Maysoon El-Ahmad on April, 2017


The last 18 months has seen evidence that transformational change to one of the world’s largest industry is underway.

It is no secret that car ownership as we know it about to change. Lyft’s president predicts an end to car ownership in US cities by 2025 while according to Henrik Christensen, head of UC San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute ‘Kids born today will never get to drive a car’ (poor kids – they can’t have a house either!).

Already, there’s been a noted decline in the percentage of people under 45 who don’t have a license in the US.

Last January, Lyft announced a partnership with General Motors to launch an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles and previously we have discussed Ubers first driverless car pilot in Pittsburgh (which last week was involved in an accident – whoops!).

A tech startup in Helsinki has just launched the first ever transport subscription service through an app aimed at making people ‘ditch their cars’. Called ‘Whim’, the subscription covers all forms of public and private transportation. Based on the destination, the app suggests the optimal route using a mix of transport options ranging from trains, taxis, buses and car rentals. If the user is happy with the proposed trip plan, they approve it which is then automatically paid for allowing the app to act as the ticket. The ambition is to eventually replace owning a car by covering all of a user’s mobility needs.


  • Automobile and technology companies are currently dumping billions of dollars into autonomous technology with the idea that one day, cars will no longer need human drivers.
  • While the future of self-driving cars is still far off, we expect to see business model innovations such as ‘Whim’ creating more disruption within the industry.
  • With the average vehicle being used only 4% of the time and parked the other 96%, it is no surprise we are starting to see the first sign of the ‘end of car ownership’ movement.
  • The end of private car ownership means far fewer cars sitting parked and empty which opens up a new opportunity to redesign our entire urban landscape. We can start to build cities around people to drive connections between communities rather than around vehicles, pavements or parking spots!
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