5 Key Takeaways from Autonomy 2024

Fluctuo breaks down Autonomy 2024, with the top highlights including bike sharing in Europe, public-private synergies, and more...

5 Key Takeaways from Autonomy 2024

Bike sharing is up 20% in Europe, public-private synergies are essential for the development of mobility, and the future is autonomous… 

Missed out on Autonomy this year? Here are our 5 key takeaways from the conference.  

1. Why bike sharing is up 20% in Europe

On Day 2, Fluctuo led an insightful panel, discussing the findings of our Annual Review with a collection of industry experts (Anthony Rinali, PBSC, Carlos Mateo, EMT Madrid and Marina Llobregat Vilar, Serveo).

Fluctuo’s European Shared Mobility Annual Review finds station-based fleets have increased 22% in size across Europe, with dockless services growing 50%. 

Download the full report here

Highlights from the panel:

  • The success of Madrid’s station overflow tech - allowing customers to get closer to their final destination. 
  • Bicing’s plan to electrify its whole fleet as “people only tend to use mechanical bikes when electric ones aren’t available”.
  • Plus, find out what the panel thinks about the necessity of scooters in public transport fleets.

With the recent news of the EU Declaration of Cycling, bikes are now being viewed by cities as the transport of the future, especially as the public opinion of bike schemes (particularly electric bikes) tends to always be positive. In the words of Anthony Rinaldi, “Users define the trends of the future”.

2. Public/private cooperation: The next step forward

For this to work, legislation and policy must force an intersection between the public and private sectors.

It felt like everyone at Autonomy this year had one question on their mind; how can public and private mobility work together to make it accessible for all? 

Panels involving Lucas Neckermann (Neckermann), Marc Naether (Bolt), Tarik Fawzi (Municipality of Amersfoort) and many others all mentioned the necessity of intersection of public and private shared mobility.

Why? To reduce private car ownership, reduce CO2 emissions, and build a sustainable network of transport for our modern cities. 

Increased synergies between public and private would:

  • Help mobility operators to stay profitable with government aid
  • Improve air quality as shared mobility becomes seen as the public transport of the future
  • Make vehicle sharing as easy, accessible and intuitive as possible by combining the two ecosystems

3. Inclusivity in mobility

Mobility must reach everyone. Inclusive mobility must increase the acceptance, usage and accessibility of all forms of mobility, from micro to shared to personal. 

Both Bolt (Marc Naether) and Forest (Alex Berwin) mentioned the discounts their services offer for students and healthcare workers among others. These discounts have a small impact on an operator’s overall profit, yet they extend the possibility of shared mobility to otherwise excluded users. 

Bonnie Fenton (Rupprecht Council) spoke about how plenty of potential customers use private cars due to a lack of other options, or even a lack of awareness of other options. In her words, “people with reduced mobility is not a niche market. When you meet the needs of children and families, elderly people and people with physical disabilities, you're making life easier for a large portion of the population.”

Catch her, and others, in the talk “Sharing is caring: Keeping everyone on board”.

4. How can shared mobility help decarbonise our cities? 

Sebastien Marteau (Fluctuo) led Aurélia Debru (Enterprise Mobility), Catherine Garcera (SAP) and Julien Scriven (Brompton Bike Hire) in a fascinating discussion on the role that shared mobility plays in the decarbonisation of our cities.

The panel seemed to agree that, like we’ve seen earlier, more cooperation between private mobility companies and the public sector needs to occur to push shared mobility to the masses. The majority of commuters would travel by multimodal means if possible, therefore partnerships like Brompton Bike Hire & Deutsche Bahn are crucial for accommodating this demand. 

Other highlights include:

  • 80% of Gen Z used multimodal travel in 2023 
  • The transport industry is the slowest for decarbonisation; it’ll require a push from both public and private stakeholders to change this
  • Cities are now more likely to focus on the ‘sustainability of profit’ - a crucial step in the right direction for decarbonisation

Check out the talk, plus why Julian Scriven thinks Anne Hidalgo is “courageous” for her belief in bike sharing, and why London is lags behind the rest of Europe.

5. Autonomous vehicles: innovative solution or pipe dream? 

From the conference, the consensus is that Autonomous Vehicle technology hasn’t found its main application yet. AV companies are exploring various avenues within the mobility sector, but no clear pathways have yet emerged. Is it better suited to an urban setting, or a rural one? Should it take over public transport, or remain in the hands of private operators? Ride-pooling, taxis, buses or private cars? 

Overall, the talks revealed a lack of compelling arguments supporting AV technology as the ultimate answer to any particular transportation issue.

One of the main concerns over autonomous vehicles since its inception has been safety: they cannot and will not be co-opted by governments until they perform significantly better than humans. Even then, it seems to some as if governments’ safety requirements for autonomous vehicles are unobtainable, asking for impossible assurances of near total safety. 

Of all the potential applications of this technology, one stood out: public bus systems. Multiple shared mobility leaders touched on the decreasing number of bus drivers globally, particularly in rural areas. Perhaps AV technology could help to solve this issue, supporting the current staff without taking jobs away from humans? Unfortunately, AV tech is currently very expensive and, as of now, rural areas don’t have the funding to implement it.

Despite these setbacks, only time will tell whether autonomous technology has a place in the mobility world, and we are definitely excited to follow its journey.

Sascha Meyer (MOIA) and Marc Amblard (Orsay Consulting) gave their two cents on AV integration in cities. Check out their talk for more.

Never miss a street.

Want to be the first to hear about new launches, quiet exits, upcoming tenders and more?

Stay up to date with all the latest news and insights delivered straight to your inbox and subscribe to Fluctuo's weekly newsletter.