We’re living in a world that is growing more populous, denser, more technological and more urban. According to the U.N., 30 percent of the world’s population was urban in 1950, a number that is expected to grow to 68 percent by 2050. Most of that growth will occur in cities.
This massive population boom and shift has monumental ramifications on the global economy, as cities are the engines of economic growth. Today, the world’s 750 biggest cities today account for roughly 60 percent of gross domestic product. By 2030 those same 750 cities are expected to 61 percent of global GDP (US $80 trillion) to the world economy according to Oxford Economics.
Cities can only survive if they can figure out the efficient and sustainable movement of people and goods. That’s why many experts, like those at PWC, are forecasting the market for shared, on-demand vehicles will be a $1.4 trillion industry by 2030. It’s not hard to see why. Already, Didi ride hailing serves more than a half-billion riders across 400 cities. The transit data app, Moovit, is used by 150 million travelers in 2,200 cities. And there are now an estimated 18.2 million bikeshare bikes across 1,600 programs globally.
At the same time, we’re seeing an expansion in shared and distributed mobility, public transit in the US is seeing a decline. According to the Congressional Research Service, ridership on public transit has fallen for seven straight years. If you exclude New York City region (which accounts for about 40 percent of all U.S. transit riders), ridership has declined nationally by 7 percent over the past decade.
What’s happening in cities around the world is that the very notion of mass transit is shifting. For years, mass transit has been equated with public transit, meaning that the movement of large amounts of people was purely the realm of the public sector. When you think about the hundreds of millions of people being moved by ride hailing, bike sharing, private transit and ridesharing, you can no longer make the case. We’re looking at integrated transit, where both sectors bring strengths and capabilities to the table.
At Avis Budget Group we view these developments through a few lenses. First, our Zipcar brand is a pioneer of urban mobility – launching car sharing in 2000 and innovating it ever since. Second, our largest customers routinely travel in and around cities. Third, we are a major employer ourselves in cities around the world. Last, as cars become more connected and autonomous, we see a further blurring of the lines between a car share trip, a ride hail trip and a vacation rental – which puts us squarely in the middle of the evolving mobility landscape.
We have a vested interest in ensuring that our cities and communities have access to efficient, equitable and safe transportation. To help achieve that we’re working with a variety of partners across multiple parts of the ecosystem, including:
Integrated Transit: Our Zipcar brand has long entered into mutually beneficial partnerships with transit agencies in cities around the world, helping to facilitate first/last mile connectivity and enable more efficient “whole trips.”
On-street Parking: Working with city governments, Zipcar has also been able to extend affordable, safe and clean transportation options to communities underserved by transit or in places with high density and few public parking locations.
Ride Hailing: In an effort to help expand the benefits of ride hailing, we’ve partnered with Lyft to make our fleet available on a monthly basis to people who want to drive, but for whom car ownership might not be an option.
Autonomous Cars: While self-driving cars can do many things, they can’t wash, service or maintain themselves. That’s where we come in with our dedicated staff that makes sure Waymo vehicles are clean, safe and ready for the road.
Multi-modal Transit: We’ve also partnered with Brightline, United States’ only privately owned, operated and maintained passenger rail service in the United States, in which we offer Brightline passengers in Florida and those living or working near Brightline’s current stations with convenient access to Avis and Zipcar vehicles. Vehicles can be reserved via integration with the Brightline app.
Microtransit: We’ve partnered with on-demand, shared transport provider Via to help them accelerate the growth of their ViaVan service in Milton Keynes (outside of London) by giving them access to our fleet of 8-seater vans.
Data Intelligence: For public and private organizations who choose to partner with Avis Budget Group, we can provide access to anonymized connected car data and our expert analysis through our Amazon Web Services collaboration. This could help create future vehicle innovation, new products and services for connected travelers and inform smart city planning, like road condition and traffic volume data.
We’re committed to working with the public and private sector to get to a day when transit, or mobility, works for everyone and we’re excited to be part of this transformation.