All signs point to dramatic changes in mobility over the next few decades. Increasingly dense urban centers, rapid adoption of electric and autonomous vehicles, and changing preferences for personal transport are just a few of the factors poised to shape the future of transportation. Projections indicate that in the United States, car ownership will be an anomaly in 25 years. Globally, more than half of new car sales and a third of all vehicles will be electric. Each of these trends will play a vital role but there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. San Francisco and Singapore, for instance, will require vastly different solutions to their evolving mobility needs.

To better understand the factors shaping the smart cities of tomorrow, Quid and Hyundai partnered on an ambitious project to analyze millions of data points—both qualitative and quantitative—on 400 cities around the world. Using Natural Language Processing, Quid identified eight main themes that make smart cities tick: economy, public safety, people (livability indicators), mobility, infrastructure, healthcare, governance (regulatory actions), and the environment. This allowed Hyundai to better understand cities based on relevant metrics, including GDP per capita, PM 2.5 contaminations, mean commute time, physicians per capita, number of bike sharing stations, electrical vehicle charging stations, internet speeds, and 5G rollout year—just to name a few.

Aggregating and visualizing huge amounts of data reveals patterns, and Quid used these commonalities to group cities by the following personas:

Data proves that smart city development should transcend borders, rather than be thought of regionally. For example, within Beehive cities—a global array that includes New York City, Paris, Berlin, Singapore, Toronto, Sydney, and Los Angeles—Quid found high readiness for electric and autonomous vehicles, and a shared interest in reducing commute times. A few of these cities have already taken key policy steps, such as backing national legislation for self-driving cars.

Moose cities like Nantes, Jacksonville, Halifax, and Perth have sprawling layouts and a higher reliance on personal vehicles. They lack the infrastructure needed for a transition to electric vehicles, but have a growing interest in shared transport systems. Some continue to invest in diesel-based transportation even as others move toward electric but many, including Helsinki, Calgary, and Adelaide are quickly becoming the most active car sharing cities in their respective regions.

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