The future of mobility

13th September 2023
Sheryl Miles

The way we move around has changed in the last decade, in both urban and rural environments. We are also beginning to change our attitudes towards vehicle ownership. 

This is now an expensive investment with the cost of purchase, maintenance, annual inspections, and taxes to consider.

As urban areas become more congested, parking is now a challenge as is charging electric vehicles at home in the absence of off-road parking.

This article by Mark Patrick, Mouser Electronics, will examine these changes and explore how our relationship with different modes of transport is changing.

Our relationship with mobility

Access to mobility is equated with freedom and, for that reason, most people have sought to become mobile as soon as possible in their lives. Learning to walk is a milestone, yet learning to ride a bicycle brings even greater freedom – the ability to move around the local area more quickly, or even farther afield.

For many, reaching the age where one can learn to drive and then borrow or purchase a vehicle brings true independence – the ability to travel wherever you wish, whenever you wish, exactly as you wish. The importance of this milestone has varied depending on one’s location. In countries with excellent public transport, vehicle ownership was less of a priority. Similarly, city dwellers generally have better access to public transport than those living rurally where a private vehicle may be the only viable method of getting around.

Mobility takes many forms

Mobility can be anything from a simple bicycle to a luxury car or a public service vehicle such as a train or a bus. With all their differences, the one common factor is that they are all evolving to adapt to modern lifestyles.

Historically, bicycles have been simple mechanical vehicles used by everyone from children to adults as a form of transport and a means of exercise. These days, electric bicycles are becoming relatively common, providing riders with a form of propulsion assistance during their journeys.

Such change is also apparent as public transport seeks to attract more users. Many trains now offer a service level similar to that of aviation, with more comfortable seats, Wi-Fi, and in-journey entertainment and refreshments. As people lead busy work lives, many turn to public transport to enable them to be fully productive during their journey.

Nowhere is the change more pronounced than in automobiles. The fundamental form of automotive propulsion is rapidly changing from fossil fuels to electric or to a combination of both in the hybrid vehicles that are now common on our roads.

Technology is increasingly present in modern automobiles to entertain us, guide us, and warn us of hazards in our path. The future is clear: automobiles are on a steady march towards becoming fully autonomous, although there remain significant challenges to overcome.

Own or rent?

There has been a long-held belief that we should own things we use, including our vehicles. However, the dynamics are changing, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic and the proliferation of remote work.

Governments are wanting to exclude vehicles from city centres, primarily to improve air quality and reduce congestion. The aim is to reduce dependence on private vehicles in favour of public transport, which is considered to be more environmentally friendly. According to Statista1, there are currently over 300 low-emission zones (LEZs) in Europe, with projected growth to over 500 by 2025, due in part to large LEZ expansion in Spain. This drives up the cost of car ownership as drivers must own a newer vehicle or pay a daily levy to drive into these cities.

Table 1: Over 300 LEZs exist in Europe, with more expected in the near future. (Source: Statista; adapted and redrawn by Mouser Electronics)










United Kingdom


































The cost of running a vehicle comprises fixed and variable costs, which are on the rise. Electric vehicles (EVs), which will be the only new vehicles available in some countries by the end of the decade, are more expensive than their fossil fuel predecessors. Recent world instability has driven up the cost of fuel as well as servicing and parts. Taxes and insurance remain as fixed costs, even if the vehicle is not driven.

As a result of people making fewer journeys2 and rising fixed costs, the cost-per-mile of travelling by car is clearly rising rapidly, causing many to re-think their decision to own a vehicle that will spend much of its life depreciating on their driveway.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS)

Recognising the shift in perceptions around vehicle ownership, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is growing in popularity around the world, allowing people to access transportation when needed, without the expense of owning and operating a vehicle themselves.

According to the EU-based MaaS Alliance: “MaaS integrates various forms of transport and transport-related services into a single, comprehensive, and on-demand mobility service3.”

MaaS aims to deliver an alternative to private car ownership that is convenient and lower cost while also reducing congestion and the environmental impact. It can cover any form of transport for an individual (or a few people), such as sharing transport, taxis, and car hire or leasing.

One example of MaaS is Zipcar (though similar services available across global cities). After signing up and being approved, users can use the app to book a vehicle for the time they need it. Fuel and a limited mileage per hire are included and users have the option of paying for a monthly subscription to reduce hire costs. At present these services are available only in certain large cities, and drivers must go to a local collection bay to begin and end their hire. Once fully autonomous vehicles are more common, these vehicles may even drive themselves to the user to the start of the hire.

Of course, MaaS requires significant infrastructure to be in place so that the location of vehicles can be tracked (and possibly to monitor driving style), and developers must create apps to take care of booking, payment, and vehicle availability. This will also open other opportunities for revenue generation, such as advertising (within the app and/or the vehicle) and local business recommendations.


1 -,Europe%202022%2D2025%2C%20by%20country&text=Italy%20had%20the%20most%20active,LEVs%20as%20of%20June%202022.

2 -,van%20passenger%20trips%20per%20person.

3 -

Featured products

Product Spotlight

Upcoming Events

View all events
Latest global electronics news
© Copyright 2024 Electronic Specifier