Towards a fundamentally different mobility

Our mobility is reaching its limits on all fronts. Fortunately, however, there is also good news: an enormous number of initiatives to curb the spatial and environmental impact of transport. Big and small ideas that will bring about a fundamental change in the movement of people and goods. It requires old and new players to have a vision of the roles they wish to play or want to continue playing. And it requires more flexibility from the government. After all, the urgency is too great to keep dealing with the rapid and much-needed developments at the traditional pace.

In the meantime, it is also clear that former solutions to traffic problems will have little effect in the future. More lanes will eventually lead to wider traffic jams. Subsidies for electric vehicles do not result in fewer cars and an air passenger tax remains a thorny issue. “OK, less mobility” is not the answer, because our prosperity is inextricably linked to mobility. It is therefore time for a fundamentally new approach. With smart new and sustainable ideas. And – if we must – with an old one: paying according to use (road pricing).

‘All you can drive’ has had its day

There is increasing social and political support for payment according to use (the once virtually unmentionable road pricing). We welcome this, because the old 'all you can drive' for a fixed amount of road tax is unsustainable, both as regards traffic pressure and with a view to reducing CO2 emissions. A variable kilometre price will have a strong positive impact on both factors. However, the magnitude of this impact depends on the system chosen. And that also applies to public backing.

Don't write off rush hour and ecotax yet!

Because if it is decided to introduce payment according to use, the question is of course: in what form? Of the three types of driving tax that are now on the table (rush hour, eco and flat), the first two seem to prompt a great deal of resistance. And that supposed resistance is regularly cited in political debates. But that's really premature. Taxation is a splendid way of guiding the choices of mobile citizens, as practice has shown in recent years. There is also justified criticism of the different treatment of business lease and private car drivers. However, there is insufficient evidence to start writing off options at this stage. PwC has formulated its own objective to contribute to alternative mobility choices for its employees and to contribute to sustainability objectives. This has resulted in practical problems, but we also see the positive effects of promoting other types of mobility. We have launched a debate among our consultants and tax advisers to find solutions together that contribute to a fair pricing of mobility.

Mobility-centrism requires a shift from car manufacturers

One of the fundamental changes in our mobility has been going on for some time: the transition from ownership to use, from 'car-centric' to 'mobility-centric'. Millennials in the big cities have for the most part already switched. Many municipalities are facilitating car-sharing organisations, bike-sharing and electric scooters are being made available and Uber is more or less a household name. This is forcing car manufacturers to think about their future position. Will they become just assemblers of vehicles or will they take on a more substantial role, i.e. providers of mobility. PwC is helping to develop that vision of the future, with a view to 2030 and beyond.

Innovations offer opportunities for public transport in rural areas

Public transport has traditionally focused on the transport of groups of people by bus, train and metro. Logically, this form of transport does not always offer the best option for individuals: after all, they want a door-to-door service and therefore often opt for the car. New innovations aimed at individuals, such as smart mobility apps, bring supply and demand more into line and make door-to-door transport more feasible. In more sparsely-populated rural areas, however, it remains difficult to offer frequent services because of the lack of volume to make public transport profitable. Public transport companies have been using smaller buses or "on-call buses" for some time to respond to the demand effectively. Particularly in these areas, innovative forms of car sharing and autonomous cars can offer a solution. We believe that car-sharing can be made more attractive from a tax point of view by means of lease concepts for several drivers. In addition, autonomous cars will be more suitable in these sparsely populated areas than in the busy inner cities. There should therefore be a focus on individual public transport, with individuals being better connected to the public transport links to the major cities. It is advisable to consider whether such innovations can be included in the concessions.

From whom and how secure is all this mobility data?

Smarter infrastructure, connected vehicles and their users will generate huge amounts of data that will only become more sophisticated, more personal and more security-critical. This raises three major questions: Who owns all that data? How are the data flows secured? and, by extension: Is regulation required? This is a multi-faceted and multi-stakeholder issue. PwC is bringing together a number of global players in its Experience Centre to create a vision for this issue.

Legislation: innovating with the foot on the brake?

When it comes to mobility, there is still friction between innovation and regulation. The very rapid development of new means of transport (from skateboard scooters and stint-like vehicles to autonomous cars and drones for passenger transport) makes it virtually impossible to subject every innovation to all the time-consuming tests and inspections. But can legislation be less stringent? Can procedures be quicker and smoother? And do we accept that not every means of transport has been fully checked? The fact is that to keep the momentum in the energy transition, innovations are badly needed and the foot has to be taken off the brake. We would like to join you in participating in the debate.

Everything comes together in the city centre

All transport problems can be found in a compact form in city centres: congestion, lack of space, pollution, conflicting traffic flows and so on. On the other hand, there are a multitude of measures and initiatives. Parking policy is a powerful means of regulation, creative measures are being introduced (also by delivery personnel) to maintain traffic flows and Amsterdam has far-reaching plans to reduce emissions in the city.

Schiphol is being swamped

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is also reaching its limits. People are increasingly questioning whether extra flights really contribute to the prosperity of the Netherlands. Or do the advantages of being an important hub still outweigh the disadvantages in the form of emissions and noise pollution. Whereas for many years the Alders consultation body on aviation issues provided the outcome, everyone is now looking to the government again to make choices and create frameworks.

Mobility Alliance estimates the investment required at 3 billion euros

The Mobility Alliance estimates the required investments at € 3 billion extra per year until 2040. In June, the Mobility Alliance (an alliance of 25 parties from the Mobility Sector) published a Delta Plan 2030. The Mobility Alliance emphasises that mobility's time has come. In other words, now is the time to invest and to create the conditions for us to remain mobile in the Netherlands.


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Contact us

Fons Kop

Fons Kop

Partner, Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 030 25 70

Stan Berings

Stan Berings

Tax Partner I EMEA Connected Tax Compliance Lead, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 013 85 60

Marieke Baarslag

Marieke Baarslag

Director, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)65 177 93 14

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