Four reasons that going car-free is the future of mobility

Recently I purchased a car after living car-free for the last couple of years. But since the way in which we get around and the future trends of mobility are constantly shifting, it got me wondering if car ownership is a thing of the past?

I suppose where you live, and what your mobility needs are would heavily impact your need for a car. But, I thought it would be interesting to have a general look at some of the trends and other shifts in recent years, to see how necessary a vehicle really is.

The rise of the sharing economy

The sharing economy is the basic idea that everyday people can share and sell the things they are not using with other people. This is a shift from the typical business to customer model that our parents and grandparents grew up with. We all know some of the prime examples of the sharing economy: Airbnb, Uber and eBay are all well-known.

This progression in the concept of the use for items means that a car which typically sits around doing nothing for 95% of the time, can be shared or in the case of companies like Uber and Lyft can be used like a taxi service. Uber for example is now in 63 countries and over 700 cities, with almost 4 million drivers. And car sharing is not the only option now. We also have bike and scooter sharing schemes across many cities.

We are becoming more urbanised

This brings me to the next consideration. More and more we are living in cities and other urban areas. This is having a major influence on the development of mobility around cities. Today in Europe 72% of people live in urban areas and this is growing. In fact globally more people now live in urban areas than in rural areas. So statistically, when we need to get from A to B, chances are we are in a built up area, meaning with access to public transport and/or other ride sharing options.

We are well connected

Globally there are 3.5 billion smart phone users. Actually, by 2025 72.6% of the population will access the internet from just a smart phone. I know the question is what does this have to do with going car-free? Well, all of the new forms of mobility that have risen from the sharing economy, rely on smart phones and internet connections. This is how Uber can find you and you can find Uber, or how you unlock a shared bike in a city centre. We are now always connected, always up to date and always locatable thanks to our mobiles.

Status symbols have changed

This is not such a trend but something really interesting that I have heard a lot about over the past few years. Today, what we own is no longer considered a status symbol, but rather what you can access is. So even if you do buy a car, you no longer see it as a status symbol but possibly as a burden. Think about the access that you have now rather than a physical object. Netflix is a good example of this, I no longer own DVDs but have access to a streaming service, or I don’t buy music, I use a Spotify account instead. So now the demand is not so much on the cars themselves but the requirement to have access to the network.

So, if you are living in an urban area, not afraid of technology and prefer access over physical ownership. Then chances are that you are better placed to go car-free, at least for a while.

Phillip Barber

A big fan of the possibilities of future mobility and what this means for our everyday lives.

View all posts by Phillip Barber →

4 thoughts on “Four reasons that going car-free is the future of mobility

  1. Hi!
    I really like your post. Its productive and well-organized. However, i would say that future trends of mobility i think will be “electric cars” that could drive you along automatically without a driver. But, since i am going currently car-free at this stage of COVID-19 i would prefer to get from point A to point B on a vehicle rather than on public transportation ))

    1. Thanks for your feedback. How one gets from A to B is always a personal preference and under the current climate I can understand yours.

  2. I absolutely get your points. However, I do have to say that I’ve always always always loved the idea of having my own car, and actually having it for a couple of years now has given me so much freedom and happiness that I wouldn’t want to give it up anymore!

    1. Yes, I totally agree with you. I wouldn’t want to give up mine at the moment either. I imagine as shared accessability models become more popular in the future, I might change my mind though.

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