Reimagining Mobility in the City of Tomorrow


Cities are rapidly changing and the business community is contributing to this evolution. Looking ahead, the city of tomorrow will have more concurrent infrastructures than ever before. Improved transportation systems will have a significant impact on lifestyle. Neither cars nor trains nor buses will become obsolete, but they will be joined by newly customized transit solutions. 

Urbanization patterns differ in the developed and developing world. For example, in the United States as the industrial economy emerged, large migration movements and motorization occurred in urban areas. Suburban sprawl developed as a response to population density and access to goods and services. In developing economies, urbanization has developed without a rapid rate of motorization. Therefore the transit systems available in that city are supporting a large population.

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) is driving innovations in vehicular, rail and air traffic management due to increased population and rapid rates of urbanization. As more people move to cities, modes of transportation become congested, which leads to traffic, pollution, increased fuel consumption, and an inefficient transportation infrastructure.

Car2go, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler AG, promotes a strong sense of sustainability and responsibility to its products, operations, people, business partners, and society in general. As the inventor of the automobile, sustainable mobility is of top priority for Daimler.

Through new technologies we are continually reducing the fuel consumption and emissions of our car2go vehicle network. Our success is due in large part to the fact that we have never focused on the short term but set our sights on the big picture and a futuristic view of mobility.

Daimler’s focus on sustainability and the long term needs of mobility influenced the development of car2go. Car2go is a completely personal, flexible type of mobility option first introduced in Ulm, Germany and Austin, TX in 2009. The idea has been called point-to-point car sharing, but in reality, it’s as personal and flexible as owning your own car, minus the hassle and expense. car2go’s fuel-efficient non-hybrid or electric vehicles are an intelligent response to the environmental concerns and traffic and parking congestion challenges of a fast-growing urban area.

The idea is quickly redefining transportation for cities and their residents while providing a practical solution to such problems as traffic congestion. The car2go car sharing model works as a complement to other transportation solutions, and when used alongside existing public transportation--specifically bus, rail, and rideshare alternatives--serves to tackle some of the issues in dense urban environments.

An efficient transportation system is imperative to the economic development of cities. It enables a systems approach to moving goods and people. In cities today, there is a disparity between the location of jobs and where people live causing long stressful commutes. Tight budgets causing transit service cuts, poor land use decisions, and continued suburban sprawl has affected both housing and employment locations putting workers and employers farther apart. For an employer this means that they are unable to attract the best talent, since many potential candidates live too far from the potential employer. For an employee, it means long commuting times which can affect time spent on other personal activities.

Urbanization rates will continue to grow and it is through innovative products and services that the business community can offer which will help ease the strains of dense cities. Providing an efficient and flexible lifestyle for urban dwellers will result in a more vibrant, attractive, and sustainable community for current and future residents.

[Editor's note: This article is part of The Role of Business in Shaping the City of Tomorrow report.]

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