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By setting the right conditions for investment and working hand-in-hand with private businesses, the public sector can ensure a shift to sustainable mobility that’s equitable for everyone

Speaking from the Global Mobility Executive Forum 2023 in Paris, Oliver Wyman Partner Victoria Evans reflects on how the public sector can help drive the shift to sustainable mobility.

Victoria Evans

Hi, I'm Victoria Evans. I'm a partner in our public sector and policy team at Oliver Wyman. I'm here at the Global Mobility Executive Forum in Paris.


The public sector can mandate more sales of electric vehicles or levy carbon taxes, but what else is in its power to shift to sustainable mobility?


There are a whole host of things that have happened already to date and some great practices across the UK. Those things include investment, and that's co-investment, promotion and education and awareness, incentives, and the use of collaboration with the private sector to come up with new novel ways of delivering mobility solutions.


What is the public sector’s biggest barrier to achieving sustainable mobility?


We live in a really constrained environment of resources and investment. So, the ability to invest when there are so many different competing priorities is really difficult.

I think political will. So, making sure the right conditions are there to drive incentives forward, to drive change, to drive investment.

I think a really big challenge for the public sector is shifting attitudes and behavior across society, particularly when we're living in a really polarized society.It's really difficult to get the right engagement approach and ensure adoption of new solutions.


How can the public and private sectors work together best to achieve sustainable mobility?


I think the public and private sectors can work much better together and hand-in-hand.

And again, we see some great examples of that. Through sharing ideas, investing in resources, co-investing, creating the right incentives and disincentives. But also things like data sharing, hugely important to be able to get the right understanding of the demand picture, but also where there are transportation deserts, for example, in certain areas.

In terms of what I mean by transportation deserts, there's a really interesting stat that the Department for Transport put out back in 2019. It basically reflected the huge disparity in the amount of public transport that was used per person in London versus the North East, for example.

We know that actually having accessible and affordable transport is really important to drive growth, but also to address some of the biggest inequalities that we're seeing in society.


How can we make sure that shift is equitable for everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status?


I think what's really important in ensuring the shift to sustainable mobility is making sure again, the right incentives are in place, the right subsidies are in place so that people can really access transport in the way they need to.

But there's a whole host of vulnerable people across our communities, our society, that have real challenges in accessing transport provisions, whether that's because of the digital divide, whether it's because of affordability issues, or whether that's because of mobility issues and the physical challenges that some people have.