I see a future where shared, electrified vehicle networks create safe mobility for everyone, no matter their income, location or gender.Sandra Phillips, Next Visionaries finalist in the ‘humanity’ category
The Next Visionaries initiative asked forward-thinkers and innovators from all over the world for their ideas about the future of mobility. Sandra Phillips was chosen as a Next Visionaries finalist in the ‘humanity’ category for her vision of a fairer world.
Now she will work with Next Visionaries mentor Maurice Conti to prepare a pitch on her vision for a panel of experts at the IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt on September 10th. They’ll choose the Next Visionary of the Year 2017, who will get the opportunity to present their idea in a world-changing TED Talk in New York.
Who is Sandra Phillips?
Sandra Phillips grew up in Switzerland, where mobility was easy. “From bike paths to public transit options to the most remote regions to a vast car-sharing network, I had everything at my fingertips,” she says.
But when she moved to Vancouver in 2008, she found her options suddenly limited. Some journeys by public transport took her five times as long as driving would have.
Phillips helped change things. She has a “passion for shared mobility,” and draws inspiration from pioneers like Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, and Ellen McArthur, who set the solo sailing record for circumnavigating the globe.
Sandra’s journey to Next Visionaries
In 2008, Phillips helped introduce a car sharing service called car2go to the Canadian market. It quickly grew from zero to 1000 vehicles, and to 50,000 members.
After that, she founded movmi Shared Transportation Services, an agency that specialises in designing and building the architecture for shared transportation. It’s been involved in shared mobility projects in Canada, the Middle East and the United States, where Phillips helped launch BMW’s car-sharing initiative ReachNow in Seattle and Portland.
Sandra’s 2050 vision: Taking a road trip around Canada in a fully-electric vehicle
“Solving mobility is a problem that we have to solve using technology,” she says. “And we have made strides on that front: electrification has already arrived in our cities and autonomous vehicle networks are just around the corner.”
In 2017, more than a third of Vancouverites use car-sharing. It’s helped take thousands of cars off the road in the region. “I have experienced first-hand that shared mobility can transform a society, culture and have a positive impact on the environment,” says Phillips.
Sandra’s vision for the future of mobility
However, over the past year, Phillips has surveyed the car-sharing market with growing concern. “I have realized that most of the projects I have worked on cater towards affluent urbanites living in the Western world,” she explains.
In a lot of communities outside of Europe and North America, public transportation is not safe for women or children. And it’s the only way of getting around.
Electrified and autonomous shared vehicle networks have the potential to provide a safe and more affordable forms of mobility for the less privileged, if we get them right.
Social mobility needs physical mobility.
“We need a vision that uses technology but builds solutions that are focused on humans and solves their needs,” she says. “If we do that, I believe we have an opportunity to offer options to smaller communities, the less wealthy and for more inclusive demographics.”
Her vision is a future where shared, electrified vehicle networks create safe mobility for everyone, no matter their income, location or gender. “Social mobility needs physical mobility,” she says.
What happens next?
Phillips wants her vision to influence the future. She’s aiming to spark global conversation about the opportunity electric and autonomous vehicles can offer to everyone. She also wants to launch a global challenge, where smaller communities of 100,000 to 300,000 inhabitants can apply for a custom-built shared mobility system.
These pilot projects would introduce electrified, autonomous vehicles that appeal to demographics that don’t normally use ride-sharing or car-sharing services. There would be safe options for women and children.
That’s one of the reasons she was drawn to the Next Visionaries project, where she’s made it onto the final shortlist of six visionaries. She’s approaching the IAA Pitch Event in Frankfurt with a mixture of exhilaration and nerves.
But mostly, she can’t wait to connect with the likeminded enthusiasts and people that can transform her vision of shared mobility for all into a reality. “They say you need a village to raise a kid, and I believe I need a community of visionaries to make my vision reality,” she explains.