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Our new research shows digital technologies could reduce the number of vehicles on our roads

1 July 2016

New concepts in personal transport built on digital technologies could reduce the amount of cars needed on urban roads globally by up to 20 million vehicles per year in 2025, offering huge sustainability benefits and an improved experience for travellers. These are some of the key findings of new research published today in our joint research with Frost & Sullivan.

The research, “Environmentally Sustainable Innovation in Automotive Manufacturing and Urban Mobility”, suggests that consumer trends towards ‘on demand’ access rather than product ownership is prompting car manufacturers to consider ride-on-demand business models. When combined with the integration of smart vehicles and smart roads and cities, all connected, these business models will lead to fewer and more efficient journeys, reducing journeys in private cars overall by 360 billion kilometres per year within the next decade.

Environmentally Sustainable Innovation in Automotive Manufacturing and Urban Mobility

These developments stand to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 56 megatonnes per year in 2025. That is an amount equivalent to more than half the yearly emissions from transport in the UK. A further reduction of 121 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions could be achieved by automotive companies due to the reduction of the global car output by 20 million vehicles per year.

By introducing sustainable production methods, including lightweight materials, expanding the use remanufactured parts and better integrated supply chains, the embodied carbon impact could be reduced by another 89 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2025.

The research suggests that this new era of mobility business models has a user-centric, service-led approach to delivery and is leading to a potential shift away from car ownership to the use of mobility services in several cases. Through smartphone-based on-demand solutions, connected parking solutions, and integrated mobility services, technology is playing a critical role in carving out new urban mobility solutions that are rapidly moving from niche to mainstream transportation options. These new personal mobility services all require highly connected IT solutions with access to real-time data.

  • According to the study, smart parking solutions, using a connected infrastructure of sensors that draws on numerous data sources in real time to allow the most efficient routes to vacant parking spaces to be calculated, could deliver £49 billion in productivity and fuel savings and reduce yearly carbon emissions by 23 megatonnes in 2025.
  • Ridesharing platforms that facilitate spontaneous use of spare capacities in private cars could bring a reduction of 40 billion kilometres travelled, which would generate savings of £15 billion for users and reduce carbon emissions by five megatonnes.
  • Ride-on-demand models, where users hire cars on a pay-per-minute basis, could remove 10 million vehicles from the road in 2025, eliminating 15 megatonnes of emissions.  

“These findings show that IoT solutions will transform the entire industry. Traditional car manufacturers are rethinking their business models and will become personal mobility service providers,” says Hubertus von Roenne, vice president global industry practices, BT. “BT is ready to help the industry turn digital disruption to its own advantage and enjoy the benefits of a more sustainable future. We’re committed to helping all our customers to live and work more sustainably and more efficiently.”

Download the research
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