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The International Transport Forum Defines New Mobility

Wednesday, Maj 17, 2023

The International Transport Forum (ITF), a part of the OECD, has recently published a report laying out the characteristics for a definition of what counts as New Mobility.

Let’s start with the main conclusion, the definition of New Mobility: “intraurban passenger mobility services and vehicles enabled by digital technology.” The report was based on an in-depth survey of 150 policy makers, operators, and transport professionals, along with a 15 expert workshop to analyse the survey, not to mention drawing on previous research in this area.

The report divides services with New Mobility into two types: fleet sharing and ride services. Services are distinct from the sorts of vehicles, which are categorized into three groups: micromobility, powered light mobility, and car/van type vehicles. These clear categories facilitate reporting, policy making, and comparing across multiple urban and state contexts. The piece of the transportation pie that the report highlights is shown in the following diagram, where the light and dark blue mark show the extent of New Mobility.  

New Mobility Services

The report goes on to detail performance indicators around these categories of mobility. There are 17 indicators distributed roughly evenly across 5 policy areas: sustainability, safety, utilisation, accessibility, and equity. The report goes into each indicator to some degree and connects this to data collection and reporting. For reporting there is a need for standardization, harmonization, and the protection of privacy and commercially sensitive data.

Personal Comment:

The ITF report is a welcome step forward for the new forms of mobility that have taken off since the late 2010s, and especially during the pandemic. As the graph above shows these new entrants to the transport sector are more than just a side note, they are a significant part of the transport field. Integrating these new modes into the larger field is crucial for policy makers, city planners, and for the potential environmental, social, and economic benefits of new mobility to reach its potential.

The report defines new mobility as essentially containing, and being enabled by, a digital component. This, in turn, points to the thorniest issue: data sharing. It was good to see that ITF tries to balance the protection of privacy and the business practices of new mobility companies. Whether the report paves the way for reaching this balance only time will tell.

The Written by  Joshua Bronson,
RISE Mobility & Systems