What Is Mobility?

May 12, 2022

Let's start off with a prediction. In the future, you will have a subscription for all your mobility needs. Like Spotify, but instead of 70 million songs in your pocket you'll have access to 2 million cars. You can choose to drive these cars, or the cars will drive themselves.

 

You'll get access to scooters, bikes, subways, high-speed trains—all the modes you need. And all these mobility modes will be connected together in one beautiful mobility symphony. 

If you're feeling really fancy or you're running late for that critical client meeting, instead of a black car you can summon an electric drone that will take you over the traffic in the city.

So, today's topics are:

·     What is mobility?

·     What is multi-modal mobility?

·     What is mobility as a service (or MaaS, as it's called, as well)?

and

·     Why all that talk about mobility right now? Why is it a hot topic?

And then lastly, we'll cover:

·     Why does this matter to you and to the corporate traveler? 

What is mobility?

Let's start by defining the word mobility. And this one is pretty simple. To us, mobility is getting from Point A to Point B somewhere in the world, or locally when you're not traveling.

Great mobility is when you're not wasting time in traffic or when you have a seamless experience getting from your house say, at 8 am in the morning and getting to the airport with no stress and no anxiety. 

Most people's concept of mobility is owning cars. We have1.4 billion cars in the world, and in the U.S the average household has two cars. But there are many more ways to move around. And that concept is multi-modal mobility, or as we at Deem call it, from feet to flight; walking to the subway, crossing the Atlantic on a plane, and then everything in between.

What is multi-modal mobility?

And what's that everything? Well, micro mobility: e-scooters; bikes. You have car service—black car rental, car, rail, subways, buses, and ships and ferries, too. What's exciting is that we're now moving into a world of multi-modal mobility where we'll have access to a wide range of mobility modes that allows us to pick the right tool for the job.

Let me give you an example: If you're in London and you need to go to Heathrow Airport, you could do a car, you can do a rental car, you can do car service, or you do ride hail, that's going to take you about 60 minutes somewhat stuck in traffic the whole way. Or you can do Heathrow Express. Heathrow Express is an incredible fast rail service that takes you there in 15 minutes. 

What is mobility as a service?

Let's talk about mobility as a service. Back in the day, we'd own our music. We'd have a record or we'd have a CD. Now, we have access to music via streaming. Instead of buying and owning 70 albums, you have access to 70 million albums and from any device.

It's the same for mobility as a service; access to the transportation you need without having to own. Mobility as a service is not a new concept, though. It's just a new term. We might own our cars today, but we don't own the taxis. Taxis are a 125-year-old concept started in Paris. We also don't own rental cars. We don't own the trains. We don't own the subways, and in most cases, we don't own the planes.

We actually only use our cars five percent of the time. The rest of the time they're parked. So, ownership of transportation is often pretty inefficient, but a lack of alternatives today means we still need to buy and own the cars.

Why is mobility a hot topic?

Let's talk about why mobility suddenly became such a hot topic.It's really about the layer of technology that connects us to the mobility. So how we find the mobility modes? How do we book them and how we pay for them today?

Everyone carries a smartphone which is always connected to the internet. And all the mobility services have apps that sit on our phones. And that gives us ease of booking, easy payment with a credit card on file, safety through ratings, trust on pricing, and global coverage. 

If you're in Berlin and you don't speak German, you can easily get a ride through an app, on demand, dispatch a driver within 10 minutes, at your fingertips and live GPS tracking. You can track the car and you can target the driver, and that really facilitates this perfect timing of the curbside meetup, where you're not waiting, and the driver is not waiting for you. 

From a duty of care standpoint, this peer-to-peer technology—where there's a phone in your hand and there's a phone with the driver—also means that live tracking is available to you to share to anyone else. You can choose to share it in real time with trusted family or colleagues, or even a travel manager or emergency services if needed. 

Why does mobility matter to corporate travelers?

Lastly, let's look at why this matters to the corporate traveler. Why does this matter to you during a trip? You currently use 10 different apps, and you have to expense at the end of the trip.

I personally have way too many travel and mobility apps on my phone right now. I have apps for ride hail, black car, rail, rental car. I have Google Maps and I have Apple Maps and all the airline apps. 

The problem is all these services are not seamlessly built into one online booking platform for corporate travel. And what does that mean? Why does that matter? 

The data shows us that 80% of all ground mobility is booked off platform. And for each journey and each trip, the traveler has to figure out what mode is best, cheapest, within policy, safe, etc. And then finally, expense. 

We think there's a ton of innovation opportunities in mobility right in front of us. We'll dive more into how we're thinking about that in another episode. 

Thank you so much for listening. If you want to hear more from us about mobility and travel, make sure to subscribe [to our YouTube channel] and sign up for notifications. 

Author

Nikolaj Koster
Sr. Director, Business Development and Strategy

Nikolaj is an accomplished business development professional, strategist, and entrepreneur, with more than 10 years focused on the mobility-as-a-service industry. His frequent speaking engagements include appearances throughout Europe, and he serves as a business mentor in the Nordic and Baltic tech sector. Now based in San Francisco, California, Nikolaj is helping lead Deem to new achievements in mobility.

Discover More

The Employee-Centric Business Travel Program: Infographic
Our survey, conducted by GBTA, asked both travelers and travel managers the same questions concerning top priorities, accessibility, and a host of topics. Below you'll find our first infographic based on results.
Read More
Technology for Sustainability: Infographic
An infographic about reducing carbon emissions in business travel using the EcoCheck feature in Deem's business travel management software, Etta.
Read More
Integrated Tools for Business Travel and Spend Management
Deem designed Etta to be a travel management platform that people can rely on when out on the road. And with our partnership with Workday, Etta now offers a complete travel management solution that’s fully integrated with a powerful expense platform.
Read More