Exploring How The New Mobility Is Recasting Society

Over the next decade, we are likely to see as much change in the way we move people and things as we experienced in the past 100 years.

A few random drones flying near Gatwick Airport just before Christmas threatened the plans of more than 120,000 passengers heading into and out of the United Kingdom’s second busiest airport. The episode revealed the messy side of the new mobility: The sophisticated technology hobbyists love and tech companies want to use for deliveries also can unleash chaos in the transportation system of a major economy — intentionally or not.

It’s all part of what some are calling the fourth industrial revolution that’s transforming the global economic landscape and democratizing technology. For mobility, the lines between industries and modes of transportation are blurring, and in their place complex sets of overlapping ecosystems are evolving to serve our daily needs. Innovations that rely on enhanced connectivity, advanced artificial intelligence, and ultramodern technologies like autonomy and electrification are tearing down barriers — both physical and virtual.

The business models around mobility are being altered — from who owns the vehicle, to how it is financed, to which fuel source powers it, to who is liable when there’s a failure. And the world’s economy is changing with them.

By 2030, mobility-related businesses are projected to contribute one-quarter of the world’s gross domestic product. They also will have redefined how, when, and why we choose to move ourselves and our things from one place to another. Over the next decade, we are likely to see as much change in our mobility as we experienced in the past 100 years and, with it, a re-envisioning of our economies and everyday lives.

What’s happening is akin to the revolution in communications that resulted from the internet and smartphone. Much economic value was created as well as destroyed in the wake of those inventions that transformed how people interact and how companies do business. Today, new mobility technologies challenge the status quo, and institutions that successfully incorporate the innovations and embrace change will thrive — while those that don’t may face chaos and disruption.

To help ensure a productive and equitable transition, the Oliver Wyman Forum’s Mobility Initiative aims to stimulate discussions and build coalitions among key mobility stakeholders — including transportation, communications, and energy incumbents, technology innovators, insurers and other risk managers, academics, and governments. The world will be our laboratory as we conduct working sessions in key frontiers of change — from centers of new technology and finance like San Francisco, Shanghai, London, and New York to hubs of city reinvention like Dubai, Berlin, Paris, and Singapore. Our collaborations will work to create ecosystems to nurture mobility technologies and enterprises.

Our goal will be to identify new metrics of success that recognize the need to create sustainable, agile, and inclusive solutions, infrastructures and organizations. We will focus on tough questions involving:

  • Ownership versus sharing

  • The creation of international technology standards to streamline interoperability

  • Urban versus rural needs

  • Barriers versus inducements

  • The transition to sustainable mobility

  • The rise of autonomous vehicles and systems

  • Changing mobility implications for telecom network and electric grid infrastructure requirements

  • How to create regulation that serves as a building block rather than a stumbling block

  • How to make investments in infrastructure that adapt as technology evolves

  • New assessments of risk that recognize climate change and cyberthreats as well as redefinitions of liability

  • Definitions of winning and winners

Our efforts will include events with leading thinkers who are transforming the sector as well as the pursuit of original research, including the launch of a Future of Mobility Competitiveness Index. Thanks for embarking on this great adventure with us. As we strive to keep up and sprint ahead of an industry expanding at breakneck speed, we hope you will be a part of our developing conversation.

Francois Austin, Partner

Moe Kelley, Partner

Guillaume Thibault, Partner

Laetitia Plisson, Principal

Leading the Oliver Wyman Forum’s Mobility Initiative