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More mobility, less impact: 4 mobility trends to watch out for in 2021

Looking at urban mobility, there is still a lot of work ahead, but above all good opportunities. This year, like the year before, the challenges posed by the pandemic provided a unique opportunity to improve and update our transport systems in cities, making them more sustainable, livable and resilient.

Group of people, adults and children, riding a bicycle on the streets of a city.

To get there, there is an increasing demand for new technologies and mobility solutions. And who better to bring these new solutions to the market than startups and innovative entrepreneurs?

This year, BGI partnered with the largest European mobility network - EIT Urban Mobility - to map these entrepreneurs with outstanding ideas that can respond to the biggest mobility challenges in some Portuguese cities. These challenges include finding new users for public transport, redefining public transport systems to make them more attractive and with less traffic, reconciling the transit crossing with the use of public space by pedestrians and cyclists, promoting road safety and facilitating access to public transport in areas with low population density.

With that in mind, we analyzed and defined 4 urban mobility trends that are worthy to pay attention to this year:

1. Micromobility will continue to rise

According to the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility, 60% of trips are less than 8 kilometers. This is good news for those who want to work on products and services related to micromobility. The growing expansion of cities, population density and traffic, will continue to intensify people's difficulty in getting around. This brings new opportunities for the adaptation of light, sustainable, collective or private vehicles to facilitate small trips, as well as infrastructure for these same vehicles.

2. Implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Smart mobility is a trend that promises to last. Autopilot systems in cars, robotic taxis, drones that deliver orders, autonomous cars... These are some technologies that have already been studied by the largest and best known companies in the world, due to the need to change the way people and goods move to avoid problems such as traffic, noise and pollution. The integration of artificial intelligence in mobility, such as in MaaS (mobility as a service) systems, could bring significant benefits and will continue to be the focus of attention in the times ahead.

3. Sustainable mobility

One question that arose in 2021 is how cities will deal with more people who want to drive to their workplace to avoid Covid-19 infection. People who previously traveled in public transports, today opt for individual transport. Therefore, there is a need to balance this with the environmental issue and the reduction of air pollution. Thus, sustainability in mobility will continue to be the order of the day. Although mass electrification does not happen overnight, innovative solutions that contribute to the decarbonization of mobility will be worthy of attention.

4. Focus on user experience

With the constant advancement of technologies, the consumer has become more demanding. That's not news. However, nowadays there is an increasing need to focus on the client and his experience, including in mobility. The focus on user experience may be related to the increased demand for artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Clear and deep design systems, including voice and AI interactions, have already proven their success. Today, automobiles have complementary user support applications or XR (cross-reality) tools that allow the user to view different scenarios. Technologies that make people's lives easier will have great chances of success in building a future where mobility is expected to be environment-friendly, integrated, automated, and personalized.

Do you want to be part of that future?

If you have a mobility solution, Get in the Ring Urban Mobility gives you the unique opportunity to prove its value, and develop pilots with Portuguese municipalities. This is a great way to grow your business while solving real mobility challenges. In addition, the Portuguese winner will be able to receive 5,000 euros and represent Portugal in a global startup event where he will have access to global exposure, customers and international investors.