The Aon team wish to thank expert Jillian Syfield for her contributions.
Illustration by Vic Kulihin.
Click red circles to learn more about each type of transportation mode
From electric scooters to ride-hailing apps, technology is rapidly changing how we get around our cities. Learn more by clicking through the city below.
How Tech Is Reshaping Transportation
Better accessibility: urban areas are easier to visit, boosting the economy
Large footprint: many different urban neighborhoods and suburbs are connected
Eco-friendly: trains produce lower carbon emissions
Security concerns: accidents and crime are common across many mass transit systems
Inconsistent service: punctuality of trains can be unpredictable
Aging infrastructure: train systems have aged in certain areas
As the adoption of self-driving cars grows, ride-sharing companies may start offering fully autonomous vehicles via their apps. Car manufacturers could also enter the ride-share space for self-driving cars, changing the way people own and use their cars.
Accident reduction: increased sensors in vehicles can communicate with each other to improve driver and pedestrian safety
Improved traffic flow: increased connectivity
could lead to better route planning
Liability concerns: there is uncertainty as to whether liability falls to the technology or the manufacturer
Inconsistent regulation: varies by country
Shaky safety: AV technology functions well in testing environments but road performance still unproven
Along with other autonomous vehicles, self-driving buses employ technology including sensors, radar and cameras that allow them to drive, park and maneuver – all without a human driver.
Decreased operating costs: autonomous buses don’t rely on drivers, resulting in significant cost reduction
Eco-friendly option: buses produce lower emissions than cars
various tech errors could cause accidents
Security issues: no driver means less security on buses
Improved safety: potential to reduce road risks and accidents
In metropolitan areas around the world, riders can rent bikes through a mobile app, picking them up from, and returning them to, docking stations located throughout the cities and towns.
Eco-friendly option: bikes produce zero carbon emissions
Increased access: bikes provide an easy and economical way to move around cities
Inconsistent regulation: rider safety standards vary by country and even by city
Liability concerns: rider or third-party accidents have no clear answer on liability
Look along the sidewalk of any big town or city and you’re likely to spot a cluster of free-standing electric scooters. These scooters, which can travel up to 30 miles per hour, are playing a larger role in the urban transportation landscape, especially in addressing the “last mile” of transit.
Increased accessibility: inexpensive and convenient renting makes public transit more accessible
Accidents and injury coverage: typically not covered by standard auto, homeowners’ or renters’ policies
Rider and pedestrian safety: danger to pedestrians when ridden on sidewalks; no enforcement of rider safety standards
Cost efficiency: scooters are cheaper to fuel than cars and buses
Carbon footprint: associated with charging, maintenance and recycling of the lithium ion battery
Commuters are already hailing rides through any number of ride-sharing service platforms such as Uber or Lyft. Most ride-sharing companies currently rely on independent contractors to either drive their own cars or lease them from the company itself.
Increased access: ride-hailing provides transport to more rural areas, especially to commuters not on public-transit routes and those with restricted ability to drive such as the elderly or disabled
ride-sharing services can be
less expensive than taking a taxi, for example, offering more transport options to riders across socioeconomic classes
Improved regulations: jurisdictions around the world have employed standard protections for riders
Liability concerns: a variety of scenarios have no clear answer on liability
Cyber security issues: technology platforms could leave passenger and driver information vulnerable to cyber attacks
Decreased traffic congestion: greater driver pick-up and drop-off efficiency could lead to declines in road congestion
Required maintenance: general upkeep of bicycles, including disposal of broken or damaged bikes, is needed
General liability: few, if any, ridership laws restrict who can ride a scooter
In an attempt to stay relevant to customers, train companies are integrating their systems with transport-planning apps and ticket sites. Helsinki was one of the first cities to pilot mobility as a service (MaaS) with a centralized, subscription-based transit app where subscribers can plan, reserve and pay for their trips on the city’s trains as well as shared bikes, cars and scooters.