Fleet Forward asked eight subject matter experts from various corners of the travel, transportation, and mobility spectrums to assess the short- and long-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on mobility.
We asked them: What will be the state of shared mobility/carsharing in the near future and further out? Will the pandemic accelerate certain mobility options, or will latent hesitancies exist from a health/safety standpoint that will dampen the market for a long time? Will the pandemic force shared mobility operators to rethink their services or business models?
First Mobility Recession
Susan A. Shaheen, Ph.D., Co-Director, Transportation Sustainability Research Center,University of California, Berkeley:
This is the first recession for many of the shared mobility service providers. Numerous concerns exist about the financial viability of some of these services, particularly those that are currently losing money. The impacts of this downturn could be exacerbated by a reduction in overall travel behavior and social distancing.
Some communities have banned shared mobility services associated with concerns of COVID-19 even though these services can provide a critical form of mobility for essential trips for carless households. In other cases, we’ve seen the rise of their use, for example, micromobility services in New York City prior to shelter-in-place orders.
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