Jun 27, 2022 - Economy

Ride-sharing and e-scooters are growing twice as fast as mass transit

Global market size by mobility service
Data: Oliver Wyman Forum. Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

A new study finds that alternative mobility services, from ride-sharing to e-scooters, will grow twice as fast as traditional public transit annually through 2030.

Why it matters: If powered by electricity from renewable sources, many of these new modes of transportation could improve air quality, reduce noise levels, and shrink cities' carbon footprints.

  • That's according to the study conducted by Oliver Wyman Forum and the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) at the University of California-Berkeley.

Yes, but: More ride‑hailing and car-sharing could make congestion worse if commuters choose these services over mass transit.

The big picture: The researchers note that subways, buses, and commuter light rail are by far the most efficient and environmentally friendly ways to move people around cities.

  • During the pandemic, however, many people avoided mass transit in favor of shared bicycles, scooters, and car services.
  • That lost revenue weakened many cities' public transportation systems.

By the numbers: The researchers analyzed 13 mobility-related services in North America, Europe, and Asia.

  • They forecast a $660 billion global market for new mobility services by 2030, up from $260 billion in 2020.
  • Such services are expected to grow nearly 10% annually on average, compared with 5% for the overall transportation sector.
  • Some of the strongest growth (averaging 23% a year) will come from "semi‑mature and emerging services" — electric vehicle charging, bike and scooter sharing, carpooling services, and smart parking payment technology.

Three factors are driving the growth in new mobility services, the study found:

  • Technology: Integrated mobile apps ease navigation and longer-range batteries make scooters and e-bikes more viable.
  • Regulation: Cities are using a combination of taxes, subsidies, and infrastructure spending to influence the public's transportation choices.
  • Consumer demand: People want cheap, on-demand individual mobility, which explains the growth in shared bikes and cars over traditional mass transit.

The bottom line: The way people move about changed dramatically during the pandemic, and continues to evolve.

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