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Automated Cars, Micro-Mobility to Impact the Future of Transportation, Say Realtors

BOSTON (November 4, 2018) — Industry experts and researchers discussed the future of mobility and its impact on real estate during the Emerging Business & Technology Forum at the 2018 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Boston.

"It is important to think not just about what is here now, but looking at what is coming five to 10 years from now," said Chad Curry, director of Center for REALTORS® Technology at the National Association of Realtors®. "Many things are coming that are going to reshape our industry and reshape the land that we hold so dear."

Automobiles have shaped the way we build cities, roads and houses. The rise of the automobile led to the rise of suburbs and a commuting population. However, by the year 2030 it is predicted 70 percent of the world's population will live in urban environments. But what does that mean for cars and how we move people going forward?

"In the 1990's, 95 percent of 16 year-olds had a driver's license. Today, that number is just 76 percent," said Curry. "Today's youth are already finding new ways to move around that don't involve a privately owned vehicle."

While ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are responsible for a large percentage of alternative transport, micro-mobility, such as bike and scooter shares, are beginning to rise in popularity. LimeBike, a scooter and bike share company, has been valued at $1 billion and is currently deployed in 65 cities. The increase in micro-mobility has encouraged cities to create multimodal roads that accommodate cars, buses, bikes, scooters and pedestrians.

Panelists also discussed the rise of driverless cars. Legislation regarding driverless cars is currently being crafted or debated in a majority of U.S. states, meaning this new technology could soon have a genuine impact on our nation's mobility.

"Automated cars won't simply help alleviate traffic, but will also make roads safer," said Benjamin Lewis, a panelist and innovation manager and future of mobility expert for Liberty Mutual Insurance. "The overwhelming number of crashes, 94 percent, are attributed to human error. A reduction in human error will lead to fewer accidents, deaths and injuries. Drunk, distracted and tired driving will be a thing of the past."

Cars are currently designed with one person in mind – the driver. The driver needs to be able to see the road ahead and behind them, they need to be able to steer and reach the break and gas pedals. However, that design could change with the driverless revolution.

"Cars could be designed to be used as mass transit in the morning and moving lounges in the evening," said Curry. "They could be turned into small mobile offices – are we looking at the real estate office of the future?"

The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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