May 30, 2020 - Economy & Business

How mobility could play out after coronavirus

Modes of transportation

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Transportation came to a virtual standstill in the past few months, but how it will look in three-to-five years is difficult to predict, even for the mobility experts at Deloitte Consulting.

The big picture: A lot will depend on how long the pandemic lasts, and the degree to which governments — and even private industry — collaborate to manage the economic fallout, says Deloitte's Scott Corwin, who leads the firm's future of mobility practice.

Here are four possible outcomes, from a group of "renowned scenario thinkers" assembled by Deloitte and Salesforce. The details are worth reading, but here's a quick summary:

1. The public health and economic crises are acute but end fairly quickly.

  • After a brief pause, most transportation returns to normal, but with an increased reliance on e-commerce and home delivery and a greater emphasis on sanitation and safety.

2. Mobility companies step in to fill the transportation void left by the struggling public sector.

  • Privately owned, on-demand mobility supplants public transit in some neighborhoods, potentially leaving others without access to transportation.

3. China, Singapore and Japan become the leaders in mobility innovation, including battery technology.

  • Cities adopt China's hands-on government policies to manage the rollout of new technologies, and consumers share their data with the government in exchange for better service.

4. Economic woes drag on and globalization fades, while cities and states regulate the movement of people and goods more closely.

  • Mobility services turn into quasi-public transit.
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