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The future of mobility – sustainable and digital

Sören Steckmest
25.06.2020 | 3 minutes
More mobility in the automotive sector

Imagine a typical scene in major German cities at rush hour: cars as far as the eyes can see, and congestion on all routes. Germany is facing imminent gridlock. To prevent it, people here urgently need to alter their mobility behavior. The market research institute Kantar predicts that these efforts will succeed and that the mobility turning point will be reached in major cities in 2030. From that point, there will be more cyclists and people who use public transport than car drivers. But there is still a long way to go.

Missing overview

After all, it’s not only the habits of people that stop them from ditching the car in favor of other modes of transport. Many simply don’t have an overview of all the offers that exist. So far, digitization has done little to change that. In particular, intermodular mobility in cities – where multiple forms of transport like an inner-city train as well as an e-scooter are used for a single journey – make this more complicated than it needs to be. This also goes for payment processing: there is still a lack of truly barrier-free offers that span multiple modes of digital transport.

Digital data creates transparency

I am convinced that digitization can help make mobility sustainable in the future. It’s thanks to digital data that mobility offers can be interlinked and real-time comparisons created based on mobility needs, both for public transport as well as shared-mobility providers. Ultimately, this transparency can contribute significantly towards people changing their old habits – a development that would very much be welcomed.

Intelligent mobility

Digital transformation is enabling smart mobility; the networking of communities, public operators and sharing providers is an important step in this direction. Mobility providers like sharing services as well as public transport utilize digital data that is gathered at a central hub: for example, real-time data in public transport or floating car data. This refers to data generated from vehicles that participate in traffic. This way, they can fundamentally improve their offers, coordinate with each other and thereby become more attractive to users. When people are able to quickly access information about how they can also reach their destination without their car, they will also use this option.

In my view, sharing services are the key to the mobility transformation since they play a decisive role for sustainability.

However, digital mobility with car-sharing, rental bikes and other offers requires that companies collect and process large volumes of vehicle and usage data. To do so, they need a sustainable and scalable system that allows individual business concepts and can be adjusted to market requirements.

Payment processing is crucial

An important step is also payment processing. In public transport, data-driven applications are already increasing the usage convenience for travelers. In Baden-Württemberg as well as elsewhere, some transport associations currently have mobile apps with smart e-ticket systems or are in the process of setting up these systems. But all networks have one drawback: they are based on different technologies. Anyone who pays for their rail ticket digitally and then continues their journey on an e-scooter, has to use multiple apps and complete several payment transactions.

Diverse offers

In the case of sharing-mobility providers, the fee models are also often just as varied as the offers: some charge per kilometer, others by the day, hour or minute. Moreover, the prices may vary depending on the time of day and users per journey. A consistent digital ecosystem is also needed here. The Swedish mobility app UbiGo shows how this can be done. It bundles the fees for using different modes of transport into a single bill.

In Germany, the Mobility Clearing Services from Arvato Financial Solutions provide a comprehensive digital technology for Subscription and order-to-cash. These are well-suited to sharing models and make life easier for users and providers alike. Complex processes are handled with ease – from customer registration including all important user data and the subsequent identity and credit check, to contractual conclusion and the payment process once the journey has ended. Payment reminders, receivables collection and finally the debt collection process are triggered automatically if necessary. Moreover, the system integrates usage data like kilometers traveled and the new location.

This is based on the digital platform from Arvato Financial Solutions, which manages all the processes – from customer management to payment claims. Mobility providers can offer their customers worldwide more than 300 payment methods and also adjust their prices at any time or create new offers. The Mobility Clearing Services integrate functionalities like payment gateways, accounting, subscription management, risk management as well as agile dunning and debt collection processes. The solution can also be seamlessly integrated into existing business ecosystems.

Ultimately, digitalization can help make the mobility of the future truly sustainable.

Sources:

Kantar: Mobility Futures, 2030 Forecast (https://www.kantartns.de/presse/pdf/presse/20200211-kantar-mobility-futures-forecast-infographic.pdf)

Plattform Zukunft Mobilität: Digitalisierung für den Mobilitässektor (https://www.plattform-zukunft-mobilitaet.de/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/NPM-AG-3-Digitalisierung-f%C3%BCr-den-Mobilit%C3%A4tssektor.pdf)

Plattform Zukunft Mobilität: Wussten Sie, dass Städter häufig intermodal unterwegs sind? (https://www.plattform-zukunft-mobilitaet.de/nl-news/staedter-haeufiger-intermodal-unterwegs-sind/)

Ministerium des Inneren Baden-Württemberg, für eine digitalisierte und nachhaltige Mobilität der Zukunft (https://im.baden-wuerttemberg.de/de/service/presse-und-oeffentlichkeitsarbeit/pressemitteilung/pid/fuer-eine-digitalisierte-und-nachhaltige-mobilitaet-der-zukunft/)

Nahverkehrsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg: MobiData BW (https://www.nvbw.de/aufgaben/digitale-mobilitaet/mobidata-bw/)

Ministerium für Verkehr Baden-Württemberg (https://vm.baden-wuerttemberg.de/de/politik-zukunft/zukunftskonzepte/digitale-mobilitaet/movebw/)

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Sören Steckmest
Vice President International Sales

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