Tamy Ribeiro is the Chief Mobility Evangelist & Head of Partnerships at Wunder Mobility, a tech startup which was created in Hamburg, Germany, with the mission to provide a smart mobility marketplace. On November 26th, she will participate to a re-invented edition of Luxembourg’s Mobility Summit and share her expertise by notably depicting the latest trends of a sector that is going through a deep transformation phase. Prior to her keynote speech, we met with her to address to current mobility challenges faced by Europeans, while discussing the need for private companies and cities to collaborate on the establishment of a new type of mobility.
What are the main mobility challenges users face every single day in Europe? Wunder Mobility also has offices in India: how are the mobility challenges different from the ones in Europe?
The mobility challenges that users face in Europe varies wildly depending on location. In parts of Eastern and Southern Europe, very limited resources are being spent on the upkeep and maintenance of streets and bridges. In our major metropolises like London and Paris, congestion remains a huge problem. And in Germany, which is known as the « auto nation », private car ownership is still de rigueur in many suburban and rural areas – not just because of the car’s popularity, but because investments are only being made in urban projects, and not in rural mobility initiatives. That needs to change!
In India, the landscape is vastly different. India has the second largest population in the world, which translates into more issues with overcrowding and congestion. In some rural areas, infrastructure is at times almost nonexistent, which naturally comes with its own set of challenges. Cultural differences like preferring motorbikes to ride hailing also need to be accounted for.
What is your vision of today’s mobility? Which aspects need to be improved? How?
We are already off to a good start with new and accessible shared mobility types, but a big problem with mobility today is the lack of cooperation between cities and private companies. A range of new providers have entered the market recently and are competing for precious space in cities, and local governments are often ill-equipped to manage the influx.
The key is to encourage collaboration between cities, startups and other mobility services. Without teamwork, there is no way cities will be able to offer functional and efficient transportation systems that everybody can use in the future. The end goal should always be to improve the quality of life for citizens, and that cannot happen without cooperation.
What are the main challenges you faced when building an entire mobility ecosystem? What about working hand in hand with cities?
It was very difficult to find an optimal way of positioning ourselves at the right place in the overall mobility value chain, which includes manufacturers, dealers, tech providers and consumers. Understanding the different intersections of technology stacks that power different mobility solutions and then coming up with a common tech stack was not easy.
The biggest difficulty we faced when working with cities was identifying the right stakeholders that were involved in mobility-related decision making. It is one of those things that sounds much simpler than it actually is. As a startup, we have always been used to working quickly, but governments understandably run at a different speed, which takes some getting used to.
Wunder Mobility describes itself as a tech company, but how important is the Human aspect when it comes to redefining mobility and actually changing the way people see and use their cars? How can tech help?
Since we have experience in the B2C realm, we know that the shift in attitudes that end users – who are…real people – have been experiencing is the biggest reason why society has already started accepting car sharing and other mobility types as a legitimate alternative to private vehicle ownership. To put it in other words, it is the users who really started the whole shared mobility trend. By providing tech solutions that empower people to access their mobility type of choice, tech is giving people options they would not have otherwise had, thereby making the mobility landscape more democratic.
What are the next steps in the development of the Wunder Mobility ecosystem?
Even though our portfolio covers almost every aspect of mobility, we are currently working on launching our first technology solution aimed at helping cities analyze and optimize different mobility services in their area. We have developed this technology on the basis of the learnings we got out of being a multimodal solution. We are also in the process of combining the capabilities of different products in our portfolio and offering them as a package solution, such as carpool and parking.
What are your thoughts on the latest initiatives around mobility that have been taken in Luxembourg?
We generally view any mobility initiatives that encourage the use of public transportation favorably, particularly in a country like Luxembourg where car ownership per capita is very high. Electric vehicles are always better alternatives to CO2-emitting fossil fuels. We definitely support free public transportation – which is to start in March 2020 in Luxembourg -, if cities can afford it, but we do have to question if those and similar initiatives are genuinely encouraging people to stop purchasing private vehicles entirely. At any rate, it is a major step in the right direction – let’s see how it pans out!