Tobias Kruse

Fjord and Volkswagen launch the future of mobility study

When your starting point for mobility is asking “what tech is available?”, you’re destined to miss the mark.

Developments in mobility — driven by the rise of megacities and the way technology has reinvented taxis, ownership, fuel and power — are having a major effect on many industries. To create the products and services people really want — in mobility and beyond — we set out with the Volkswagen Group to learn what motivates people’s transport-related decisions in very different places across 12 countries. In our Future of Mobility study, launched today, we’ve found that different citizens have wildly varying mindsets, which appears in almost every country. This is powerful for understanding how we should design solutions for them.

Why this mobility study is different

Other mobility studies often focus on technology, or concepts for mobility, like autonomous vehicles. This is limiting because it narrows your view into what’s possible, and what people truly need and want.

Instead we focussed on understanding people and their context so that we can build a complete picture. We dug right into what makes different people tick, what drives their choices, and what connects their influences with those of other people in other places. We talked to people in diverse places, each place chosen for its unique characteristics, which would give us as many insights as possible. We looked into the habits they develop, what makes them happy, what frustrates them, and what would make them change their routines.

We asked questions based on emotions and feelings. “What feelings made you choose that mode of transport?”, “How do you feel when you’re traveling?”

Such questioning revealed patterns in people’s different behaviors, and we found that our transport choices can be divided into distinct groups.

We identified 21 human themes, clusters of observations that each revolve around a similar set of behaviors and goals. As we analyzed the themes, patterns started to emerge: several human themes shared the same behavioral driver, even if their resulting actions differed. This enabled us to group the 21 human themes into what we’re calling the mobility mindsets:

Risk evaders: “I plan around things I’d rather avoid.”

Penny pushers: “I need to spend my money wisely.”

Comfort seekers: “I need to be comfortable.”

Planners: “I need to plan ahead.”

Humanitarians: “Our future is important.”

Joy makers: “I do it because I enjoy it.”

We go into them in more detail in our findings on our mobility microsite.

This concept reaches well beyond the auto industry. Whether an energy provider, a city, government, airline, insurance or transportation-related business, if any company wants to understand fully how it should evolve itself for the future, it must take as keen an interest in learning about people as it does in analyzing the market.

Reach out so we can talk about your mobility needs.

Tobias Kruse

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