Why the future of sustainability will start with mobility
- Transport can play a crucial role in achieving the United Nations SDGs;
- Our current transportation systems hamper our aspirations for a sustainable future;
- Innovative mobility trends, such as shared mobility, provide affordable and sustainable mobility options for people and can help achieve our global sustainability goals.
It has been five years since the United Nations set 17 social and environmental goals for sustainable development.
However, the way our society consumes resources, plans cities, manages waste and designs transportation systems suggests that there are significant barriers to achieving the social and environmental goals we have set for ourselves. Transport is currently the largest producer of energy-related CO₂ emissions with 24%. (based on global transport emissions in 2018, which totaled 8 billion tonnes of CO₂); 74.5% of transport emissions come from road vehicles.
As we emerge from the hardships of a pandemic, we must bring a high level of environmental awareness to our daily routines and future transportation planning in our cities. Shared electric mobility with its potential benefits – such as reduced congestion, reduced use of private vehicles, increased urban space – can contribute to our societal and environmental success.
COVID-19: attitudes and practices
According to forecasts by the International Energy Agency, the forced restriction of people’s daily movements and the resulting economic depression caused by the coronavirus pandemic have led to a substantial decrease in global carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 – up to 8% from 2019. The pandemic has unexpectedly resulted in cleaner air and reduced air pollution; as a society, we will have to figure out how to maintain these advantages while ensuring an economic recovery for all.
While COVID-19 vaccines offer a silver lining, we are also seeing a return to automobile traffic which we know contributes to air pollution and adverse health effects. Many changed their travel habits during the pandemic with positive effects: there has been a worldwide increase in the use of individual transport vehicles (non-public transport) – in the United States, walking as an option of mobility increased by 14%. If these new habits with positive benefits persist, we can help ensure our environmental and social sustainability.
However, there are also negative effects. We have seen a decrease in shared mobility services due to the pandemic, such as a decrease in the number of transit riders, the elimination of Maas shared services, and an increase in private vehicle ownership. An American study suggests that the public now perceives private vehicles as safer than public transport. With the increase in vehicle ownership comes an increase in CO₂ emissions, an increase in parking demand and an increase in road fatalities. With the lifting of lockdowns around the world in December 2020, the rebound in the economic and industrial recovery led to an increase in global carbon dioxide emissions by 2% (+60 million tonnes of CO₂) compared to the same month in 2019, reaching higher levels. than those recorded before the onset of the crisis, canceling out the ecological savings described above.
To avoid these negative scenarios, we must find innovative ways to rethink the future, by developing social practices that are more humane and sustainable from an energy and environmental point of view. If there is anything we can learn from the pandemic, it is that we are a vulnerable society and unexpected things will happen. We are also a smart and ambitious company that wants to prosper and secure a sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.
The integration of traditional public transport with alternative electric micro-mobility systems is one of these innovations; we must continue to accelerate this model and realize its potential.
Sharing mobility: the mobility of tomorrow
Shared mobility, namely the use of different types of transport (cars, mopeds, bicycles and scooters) via shared platforms, can contribute to a change in attitudes and practices all over the world. It offers a greener form of mobility that is safer against viral infections and has a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.1% by 2025.
Several companies have invested in this vision of mobility making the company’s life cycle 100% carbon neutral by certifying exclusively renewable energy sources, for example.
The EU’s Green Deal foresees a reduction of CO₂ emissions by 55% by 2030 and aims for a reduction of 100% by 2050. Sharing mobility services will be at the forefront of our battle to reduce emissions of carbon. EU financial support after COVID-19, its stimulus fund, provided for the allocation of € 18.5 billion for energy transition and sustainable local mobility for Italy, for example. The first association of shared mobility companies, Assosharing, was founded in Italy to develop sustainable development policies in collaboration with government institutions.
According to a study conducted by MIT on the benefits of shared mobility, this type of mobility could also reduce parking spaces in cities by 86%, free up valuable public space and radically rethink the use of space. This could enable the introduction of other intermodal services that could make the cities of tomorrow smarter and bring other benefits such as the removal of road congestion, the reduction of travel times and road accidents, and the reduction of road accidents. environmental protection by reducing CO₂ emissions.
New trends are emerging including “NOwnership” or the decision not to own equipment, including transport vehicles preferring services to use instead. We are only at the start of this revolution, but it has already started to change our habits and help cities reduce their carbon footprint.