Updated Jun 16, 2023 - Economy

Private car use will decline globally, researchers project

Data: McKinsey Center for Future Mobility; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: McKinsey Center for Future Mobility; Chart: Axios Visuals

Privately owned vehicles will make up a smaller and smaller share of global transportation as autonomous vehicles become more feasible and cities fight overcrowding, according to new research by the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility.

By the numbers: Private cars will account for 29% of transportation in 2035, down from 45% in 2022, according to new estimates by McKinsey provided to Axios.

  • New modes of mobility — namely robotaxis — will increase from virtually zero today to 8% of global transportation in that same time span, McKinsey projected.
  • Micromobility services — such as scooters and bicycles — will rise from 16% of transportation in 2022 to 19% in 2035.

The big picture: As self-driving car technology becomes more viable, it will make robotaxis an increasingly legitimate option, says Timo Möller, co-leader of the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility.

  • Meanwhile, overcrowded cities, particularly in Europe, will make it more expensive and less feasible to own a vehicle in urban areas, Möller tells Axios.

Yes, but: For Americans, privately owned vehicles make up a much higher share of their transportation at about 80%, Möller says.

  • There's definitely a "high car reliance" in the U.S., Möller tells Axios. But "the direction will be similar in the U.S." with private car use declining as a share of overall transportation.
Go deeper