Development of Sustainable Mobility Business Plan

Today, as a result of converging technologies, a new personal mobility paradigm is within reach. This emerging paradigm has opened a window of opportunity for innovative business development. The transportation, energy, communications and telematics industries are now as ripe for disruption as the telecom, photography, television, computer, media and pharmaceutical industries once were. The convergence of these technologies will be transformational, enhancing consumers’ lives and creating significant business growth and shareholder value for the companies that get it right.

This new personal mobility paradigm cannot be fully realized without harnessing market forces. Change on the scale required cannot be achieved by a single company or by government policy. Although several of the technology enablers have already been tested in market footholds (e.g., plug-in electric and fuel cell vehicles, telematics services, digital maps), others still need foothold tests (e.g., vehicle-to-vehicle communications and autonomous driving). Importantly, all need to mature together. Sustainable personal mobility will result from an integrated “system-of-systems” that excites consumers and creates profitable business models for suppliers. To reach significant scale and have a meaningful impact, consumers must want the integrated system and suppliers must be able to make money satisfying this desire. The system must be capable of reaching a market “tipping point”, where consumers desire the new solution (value exceeds price) and companies want to supply the new solution (price exceeds cost).

In order to accelerate the implementation of sustainable mobility, six companies collaborated with The Earth Institute’s Program on Sustainable Mobility to develop a Business Plan for a Sustainable Mobility Initiative (2012).

The Business Plan was based on work originally undertaken by Lawrence D. Burns and William C. Jordan to analyze the performance and potential cost savings of a shared, driverless vehicle fleet operating in Ann Arbor, MI, as compared to personally-owned vehicles. Similar analyses were also undertaken for the planned eco-city of Babcock Ranch in Florida, and for shared, driverless fleets as a substitute for yellow taxicabs in Manhattan. The results of these analyses can be found in the report Transforming Personal Mobility (Revised 2013).