What is New Mobility? Emerging sector brings about tremendous possibilities and is about to change our ways of moving for good

By Maria Carlsson, Markus Karvinen, Francine Cunningham

12-2019

New Mobility is on everyone's lips at the moment. Key trends around the industry, such as autonomous driving, connectivity, as well as electrification of vehicles, and automation of production and individual services, are about to change our ways of moving, sharing and using the traffic infrastructure. Whilst the spectrum of businesses in new mobility is growing rapidly, the pace of change indicates that it's now more important than ever for sector players to stay ahead of the game.

Terminology

MaaS

Mobility as a Service. MaaS is a new modus operandi where new, sustainable and functional traffic system establishes end user-driven traffic and transport services in co-operation between the private and public sector - while the consumer benefits from digitalisation and the providers of gathered information and added value.

e-Mobility

Electro mobility is a general term describing the development of electric-powered vehicles ranging from full electric vehicles to hybrid and oxygen-using technology. E-mobility vehicles are designed to shift vehicle design away from the use of fossil fuels and carbon gas emissions.

TEN-T

Trans-European Transport Network. EU-based policy aiming at addressing the implementation and development of a Europe-wide network of railway lines, roads, inland waterways, maritime shipping routes, ports, airports and railroad terminals. The objective of the policy is to close gaps, remove bottlenecks and technical barriers, as well as to strengthen social, economic and territorial cohesion in the EU.

ITS

Intelligent Transportation Systems and Services. The aim of ITS is to utilise information and digitalisation to create new services and solutions to increase the safety, sustainability and fluency of traffic.

State of play: EU initiatives on smart and connected mobility

At the European Union (EU) level, during the 2014-2019 mandate, the outgoing Juncker Commission took various initiatives to support Smart and Connected Mobility:

  • A dedicated communication on Connected and Automated Mobility to make Europe a world leader for autonomous and safe mobility systems;
  • Two legislative initiatives establishing a digital environment for information exchange in transport;
  • A legislative initiative to streamline permitting procedures for projects on the core trans-European transport network (TEN-T).

In terms of investments, the European Commission has reserved a total budget of €1.4 billion to support sustainable transport projects. From this budget, €80.2 million is reserved for Intelligent Transport Systems for road (ITS) and €71.4 million for innovation and new technologies under the framework of the Connecting Europe Facility (the key EU funding system targeting infrastructure investment at European level in the fields of transport, energy and digital services).

In January 2016, the Commission launched a High Level Group (GEAR 2030), with automated and connected vehicles explicitly being one of its areas of work. The group gathered several Commissioners, Member States and stakeholders representing the automotive, telecoms, IT and insurance industries. The group made recommendations to ensure that the relevant policy, legal and public support framework is in place for the roll-out of highly automated and connected vehicles by 2030.

Besides the High Level Group, a collaborative platform bringing together Member States, public entities and organisations has been working on drafting recommendations for the European Commission in the field of e-mobility and transport digitalisation. Main deliverables of the platform include:

  • Recommendations and preparatory work for the proposal for a regulation on electronic freight transport information (EFTI);
  • A concept of digital corridor information systems ('federative platform'), aimed to facilitate data sharing between all types of supply chain stakeholders through connecting existing cross-border IT platforms and services.

New Commission to promote digitalisation to boost road safety

The newly elected European Commission includes Romanian Christian-democratic politician, Adina Valean, as the Commissioner for Transport. Valean has been given the task of coming forward with a comprehensive strategy for sustainable and smart mobility (which she has promised to present by the end of 2020). She has also been asked by the new Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, to make the most of the opportunities linked to connected and automated mobility, with a strong focus on digital innovation and ensuring the continued modernisation of key transport systems. Valean has stated that the new EU strategy, by unlocking the potential of new technologies and by developing secure driver assistance mechanisms, should contribute to increased safety and to the goal of zero deaths on EU roads by 2050 - “Vision Zero”.

At the same time, transport digitalisation will have an impact on the job sector and will create new challenges in terms of re-skilling workers employed in the automotive industry. Therefore, investments in re-skilling have been identified as a priority for the new Commission when drafting the new e-mobility strategy.

Climate Goals as Drivers of Change

Tackling climate change has become a top priority in the EU institutions across a range of policies, including transport. The Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has stated her aim for Europe to become the first climate neutral continent in the world and intends to present a European Green Deal within her first 100 days in the office. The Deal is expected to contain the first European Climate Law to enshrine the EU's climate neutrality target by 2050 into a law.

In line with the above-mentioned climate goals, the new Transport Commissioner Adina Valean, is also expected to focus on sustainability issues around European urban mobility, including the transport alternatives offered by new (shared, digital) mobility devices such as e-scooters and e-bikes. The current evaluation of the existing Urban Mobility Package will feed into this reflection, with the aim of addressing challenges linked to smart mobility, such as the use of public space, safety, maintenance, liability to social conditions and workers’ rights. Some of these areas are not yet covered by European legislation and may be deemed to require an intervention of EU lawmakers in the coming years.

Cities are also increasingly interested in investing in intelligent transportation infrastructure. In the Nordics, for instance, Helsinki has committed to significantly limit its greenhouse emissions and aims to become the world's most functional city, as well as totally carbon neutral by 2035. To reach this ambitious goal, The Finnish capital will improve the energy efficiency of its buildings (including redevelopment and renovation) and increase the proportion of electric cars and buses as well as rail transport. Furthermore, Helsinki is to establish preconditions for fast growth of electric cars by enabling market-based construction of a public charging infrastructure. Renewable energy will be at the centre of it.

Nordic Forerunners

Finland and other Nordic countries have proven to be well positioned within the new mobility industry, due to the size of their markets, liberal regulation, as well as the culture of innovation. For instance, the world's first unified MaaS market will be created in the Nordics . On the other hand, digitalisation within the traditional car industry has also opened completely new opportunities for companies who master both technology and design with the help of digital footprints: focusing on areas such as digital user interfaces and artificial intelligence (AI).

Furthermore, The Nordics have been well equipped to take on a leading role and shift their transport system due to the legislative environment in these countries around key trends of mobility. For instance, the Finnish Act on Transport Services (Laki liikenteen palveluista in Finnish, also known as Liikennepalvelulaki) came into force in 2018. The Act changed the Finnish transport market, which was earlier strictly regulated, with its main objective being to improve customer-oriented transport services. The Act aggregates the legislation of the transport market and establishes the preconditions for the digitalisation of transport as well as new business models. It also aims at significantly promoting the implementation of new technology, digitalisation, as well as business models.

The buzz around New Mobility will not be relenting during the next decade. The European Commission has recently issued communications, consultations and initiatives as part of the EU's "Digital Agenda" to support the introduction of Connected and Automated Driving.

Since 2013, Bird & Bird's offices have advised clients on intelligent road and infrastructure projects, investments involving autonomous steering and safety technologies for cars, trains and boats as well as on matters involving 'mobility hub' technology in the form of apps enabling 'one stop shop' use of buses, trains, trams and taxis.

Whether traditional automotive players, new entrants or future disruptors, clients in new mobility benefit from Bird & Bird's exceptional market expertise and knowledge of new mobility industry practices, provided by a full range of commercial and strategic advice.

Our regulatory & public affairs team is also on hand to help clients navigate the new European landscape, follow EU policy issues with the potential to impact their business and engage with EU decision makers.