Why Mobility Innovation?

As much as we love our cars and trucks, we believe that the auto industry needs to rethink our collective approach. We cannot keep making and selling automobiles the way we always have. The current industry model simply will not work in the future, especially in crowded cities.

Today, there are about 7 billion people in the world, and that number is expected to grow to about 9 billion by 2050. More and more of those people will be living more and more closely together. By 2030, a projected 630 million people will live in megacities of 10 million residents or more.

When we look at population growth in terms of vehicles, the problem becomes even more pronounced. Today, there are about 1 billion vehicles on the road worldwide. But with more people and greater global prosperity, that number is expected to more than double by 2050. This will create congestion and gridlock as never before seen. Already, gridlock plagues many cities, from Los Angeles to London, Istanbul to Jakarta. In the Chinese capital city of Beijing, for example, the average driver has a five-hour daily commute. This issue impacts cities of all sizes.

And although we are developing ever-cleaner cars, a traffic jam with no emissions still is a traffic jam – with concerns that go far beyond inconvenience. The bigger issue is how global gridlock will stifle economic growth, limiting our ability to conduct commerce and keep economies moving. It will only get more difficult to deliver food and needed services, especially to people living in crowded city centers.

We’re working on building smart cars that will improve the driving experience and help guide drivers to their destinations. But we, as a society, also need to build smart roads, smart parking, smart public transportation systems – and we need to connect them all using wireless telecommunications. To keep traffic moving, we need an integrated transportation network that uses real-time data to optimize personal mobility on a massive scale.

We’re working on these issues not just because we believe it’s important for the planet’s environmental, social and economic health. (Read the Climate Change and Environment section for information on how we’re tackling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.) We’re also pressing forward because of the business opportunities for our own company. According to some experts, solving these challenges presents a $130 billion business opportunity for the automotive market. We intend to take part in that opportunity so that Ford Motor Company can be a strong business for the next 100 years.

In other words, we view the disruption that’s taking place in mobility as something to embrace – not fear. We want Ford to be part of the solution by redefining what’s possible.

We’re finding ways to stay relevant today and for the future by enabling people to be mobile with alternative modes of transportation. Ford Motor Company might never manufacture a bike, but we want to be in a position of enabling consumers to use bikes to get where they want to go – and to think of Ford as part of making the experience better.

Our global mobility experiments are zeroing in on some of the key challenges and potential solutions to the world’s transportation dilemmas. We’re looking at areas that may seem unexpected, perhaps even surprising, for an automotive company. We’re exploring products and services more holistically, thinking about how vehicles and other modes of transportation will interact with one another and with a city’s infrastructure, from trains to pedestrian walkways, buses to bikes.

We’re not the only auto company looking at mobility solutions. But we think we’re going further than many of our peers by exploring how we can integrate all types of transportation services, in urban as well as in rural environments. We’re focusing on partnerships, collaborating with a range of stakeholders, to figure out what might work best in different transportation scenarios. And most of all, we’re seeking to make seamless mobility solutions an everyday experience for the many, not just the few.