The 3 Personas of Emerging Mobility
Written by Ian Sweeney January 23, 2020
Leaders from a variety of industries – including those at the forefront of mobility – have long anticipated 2020 as a benchmark year for measuring progress. It’s hard to believe that this once looming milestone is now upon us!
As we usher in this highly anticipated decade, it’s clear that mobility innovation is releasing many people from the restriction of vehicle ownership, and our observations suggest the industry is also beginning to develop three distinct personas.
We humbly present to you our three personas of mobility – outlining the key characteristics and risk implications associated with each. Read on to jumpstart your 2020!
The 3 Personas of Emerging Mobility
Key characteristics: testing the waters, growing, under constant supervision
Key examples: robotic delivery, electric mopeds
The fun part of our work is that we get to engage with an industry of innovators and entrepreneurs at the birthing of their businesses. These nascent businesses have a modest goal; launch! So who are the toddlers of mobility?
During CES 2020, Trov noticed a larger footprint from robotic delivery technologies, with Agility Robotics making its bipedal robot Digit available for purchase. This news came just weeks after Postmates was spotted testing its robotic delivery service in LA.
We’re also receiving a lot of inbound insurance inquiries for nascent services filling in the gaps between mobility form factors. For example, electric mopeds are seeing a resurgence as they’re seen to fit between carshare and e-bike/scooter share. Similarly, we’re seeing more demand for coverage for [Renault Twizy](https://techcrunch.com/2019/10/10/electric-moped-startup-revel-raises-27-6-million-as-it-eyes-new-markets/’s single seater “car” capable of ferrying you and your groceries home while keeping you dry and warm.
Challenges are manifold for these mobility “up-and-comers,” who are primarily focused on securing investment and formally launching their businesses. For starters, aspiring disruptors are doubling down on R&D, as they await a clear regulatory landscape and explore the risk environment for their respective offerings. The risk environment is challenging for these businesses as in many cases an insurance policy doesn’t exist for their risk. With Trov’s mobility focus, we’re successfully sourcing insurance protection for these businesses by leveraging the power of these connected vehicle’s data.
Key characteristics: scrappy, flexible, working out the kinks
Key examples: autonomous vehicles, mobility-as-a-service (MaaS)
The folks in the category of Teenagers might surprise you. Some of these modes of mobility were the “hottest new thing” in the last few years, and they are now reaching a certain level of maturity.
Disruptors in the autonomous vehicles (AV) arena made significant strides in 2019. While experts predict society is still a few years out from introducing a true self-driving vehicle, most of the technology needed to get us there is already in place, albeit not yet perfect. Meanwhile, the regulatory climate is continuing to clear up, with the Trump administration recently indicating strong support for the sector with the release of its latest AV principles from federal agencies.
As the AV regulatory environment clears up, it adds another mode of transport to the mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) mix. In simple terms, MaaS is the ability to avail yourself of multiple modes of transport via a single service. In the US, we’re seeing rideshare providers like Lyft and Uber provide MaaS services including ridehail, ridepool, e-bike and e-scooter, where the vehicles are not necessarily owned or operated by the Ridehail company. Combined with progress in Europe, some expect that mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) could represent a $160 billion total addressable market by 2030.
There is still a big issue for these “teenagers” to work out; mass adoption. In 2020, AV and MaaS providers will need to work out how to drive broad adoption. Awareness and competitive pricing are certainly critical but providers will need to focus more resources toward safety positioning – including upleveling their insurance. For example, AV forerunners like Waymo have been successful in leveraging insurance to guarantee a high level of service and ultimately help consumers feel secure.
Key characteristics: mature, ripe for consolidation, potentially on the verge of a mid-life crisis
Key examples: ride-share, micromobility
Ride-share and (perhaps more surprisingly) micromobility solutions had become nearly “old school” by the end of 2019. After an energizing 2018, which saw massive investment into dockless scooter fleets and unprecedented consumer adoption, the sector matured rapidly in 2019. Dare we say it… these forms of mobility can now be likened to the “adults” of the mobility sector.
Last April, the National Association of City Transportation Officials revealed that more than twice as many trips—84 million—were taken via shared micromobility modes in the U.S. in 2018 over 2017. Ride-sharing maintained steady growth, with 36% of Americans using ride sharing services in 2018 compared to 15% in 2015, while New York cyclists took a record-breaking 100,000 rides in a single day in 2019.
That said, the micromobility sector is largely saturated and the days of investors piling money into these companies have likely come and gone. Many e-scooter brands – including Lime, Bird, Scoot, Lyft, and Skip – held layoffs or withdrew from certain markets in the past year alone. And on the heels of Bird’s acquisition of Scoot, we only expect to see further consolidation in the year ahead.
As they continue their journey into maturation, micromobility brands are starting to get serious about cutting costs in 2020, applying operational rigor, and making real money. Lowering risk is an important part of the ROI equation, and something smart mobility providers will increasingly prioritize as they look to avoid a “midlife crisis.”
At Trov, we are thinking about each of these personas and how best to support and reduce risk for companies at each maturity level. If you’re interested in learning more about how we work our magic, check out our mobility page or reach out to us at email@example.com.