A recent McKinsey report titled “The Future of Mobility” predicts a transformative shift in the mobility ecosystem, comparable to the early days of the automobile industry. One of the prominent changes expected is the decline in private car usage. The report, authored by analysts Kersten Heineke, Nicholas Laverty, Timo Möller, and Felix Zieglerled, explores regional trends and forecasts the complex transformations that could reshape the sector by 2035.
As the mobility sector continues to evolve with technological advancements and innovative solutions from start-ups and traditional OEMs, the problem of congested roads still needs to be solved. Traffic congestion is a global issue, causing significant time wastage for commuters. Munich drivers, for example, lose an average of 87 hours in traffic annually, while the figure in Los Angeles reached 119 hours before the pandemic.
Currently, there are 1.3 billion vehicles in use worldwide, with a substantial number owned privately. Countries like the United States, Norway, and Mexico have high vehicle ownership rates, contributing to road congestion due to the limited passenger capacity of private cars compared to public transportation or shared options. Despite the rise of ride-sharing services, private car usage still accounts for 45 percent of all trips, surpassing public transport, micromobility, ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and walking.
The prevalence of private car congestion not only causes frustration but also leads to the construction of parking spaces and garages, consuming valuable urban land that could be utilized for other purposes. In the United States, a highly car-dependent country, there are eight available parking spots for every car. Moreover, expanding roadways and related infrastructure to alleviate congestion increases government spending on maintenance and operations. Most importantly, high rates of private car ownership contribute to increased carbon emissions, exacerbating environmental concerns.
However, the next decade is expected to witness a significant transformation in the mobility ecosystem. Governments are implementing regulations to reduce vehicle numbers on the road, aiming to alleviate congestion and lower emissions.
Simultaneously, consumers are expressing preferences for more efficient, sustainable, and convenient transportation options. Advancing technologies may introduce even more innovative mobility solutions, such as roboshuttles (shared autonomous minibuses with four to eight seats) or urban air taxis, resulting in an intelligent, seamless, and environmentally friendly mobility ecosystem.
The report reveals that respondents are open to shifting their transportation habits, with increasing interest in micromobility and shared mobility options. The desire for a more enjoyable mobility experience and sustainability concerns are driving these shifts. Additionally, regulations are promoting awareness and sustainability, with numerous cities implementing measures to curb private car use and encourage greener transport.
The report states, ‘Although private cars will remain the most popular transportation option, their share of total mobility will decline.’
While some emerging mobility trends and automotive technologies, including electric vehicles and advanced batteries, gain significant attention, others are quietly emerging and could profoundly impact future mobility in the coming years. For instance, autonomous vehicles are expected to see increased automation features, making them highly automated or capable of self-driving on highways by 2025. Major urban areas like Beijing, London, and New York could become leading markets for shared autonomous vehicles, capitalizing on a large customer base in these locations.
Read the full report at www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/automotive.pdf
If the forecast above is proven to be correct, both auto dismantlers and metals recyclers, similar to OEMs, will need to carefully evaluate the consequences of a reduced passenger vehicle industry on their respective operations.