Accessibility for people, goods and services to go where they need or want safely, efficiently and affordably – providing a simplified and fun customer experience. Our goal is to make mobility affordable in every sense of the word – economically, environmentally and socially.
We call it our “Blueprint for Mobility.” Similar in concept to our overall Blueprint for Sustainability, it sets near-, mid- and long-term goals for solutions to the challenges facing mobility systems now and in the future as the world becomes more populated and urbanized. When we announced it in early 2012, the Blueprint for Mobility highlighted our thinking about what transportation will look like in 2025 and beyond, and identified the types of technologies, business models, products and partnerships needed to get us there.
To address the future of mobility, we need new technologies and new ways of looking at a world whose global population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 – up from 7 billion today. With more people, and greater prosperity, the number of vehicles could increase from 1 billion today to an astonishing 2-plus billion by mid-century. While that sounds like good news for an automaker, we recognize that a business model built on private ownership of vehicles comes with inherent challenges.
In the decades to come, 75 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. And by 2025, 37 of those cities will have more than 10 million residents.1 All of this raises the possibility of global gridlock – a never-ending traffic jam that wastes time, energy and resources. Even if every new vehicle we make has zero emissions and draws from renewable energy sources, we’re still talking about billions of cars on the road.
The challenge goes well beyond inconvenience. If we look at the numbers, and look at the state of our global transportation infrastructure, it is not difficult to see a future in which the flow of commerce – and even the flow of health care and food delivery – are compromised. At Ford, we see global gridlock as not just an issue of business and economics, but as a problem that could have a significant impact on the quality of human life.
Congestion is a huge problem in many regions of the world. Consider the following:
In Sao Paulo, Brazil, traffic jams regularly exceed 100 miles, and the average commute lasts between two and three hours a day. Despite this, car purchases are growing at a rate of 7.5 percent annually.
A recent study from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that Americans wasted $121 billion in time and fuel sitting in traffic in 2011.
In China, the world’s longest period of gridlock was registered at 11 days during 2010.
In England, it is estimated that the cost of congestion to the economy due to lost time will rise to about $35 billion annually by 2025.
Our vision, which aims for a holistic approach, blends smart transportation with intelligent vehicles and transport systems that are interconnected through a global technology network. We see a radically different transportation landscape in which pedestrian, bicycle, private car, commercial and public transportation are woven into a connected network that saves time, conserves resources, lowers emissions and improves safety. We know we must view the automobile as one element of a broader transportation ecosystem, and look for new ways to optimize the entire system.
Although we announced our Blueprint for Mobility in 2012, we have been working on these issues for a number of years with a focus on three primary concepts: pollution, congestion and safety. We are already developing new business models and partnerships toward this future in a way that is shifting the paradigm of what it means to be an automaker. But no one company or industry will be able to solve the mobility issue alone. It is a huge challenge that will only be successful if governments, infrastructure developers and industry come together to collaborate on a global scale. The speed at which solutions take hold will be determined largely by customer acceptance of new technologies, as well as how quickly cities develop the enabling systems and infrastructure.
A truly sustainable, long-term solution will require a global transportation network that includes vehicle, infrastructure and mobile communications. We need cars that can communicate with each other, and with the world around them, to make driving safer and more efficient. This smart, connected system will tie all modes of travel into a single network linking public and personal transportation together.
The last few years have seen technological breakthroughs, such as vehicle-to-vehicle communications, that we didn’t think possible a few decades ago. Increasingly, Ford is becoming a technology company that makes cars and trucks, and we will continue to explore ways to leverage these technological innovations so we can tackle mobility challenges.
Mobility is a basic human need. Developed and emerging economies alike require transportation systems to get goods to market and people to the places where they work, shop, dine and gather. At Ford, we’re focusing not just on issues of mobility in increasingly crowded cities. We’re also looking at the mobility challenges of rural communities. Read the Saving Lives in Rural India case study to learn how our work in the remote hills of rural India is helping pregnant women give birth to healthy babies.
“The automobile has given individuals the freedom of mobility. Prior to the Model T, the average person didn’t travel more than 25 miles from home in his or her entire lifetime. The Model T allowed people to decide where to live, work and play. As the car’s popularity has grown, that individual freedom has become threatened. Now we have an opportunity to turn this challenge into a solution.”
Bill Ford, Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman