Today, more than four billion people live in cities. By 2050, the United Nations (UN) estimates the number will grow to six billion, which amounts to adding eight cities the size of London every year. At that point, 70% of the world’s population will be urban dwellers. Cities will also account for 85% of the world’s economic output.
This expansion is putting urban transport systems worldwide under intense pressure to accommodate the rising demand. Despite global urbanization, only half of the world’s population currently has convenient access to public transport. Specifically, 75% of the population has access to public transport in Europe and the United States, while only 33% have access in sub-Saharan Africa. This limits access to jobs and education and reduces overall social inclusion — unless an individual can afford to travel by a privately owned car. That alternative puts another strain on cities: The explosion of urbanites also has led to an explosion of congestion, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Transport systems are intrinsically linked to the prosperity of cities. They affect quality of life, economic growth, social cohesion, and the environment. Transportation systems will also determine how far cities will be able to contribute to global targets set by the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for a more prosperous, equitable future.
Governments, the business community, non-governmental organizations, and the public all want a more sustainable model for the 21st century city that can rely on efficient long-term urban planning to overcome transport hurdles. According to the UN’s SDGs, sustainable transportation objectives should include universal access, enhanced safety, improved resilience, greater efficiency, and reduced environmental impact. The most obvious answer is to invest more in mass transit as the most environmentally sustainable and efficient mode of urban transport, with the aim of making it more affordable and accessible. But that can take years of investment and infrastructure construction.
In the meantime, shared mobility — everything from ride-hailing and car-sharing to e-bike and e-scooter sharing — has emerged as a potential solution offering sustainable, efficient, safe, and affordable transport on demand. Shared mobility is projected to continue its rapid growth, more than doubling its share of the urban transport mix by 2030 — moving up from 3% today to an estimated 7%. By then, its total market size is expected to reach close to $400 billion.
The impact of shared mobility on the urban environment is becoming ever more noticeable. When thoughtfully implemented, it has the capability to increase transport efficiency and flexibility, enhance social inclusion by increasing accessibility, and reduce transport emissions.
But it has also faced criticism. Shared mobility has been blamed for contributing to congestion and emissions by adding more trips and vehicles to already congested roads. Safety concerns have been raised over e-scooters, which pose accident risks for riders and pedestrians.
In addition, the platform economy has been criticized for poor working conditions and unfair competition with traditional modes of transport, such as taxis and mass transit. As a result, cities such as London have cautiously renewed operating licenses for ride-hailing companies and offered limited trials for rental e-scooters. After a backlash, Paris banned e-scooter rental services as of September 1.
The objective of our report, Shared Mobility's global impact — an economic, social and environment analysis is, to evaluate the current and future impact of shared mobility on attaining a more sustainable urban living environment. The report focuses on urban economics, social inclusion, and environmental impact, looking at such factors as income opportunities, accessibility, safety, affordability, and emissions. The report offers a global perspective, investigating differences between developed markets in Europe and rapidly emerging ones in Africa. The analyses are based on a comprehensive set of studies, surveys, databases, and primary research, including proprietary data provided by Bolt, a global mobility company.
This report has five sections: The first gives a comprehensive overview of the shared mobility industry, focusing on the megatrends behind changing consumer preferences and the current and expected growth of the sector. The next three sections explore the economic, social, and environmental impact of shared mobility on the urban living environment. The concluding section presents four distinct city archetypes and examines how each different archetype can best implement and grow its shared mobility offerings, based on comprehensive, relevant criteria.