Published Tuesday 18th June 2019

In March of this year, the UK Government Department for Transport released its Future of Mobility: Urban Strategy report. This wide-ranging brief goes into detail on the Government’s ambitions regarding many of the most significant issues facing transport today. These issues include changes in technology, environmental challenges and the potential new business markets developing in the sector.

In particular, new technologies and environmental concerns have the power to radically change the future of mobility. This report signals the Government’s aims going forward, meaning business managers can begin preparing for changes that will be transforming their future operations.

New Technology in the Future of Fleet

It is perhaps unsurprising that the majority of this report is concerned with the advancements in transport technology. Minister of State for Transport Jessa Norman states that “Britain is on the verge of a transport revolution,” citing “radical new technologies” that will “transform everyday journeys.”

Many technologies are already changing how businesses operate and manage their vehicles. Telematics in fleet is now becoming commonplace, utilising the Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver real-time information to business vehicle managers. IoT, in particular, is cited by the UK government as a critical driver of future fleet changes. This is backed by the further improvements in connectivity expected through the development of 5G mobile networks.

However, while many of these metrics are currently internal for businesses, the Government expects them to become more widely shared in the future. They state that “vehicles capable of communicating with each other and with infrastructure have the potential to provide information to network operators and users in real time to optimise fleet and network management.” The UK Government envisage an open vehicle technology market in which multiple companies and businesses can use data to create value and effectiveness in their fleet.

The report also highlights other well-reported technologies leading fleet-development, including the growth of automation and ride-sharing. These two ideas, however, are seen particularly from a business investment point of view, with major new markets developing from these advancing technologies. The report also highlights the growth of alternative transport options, such as drones for goods and e-bikes for individual personnel. Advancements in clean transport are also sighted as a global driver for technological change, with many urban areas pushing for zero-emission transport models.

Government’s Principles for Future Mobility

These new technologies, coupled with consumer demands, are creating brand new markets for consumers and businesses. A large portion of this report forecasts these future markets and sets out the Government’s ambitions regarding how they should be regulated. These regulations will shape the future of fleet in the UK, promoting certain transport options over others and creating value-for-money services where corporations can take advantage.

In the Future of Mobility report, the Government sets out nine key principles by which they say the Government’s approach will be “underpinned”. Generally, these seek to ensure that the benefits of new technologies and developments work for all stakeholders, including businesses, the public and the environment. However, certain principles point towards transformations that are already impacting business decisions.

Principle six in the report states that “mobility innovation must help to reduce congestion through more efficient use of limited road space, for example through sharing rides, increasing occupancy or consolidating freight.” This issue was highlighted in our recent article on how eco-consumers could shape the distribution sector. As technology develops, more pressure will be put on freight operators to increase their capacity fulfilment. Meanwhile, this principle could also lead to rising expectations on general business fleets to increase capacity through schemes such as car sharing.

Another notable principle is number seven, which says that “the marketplace for mobility must be open to stimulate innovation and give the best deal to consumers.” As more technological advancements are made regarding transport, it is essential that competition in the industry continues. This principle is hinted at throughout the report and appears to state the Government’s intent in creating a competitive market. This competition will hopefully lead to cost-saving opportunities for businesses going forward.

Finding Value in the Future of Fleet

Much of the Government’s Future of Mobility report is speculative, picturing a future in which all these developing markets, from car-sharing to zero-emission public transport, thrive. However, these developments are happening so quickly that market fluctuations are likely. Therefore, it’s crucial that business fleet operators are aware of the potential savings they could make through various technologies over the next few years.

Here at Expense Reduction Analysts, we are experts at fleet cost management. Our vehicle management specialists have years of experience across a range of industries and with various fleet sizes, allowing them to provide a full and professional evaluation of your expenses. The fleet industry will undergo unparalleled change over the near future, so it’s vital that businesses are prepared to take advantage of these savings. If you are interested in seeing what costs ERA could save for your business, why not get in contact with our team today?