern is the safety aspect of riding in or being around an AV, where users point to the presence of a human safety driver being a key solution during the introduction phase of AVs into society at large.

In regard to alternative fuels, the Swedish population is somewhat reserved as many believe that it will take time for fossil fuels to disappear. During this transition, the sustainability aspect of one’s fuel source is an important one, although many crave more personal perks to make a switch such as lower fuel costs or lower taxes for environmentally minded alternatives. In terms of policy, there is scepticism toward penalizing a business-as-usual development for citizens, although they do welcome subsidizing green alternatives.

The sharing economy has a large following of fans already; some 40% of the Swedish population want to increase their sharing capabilities today. However, many don’t know how to achieve this on their own. In this regard, platforms that bring people and services together and facilitate trade are key solutions. Some of the reasons mentioned by people who currently engage in sharing activities are sustainability, community, saving costs and time, and comfort. Good leaders and well-established examples are ways to get even more people to start sharing what they have and need.

 

Personal comments

The report hits a key target when they discuss actions to bridge the gap between the uninitiated (or uninformed) and the users (or potential future users) of these technologies, and the values perpetual users place in their habits. There is an interesting divide between the perception of new technology versus experiencing new technology. It would seem that a good antidote toward scepticism of new services and products is to give reluctant citizens a reason to try it out for themselves. Another key reason that should be factored into the dissipation of these new services is to make that reason appeal to personal interest, as fundamental change happens when there is an incentive for the individual, not the society.

 

Written by Darijan Jelica, RISE Viktoria.

 

Source

1. 2019-01. Framtidens mobilister – Självkörande bilar, hållbara drivmedel, delningsvilja.