The difference between transportation and mobility is nuanced. This conversation1 becomes increasingly important as society and the advancement of technology progresses, continuing to impact access for all types of people.
Simply put, “transportation” refers to the way in which people travel. Think trains, planes, and automobiles. “Mobility” refers to people’s access to those means of transportation. As @Jordan McKay of Forum for the Future2 says, “transportation is something you do, and mobility is something you have.”
With this in mind, as the global population grows and technology advances, there is an increasing need for widespread access to mobility. Fortunately, with the adoption and expansion of shared mobility services like Lyft, Uber, Lime, Turo, ZipCar, Fluid Truck, and dozens of others, mobility is more accessible for people everywhere than ever before.
When discussing mobility, it’s important to consider that most of these companies do not own the vehicles on their platforms — rather, they provide the access to the assets as marketplaces. Access over ownership is a fundamental principle of the sharing economy and marketplaces overall. This community participation reinforces the platform through network effects where value increases as there are more participants.
Mobility as a service is only growing
According to Precedence Research3, the global shared mobility market was estimated at USD $454.64 billion in 2021, and is expected to reach over USD $945.83 billion by 2030.
Experts attribute several factors to this near doubling of the market size over the upcoming decade. Rising gas prices, increased traffic, higher costs of owning vehicles, and general lack of parking in urban areas all play a part in the need for shared mobility solutions.
The opportunities to overcome these challenges within the mobility space for individual consumers are varied and plentiful. From the ride-sharing phenomenon brought about by Uber and Lyft, to the short-term renting of scooters and bikes that dot our urban streets, the size of the consumer mobility space has been at the center and focus for most big dollars and press.
While we applaud and support the solutions that are addressing mobility shortcomings in the day-to-day life of consumers, it’s vital that we don’t leave the small and medium-sized businesses powering our economy out of the conversation.
What about mobility for businesses?
Mobility access is equally crucial to the operations of smaller businesses. Many are in the business of distributing goods and services or transporting people for commercial purposes, thus requiring a reliable, efficient, and affordable way to do so.
Vehicles are expensive, but for most it’s a necessity in how their business operates. Whether it’s catering to our on-demand economy4 of moving goods to the home or office, or construction companies building and maintaining our future, opportunities and solutions for these companies are still rather limited. Vehicles require capital access, significant maintenance cost, and impact our environment.
Capital Access: Businesses who use vehicles in their operation have limited options available to them in how they finance, access, and utilize their asset. In short, the company can purchase, lease, or rent a vehicle. Both purchasing and leasing have capital availability and outlay considerations – Does the business have the cash or can they receive credit to fund the asset acquisition? For the 5.4 million businesses started in 2021 and millions more, that might not be the case.
Maintenance: Purchasing and owning a commercial vehicle comes with a whole slew of costs — insurance, maintenance, repairs, financing, taxes & fees — not to mention the consideration of overall depreciation on your vehicle over the years. On average, additional commercial vehicle expenses (or their true cost to own) over a 5-year period can range from $35,000–$45,0005 once all the above factors have been added up.
Sustainability: Simply put, a vehicle purchased is another vehicle on the road. With crowded central business districts and emission domes6, reduction of both the number of vehicles on the road and the emissions they produce is critical. Sharing vehicles both from the perspective of the asset owner and the one utilizing the asset, accomplishes both objectives.
Flexibility: By supporting multiple borrowers throughout a day or period, utilization of the asset increases. A borrower who only needs a vehicle for a couple hours allows for that vehicle to be utilized by someone else, reducing the requirement for additional vehicles to service the needs of businesses. Out of the gate, Fluid Truck supports this flexible access method through our connectivity and mobile application.
Let’s Talk More About Mobility for Businesses
Ok now here’s the pitch. Let the businesses driving our economy in on the mobility conversation. A business can be sustainable, reduce their capital expenditure, and leave the hassle of maintaining a vehicle behind with flexible access to mobility solutions for their business. Let’s provide mobility for those that are powering our future.