SEAM – A New Vision of Urban Mobility
The advancement of technology is unstoppable, but it is still up to us to use it as a force for good. A new vision of urban mobility has emerged and societies have the tools to make a smooth transition. SEAM stands for Shared, Electric and Autonomous Mobility, which is the recipe for healthier cities with greatly reduced carbon emissions. The shift to this new system would also improve mobility efficiency while greatly decreasing carbon costs. A multibillion-dollar industry will benefit from these changes, so the incentive is there to move to sustainable transportation today.
Accomplishing the SEAM Goals – One Step at a Time
Achieving the goals of Shared, Electric and Autonomous Mobility is a matter of will and coordination. The success of this transition would reverberate across broader mobility ecosystems and positively impact society. The technology is readily available and policymakers have the unique opportunity of tapping into its immense potential. Harnessing the multiple SEAM benefits is a matter of urgency and the wheels are set in motion to make the dream of sustainable transportation a reality.
As cities are suffocating under heavy traffic, ride hailing services offer the promise of a brighter future. Services such as Lyft, Uber or Bolt are expanding rapidly and have already gained a lot of traction worldwide. Such mobility services have the merit of reducing traffic congestion, especially when integrated with public transit. Authorities have the opportunity to coordinate share mobility systems, to augment the existing public transportation networks.
Supporting the electrification and pooling of ride hailing through layered taxes and financial incentives is one way to promote share mobility. These alternative transportation options are perfect for dense urban environments and have the potential of overcoming the preference for single-occupancy transportation. Private and public partnerships are needed to encourage the effective use of city resources when planning the future of urban transit.
Government intervention and support has acted as a catalyst for the electrification. Fiscal incentives and supportive policy provided the impetus to develop vehicles that are on par with those using incumbent technologies. The biggest obstacle to overcome is proper infrastructure investment, which has so far acted as a major obstacle in the way of broader electric vehicle adoption. Limited autonomy and charging issues have plagued the sales of electric vehicles in some countries, Romania included.
The future of electric vehicles looks particularly bright, as falling battery costs make these cars more competitive every year. It is estimated that within the next decade, efficiency will increase so much and battery costs will drop enough to make electric cars better than combustion vehicles. Overarching policies that target both consumers and automakers are accelerating the switch to electric vehicles. Public and private sectors must be engaged to efficiently and quickly deploy the infrastructure needed for the faster adoption of electric cars.
The technology is already here and autonomous vehicles roam the streets of many countries. Fine-tuning and overcoming the legal challenges are holding it back from reaching its full potential. However, this is only a matter of time and this technology is likely to have the greatest impact on urban mobility. In order to maximize the success of autonomous vehicles, such rides should be electrified and pooled. This will greatly decrease existing pollution and congestion issues while also decreasing transportation costs.
National authorities are responsible with creating the legal framework for autonomous vehicle testing. Steadfast support for this technology will encourage automakers to double their efforts, while boosting public confidence. The same goes for establishing strict liability standards and prevention protocols that will mitigate the risks of fatal accidents. The technology behind autonomous vehicles appeal to a broad audience, but public confidence must grow before drivers are ready to relinquish control.