Mexico City’s inhabitants take 66 percent more time to complete any distance due to traffic, awarding it the title of the most congested city in the world. “We lose about an hour a day and more than 267 hours in traffic per year,” told Alejandro Sisniega, Mexico’s Country Manager for Cabify, at the Intertraffic Expo, last November 16 at Centro Citibanamex.
What can be done to make mobility sustainable and improve traffic management? That was a key question addressed by the panelists at the Expo, who believed a structural, economic and cultural change is urgently needed.
For starters, “people need to stop buying cars. We need to stop possessing and learn to use,” said Sisniega, emphasizing the need for citizens to change the perspective from owning a car to using public transportation.
In this scenario, it is essential to monitor mobility trends to better prepare for the future. According to him, in 25 years the norm will be access to transport and not the possession of transport means. “To share will be the rule and to own a vehicle the exception,” he said.
The trends also point toward a more connected and shared mobility, with more technology. For 2030 40 percent of commutes in the country are expected to be shared through the use of digital platforms such as Uber, Cabify, Easy Taxi and Bla Bla Car, among others. In this scenario, it is essential to “start getting used to the creation of communities,” said Sisniega referring to the shared economy created through these platforms. This economy is self-regulated as users rate the members and this score is what ultimately guarantees the efficiency of the system. During 2017 shared mobility apps have been downloaded four times more than cars purchased.
Environmental preservation is also a great concern when it comes to mobility. Electric cars reduce CO2 emissions by about 40 percent, but Mexico still lacks infrastructure in terms of charging stations and technology for them to be truly efficient and viable for users. “Like any other technology, the more we advance, the cheaper it will become,” said Sisniega.
Autonomous cars are also leading the trends. “They are a reality. Practically all technology companies in the automotive sector are developing autonomous vehicles,” he said. Autonomous vehicles are expected to free up 1.9 billion minutes a year that users spend in their cars while stuck in traffic. This is reusable time that can significantly increase productivity levels.
“We are experiencing the third transport revolution,” Sisniega pointed out. He believes that it is key to strive for fostering and accelerating these mobility changes through regulations that can impact beyond the automotive sector, to improve life quality of citizens.
Alfonso Vélez, Founding Partner of Autotraffic agreed. “Let us not make the same mistake that we made 100 years ago by designing cities for cars. We need to plan cities for the people,” he concluded.