Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste: How Will New Mobility Initiatives in the Auto Industry Come Out of the Pandemic? – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste: How Will New Mobility Initiatives in the Auto Industry Come Out of the Pandemic?

Weiqing Li

Weiqing Li

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Research Mentor(s): Bruce Belzowski, Managing Director: Automotive Futures
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Automotive Futures,
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 4 (2pm-2:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 16
Presenter: 1

Event Link


Mobility as a Service, also known as MaaS, is a crucial part of our society’s transportation system. Under its broad umbrella are businesses such as ride-hailing, car-sharing, subscription services, microtransit etc. Together they supplement traditional public transportation services by providing customers with more customized and more convenient traveling solutions. Just like most other businesses around the world, players within MaaS have been hit hard by the pandemic. But as we gradually shift towards the “new normal”, some of the business models in MaaS are also seeing increasing opportunities, compared to their pre-COVID operations. In our project, we conducted case studies on various players in different parts of MaaS to see how they have responded to the pandemic, what are some of the innovations and measurements they have taken to survive and thrive, and how are they going to move forward in the “new norm”. Specifically, we looked at and compared key player’s financial reports at different stages into the pandemic, monitored their active app user data through an online database called AppAnnie, and examined their service updates and special measurements through official apps and websites. The results, aligning with our initial hypothesis, concluded that ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft had suffered painfully from the pandemic and will likely keep their underperformance as we enter 2021. On the other hand, car-sharing businesses, namely Kuro and Zipcar, bounced back quickly from their initial loss, and will see their businesses continue to thrive thanks to the nature of their operations. Finally, although we have not yet finished the analysis on microtransit and subscription services, we do expect to see patterns similar to that of car-sharing companies. These findings will serve as references for not only MaaS companies, but also investors who have strong interests in this market.

Authors: Weiqing Li, Bruce Belzowski
Research Method: Data Collection and Analysis

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