Mobility trends of the young and the old: A challenge for companies

Personal mobility is subject to permanent change. Trends such as digitization, urbanization and the sharing economy have a major impact on how we move around. Companies struggle with an aging workforce and begin to take climate change seriously. All these trends require future-oriented and sustainable mobility solutions to ensure a higher quality of life through mobility.

The mobility of the young generation

While the car is still the most important means of transport, alternative mobility services, such as digital “on-demand services” gain popularity. On-demand mobility involves integrating and combining different transport options to determine the most efficient route from A to B. These services, such as Wegfinder or Wien Mobil, include, among others, Uber, public transport or e-scooters and bicycles, which are booked only for the required route. The users of the first hour and thus the driving force behind this change in mobility is the digitally savvy, young generation in urban areas.  In earlier generations, a car was often regarded as a status symbol.  Since then, there has been a rethink of sustainability, with younger people tending to use more environmentally friendly means of transportation. Sooner or later, the car will have lost its value as a status symbol. The mobility behavior of the younger generation differs significantly from that of the older generation. More and more young people are turning to active mobility, micro mobility or public transportation instead of driving a car themselves. This trend is particularly noticeable in student cities. Due to the increasing agglomeration in metropolitan areas, traffic jams, lack of parking spaces and the associated time and costs speak against car ownership. Furthermore, rising fuel prices and higher taxes play a role.  The decline in private car ownership cannot be equated with lower quality mobility. This means that those who renounce the private car do not necessarily have to accept a loss of time or money. Thanks to digitization, users of on-demand services often have the same comfort as car owners.  Even after graduation, many academics continue a lifestyle without a private car. Living in conurbations makes it easier to get to work in an alternative way. Even car owners are increasingly deciding against their cars and use public transportation, carpools or bicycles instead.

Accessibility of company locations

The location of the company has a considerable influence on the choice of the employees’ means of transport. While employees in larger cities often use public transportation to get to work, in rural areas the private car is the preferred mode of transportation. The lack of public transport connections and the distance to the workplace make it difficult for residents in rural areas to use other means of transport instead of the private car.  Despite many traffic jams on Austria’s roads, the passenger car is the fastest means of transport to work for most employees. Often a longer distance is preferred to moving closer to the place of work, as this would often be associated with higher rental costs. As a result, the number of commuters is constantly increasing and with it the number of cars on Austria’s roads.

Demographic change in the workforce

Higher life expectancy and declining birth rates are leading to an ageing society. As baby boomers reach retirement age, companies lose many long-standing employees whose expertise and experience are hard to replace. Attracting young, promising talents is thus becoming a prerequisite for the continued existence of companies.   As mentioned above, the younger generation places a higher value on sustainability than older generations. In addition, fewer young people own private cars and are therefore dependent on alternatives on their way to work. Therefore, for future-oriented companies It is essential to develop a mobility concept in which employees do not need their own car. Such a concept could be a decisive factor for job-seeking young professionals to accept or decline a job offer. In this way, new talent can be attracted to the company and the demographic change in the workforce can be counteracted. With a sustainable mobility concept, companies not only attract young skilled workers, they also cut costs and help to protect the environment.

New mobility concepts for companies

More and more companies are setting a good example and implement alternative mobility concepts for their employees. Regardless whether it is car sharing or organizing an employee shuttle, switching to shared means of transportation is sustainable and reduces the number of cars in rush hour traffic. In addition, companies need fewer parking spaces for their staff, which results in cost optimization. In general, switching to new mobility concepts is a win-win-win situation for employees, companies and the environment.  In order to enable a change in mobility, deeply rooted prejudices regarding car use must be dispelled. If the management sets a good example, this has a motivating effect on employees. Information should also be provided on alternative means of transport to the workplace. If cost-related and psychological incentives are available, a switch to more environmentally friendly means of transport is more likely to be accepted by the workforce. It is therefore the task of the company to offer incentives such as discounts and to implement measures to raise awareness.  In addition, digitization enables many employees to do their work from home. The home office is being used by more and more companies and is gaining in popularity. The time and costs associated with commuting are thus eliminated and the ecological footprint of commuters is improved.  Mobility will never lose its relevance, but the way we move will have to be adapted to today’s needs. Solutions from previous generations must be changed to meet future needs. The keyword “Sharing Economy” plays an important role in this context and shows the trend towards sharing instead of owning. It is the task of companies to educate and support their employees with regard to alternative mobility, and it is the task of each individual to be open to change and act sustainably.





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