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Freedom of Mobility Forum analyzes global transportation habits, thoughts on greener options

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YouGov, in partnership with the Freedom of Mobility Forum, has released the results of a new survey that measures the appetite for change in mobility habits of people in five countries.

The results were shared during the second annual Freedom of Mobility Forum Wednesday and fueled the discussions with the international panel of experts and university students from three continents, according to a news release shared by Stellantis.

According to the survey results, 1 in 4 global citizens aren’t ready to make eco-friendly transportation choices, particularly in the U.S. where more than half of respondents in rural areas said they weren’t ready to change anything.

While 3 in 4 individuals are gearing up for greener options less than 10% have already made profound changes, signaling that we are only just beginning to rev up for bigger changes ahead, the release states.

Six in 10 respondents said they’re ready to ditch “driver-only” transportation, but enthusiasm varies across the map with India, Brazil, and Morocco leading the charge. Fifty percent or less are willing to in mature markets — a factor that drops to 28% in rural areas in the U.S. where mass transit can be less available, the release states.

As for who’s steering the “green revolution,” YouGov found it to be lawmakers and citizens with companies trailing except in the U.S.

Younger generations are also making more of an influence in the revolution, according to the survey results. One in 4 global citizens said they believe they hold the key to our green future, with 40% in India believing they can spearhead change.

“Although the youth will likely be influential in driving change for greener transportation, their actions are not yet more tangible than the rest of the population,” said YouGov General Manager Alexandre Devineau, in the release. “Their choices, and the dynamic resulting from them, will have a strong influence on the transportation challenges that will have to be addressed worldwide.”

The survey was conducted in Brazil, France, India, Morocco, and the United States in January. There were 5,095 respondents, around 1,000 from each country, 18 years and older.

Conceived by Stellantis as an open forum for the public to hear a broad range of perspectives as society faces the mobility challenges of the future, the Freedom of Mobility Forum is a live debate on diverse and controversial opinions. This year, how planetary limits could reshape freedom of mobility from technology, business, and lifestyle perspectives was explored.

The panelists included:

    • Majora Carter, urban strategist and real estate developer;
    • Manal Jalloul, AI Lab co-founder and CEO;
    • Roberto Schaeffer, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro energy economics professor;
    • Matthias Schmelzer, economic historian, social theorist, and climate activist; and
    • Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis and Freedom of Mobility Forum Advisory Board co-chair.

Panelists along with university research students discussed how to optimize the use of natural resources, reconsider business models and solutions, and change mobility habits and lifestyles.

Natural resources

Research by Ensa Kenitra focuses on three main resources and energy carriers — petroleum, historically used to power traditional vehicles; lithium, primarily used in lithium-ion batteries that currently power electric vehicles, and green hydrogen as a clean alternative to conventional fuels.

Engineering student researchers concluded, “Innovation is crucial for navigating the intricate landscape of global mobility and aim for more sustainable transportation methods. A paradigm shift towards innovation-driven solutions, emphasized by robust collaboration across sectors, can enable the sustainable utilization of natural resources for generations to come and contribute to alleviating environmental pressures. Immediate efforts are needed to reduce the use of natural resources, prioritize recycling and reuse, and bolster public transportation.”

Business models and solutions

Research by HEC Paris looked at challenges in business including financial accessibility posing a significant barrier to promoting sustainable travel.

From a glaring disparity between the affordability of more sustainable modes of transportation, such as EVs and public transit, compared to the often-lower costs associated with alternatives that cause more pollution, the researchers found that the widespread of sustainable travel is limited by geographical constraints, especially in rural areas where public transport infrastructure is lacking, and car dependency is deeply entrenched due to limited alternatives.

Individuals also struggle to change their mobility habits in both lifestyle and identity. Those who do want to make changes consider safety, comfort, and practicality when choosing their mode of transportation.

The business student researchers concluded, “Our current transportation methods are not sustainable in the face of important population growth and non-renewable, limited natural resources. Innovative business models and collaborative efforts are required to address the multi-faceted challenges of mobility, emphasizing the importance of developing inclusive solutions that consider diverse geographies and local contexts while striving for sustainability and social equity.”

Equitable and sustainable mobility

Social policy students from Brandeis Heller School for Social Policy and Management looked at how current mobility practices contribute to societal inequality and harm the environment, according to their report.

They noted several key social and environmental challenges, including:

    • “Social and physical mobility, crucial for accessing opportunities, remain restricted due to systemic barriers;
    • “Inadequate transportation infrastructure exacerbates disparities, limiting access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities;
    • “The ultra-mobile elites enjoy global access to the best opportunities, reinforcing wealth disparities and contributing significantly to climate change; and
    • “Excessive consumerism, fueled by unsustainable lifestyles, further exacerbates environmental degradation.”

They concluded, “The role of mobility in shaping lifestyle and societal well-being is crucial, yet systemic inequalities pose significant barriers to its realization. A holistic approach that transcends traditional mobility paradigms is needed, urging policymakers, stakeholders, and communities to prioritize equity, sustainability, and social justice in their efforts to address the climate crisis. A transformative vision of mobility envisions a future where all individuals have equal access to opportunities and resources, contributing to a more equitable and sustainable world for generations to come.”

More on the Freedom of Mobility Forum and the full debate can be found here.


Featured image credit: yevtony/iStock

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