Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Smart cities: Embracing technology for urban mobility advancement

By Francois-Joseph Van Audenhove, partner at Arthur D. Little

Urban mobility operators face evolving customer needs and behaviors as well as a spate of technological advancements, driven by the fourth industrial revolution, that must be embraced in order to stay competitive in the short term, and require transformation for operators to stay relevant in the long term.

Major developments have opened up a range of new mobility options for individuals and now customers expect operators, particularly of public transport, to offer services that are fast, reliable, convenient and personalized.

As such, technological trends and new mobility solutions could lead to a very different mobility ecosystem in the future. 

Worldwide urban mobility today

Arthur D. Little recently released the third edition of its Urban Mobility Index, assessing the mobility maturity, innovativeness and performances of 100 cities worldwide through 27 criteria (see graph below).

The mobility score per city ranges from 0 to 100 index points; the maximum of 100 points is defined by the best performance of any city in the sample for each criterion.

The overall results find that most cities still need to work intensively on improvements to their mobility systems. The global average score of the 100 cities surveyed is 42.3 out of a possible 100 points.

This means that, worldwide, the average city has unleashed less than half of the potential of its urban mobility system, a state of affairs that could be remedied by applying best practices across all its operations.

Only 10 cities scored more than 50 points, out of which eight are European cities and two Asian. The city-state of Singapore achieved the highest score with 59.3 points, followed by Stockholm (57.1 points), Amsterdam (56.7 points), Copenhagen (54.6 points) and Hong Kong (54.2 points). This indicates that even the highest-ranking cities have considerable potential for improvement.

adlittle FUM

Managing supply and demand with a targeted approach

A lot of mature cities do not yet have clear visions of what their mobility systems should look like in the future or coherent strategies for getting there. In order to address future mobility challenges, cities and mobility solutions providers must adopt more comprehensive, coordinated and proactive approaches to manage mobility supply and demand.

The mobility systems of tomorrow should be intermodal, personalized, convenient and connected, and encourage the use of more sustainable modes of transport (public transport, cycling, walking), while integrating new mobility solutions, such as autonomous vehicles.

Convergence through digitalization constitutes a major opportunity to reinvent mobility systems as they gradually evolve to embrace “mobility-as-a-service”, growing from the ownership of individual transport modes towards usage of multiple mobility modes as services.

At all levels, legislation is being introduced to drive change. Regulation is expected to play an important role, as it is generally geared towards creating the required framework for the sound introduction of new mobility solutions and ensuring that these will positively contribute to reaching the optimal system. It will also be a critical driver to foster sustainable innovation.

1806_Future of Mobility 3 study_Strategic dimensions for operators.001

Key areas for rethinking policies and differentiating

The solution for the future is an interconnected, multimodal mobility system with increased convenience and efficiency, tailored to the city’s growth project and balancing economic development and well-being.

Transport authorities should address four key dimensions as they seek to rethink their sustainable mobility policies at the levels of cities and nations: a visionary strategy, mobility supply management, mobility demand management, and funding.

Mobility solutions providers – both traditional operators as well as “new mobility” solutions providers, should consider five key dimensions when defining their visions and strategies to differentiate themselves within extended mobility ecosystems and ensure they stay competitive in the short term and relevant in the long term: a sense of purpose, branded customer experience, operational excellence, ecosystem integration towards Mobility-as-a-Service, and transformation.

In the new report, Future of Mobility 3.0, Arthur D. Little and its partner, UITP, elaborate further on those dimensions and detail 12 imperatives for mobility solutions providers to consider when defining their sustainable visions and strategies.

The report also includes case studies of mobility solutions providers demonstrating good practices. The full study can be accessed by clicking on this link.

About the author: François-Joseph Van Audenhove is a partner at Arthur D. Little). He can be contacted at