Automakers Are Shifting Their Focus

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photo by Lynda Green photography for the Clean Air Campaign

Much as it has in other areas, technology is beginning to disrupt traditional transportation – hopping in a car, driving alone, sitting in traffic. Car makers are making some major investments in a new future transportation. But guess what – it isn’t George Jetson flying cars.

At the Consumer Electronics Show that took place earlier this month, automakers spoke about innovations and future investments. While no one’s talking about stopping vehicle production, there’s a very significant shift toward “mobility.” To automakers, that term means everything from investing in TNCs (General Motors Co. announced it has invested $500 million in Lyft) to group leasing (Ford Motor Credit Co. has said it will launch a pilot program in Austin for groups of owners to share a lease on the same vehicle).

And let’s not forget autonomously driven vehicles, which had the head of Barclay’s auto analyst team predict – and not for the first time – that auto sales will drop an astounding 40% in the U.S. over the next 25 years. This prediction took place at this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

What does all of this mean for you? While no one knows when or even exactly what it will entail, it is likely that in the next 10-20 years, most people won’t drive and they may not even own cars. They will get a ride where they need it, when they need it.

This could be a good thing. We already know there’s not enough room on our roads for all the cars that people who move to Austin are bringing with them. We also know that the solution isn’t building more roads – no one wants to the tax increases or tolls to pay for it.

Are you an early adopter? Are you just so tired of being frustrated with traffic that you will try anything? Start practicing now so that the first steps aren’t so daunting. Download RideScout and check out your options. Play a little – try something new over the weekend by jumping on transit or carpooling or using Lyft/Uber. Experiment with leaving for work a little earlier or later to avoid rush hour or try working from home one day (check with your manager first).

Fly your early adopter flag proudly. Relax and let someone else drive. And know that even using an option one day each week reduces your contribution to our traffic problem by 20 percent! If you need it, the Movability Tool Box can help.

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