Trainspotting with the students of the ‘five feet distance’ society

14 May 2021 - Published by Torben Quickert
Do you remember how you moved before Covid-19? 2020 was a year in which we had to adapt our movement behavior strongly. New mobility solutions suddenly came into the spotlight, others were avoided as much as possible. How was this before the pandemic? In the last months of 2020, Mpact’s youth community, A Tribe Called Transport, did a small survey with students between the ages of 18-25. We asked them how an efficient transport system looks like for them, and how new technologies can have an impact on the vision of efficient transportation. 326 students participated in this survey.

A technology that has a whole new growth within the mobility world is autonomous vehicles. In our previous research, we saw that young people had more feeling with autonomous vehicles than with MaaS. 

Our current research shows that 55,5 % of the students would use autonomous vehicles for long rides. The preference for long rides is followed by the preference for using autonomous vehicles during leisure time. 

The concerns with new technologies are also present with autonomous vehicles, but are less prominent. 36,5% of the responding students are convinced that autonomous vehicles will bring along more safety on the road. 34%claim that the concerns on 5G and autonomous vehicles are overrated.


27,3% also indicates that human errors on the road are more dangerous than the potential technological errors that could happen with autonomous vehicles. 

Also striking that 24,2% of the responding students are not convinced that the collective use of autonomous vehicles would add more value than private use. This is remarkable as the pilot projects in Europe with autonomous vehicles are focused on collective and shared use and not on private use.

So what?

Although coronavirus has had an impact on the student’s movement behavior, we see that the vision of transport and the mobility needs have remained mainly the same. Students also tend to have less private ownership when it comes to transport options but prefer to manage transport options more flexibly and efficiently. An example of this was their preference for access to all transport options via one subscription. It is also obvious that shared mobility still has a long way to go to become a fixed transport solution in the lives of students. This preference for the private use of transport use also counts for autonomous vehicles. When it comes to mobility solutions, the road to hell doesn’t always have to be paved with digital solutions: More buses and trains running outside peak hours, better connections, and one subscription that gives access to all transport options, would do wonders.