Photo Credit : © Ile-de-France Mobilités / @iledefrancemobilites (Facebook)
The evolution of urban transport needs in the Paris Region is generating incredible investment opportunities. In a rapidly changing market that is disruptive and open to innovation, there is space for both established corporations and newcomers.
According to the UN, 60% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030, rising to 70% by 2050. With such a large urban density, how can we improve the quality of city life? How can we avoid condemning city-dwellers to congestion, pollution and long journeys? How can we change behaviors and move from the era of solo travel to more collective, multimodal and connected modes of transport? These are just some of the questions raised when we start to look at urban mobility. All big local authorities that are close to saturation are starting to tackle the subject.
The Paris Region is one such area – as the biggest economic territory in Europe (4.6% of EU GDP), with the largest European urban population (bigger than London), urban mobility is a big concern. Even though France has been recognized as the world’s best-served country for public transport by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), there is still plenty of room for improvement. For the Regional Council of the Paris Region, the challenge of urban mobility remains a priority.
As a result, €24 billion will be invested before 2025 to refurbish and replace infrastructure (subway cars, train and buses), improve public transport routes, build new stations, create parking spaces and improve accessibility and security. These infrastructure projects will be accompanied by the Grand Paris Express, the biggest urban construction project in Europe (€25 billion), which will allow residents in the Paris Region to benefit from an ultra-modern subway service, which will serve the whole Region, including suburban areas. In total, almost €50 billion will be spent in this sector in the Paris Region over the next few years. This unprecedented level of investment is unique in Europe.
This transport revolution in the Paris Region will also engage with a policy of active support for new modes of transport favored by digital technologies. These include car-share schemes, carpooling, cycling, mopeds, driverless shuttles and other shared urban modes of transport (scooters, hoverboards, rollerblades and skateboards).
These rapid changes in regional eco-mobility are supported by large urban projects and offer new opportunities to foreign investors. The market is open to development and the Region is open to entrepreneurs and innovation. This is demonstrated by the figures.
A REGION OPEN TO ENTREPRENEURS AND INNOVATION
The Paris Region is currently home to 100 business incubators, including Station F, the biggest start-up campus in the world. Station F is made up of 9 centers of excellence, including Mov’eo, an excellence cluster dedicated to the transport of the future, which supports all R&D players (SMEs, large businesses, research bodies, laboratories and academics), from implementing their innovative projects to placing them on the market, particularly favoring the emergence of collaborative R&D projects, generating strategic partnerships and facilitating access to public and private co-funding.
The Paris Region is also rich in talent. The Region has the highest concentration of education establishments in France, with higher education establishments, world-class universities and over 660,000 students. Finally, the Region is a key player in research: 150,000 employees work in R&D, of which 100,000 are researchers. Every year, more than €19 billion is spent on R&D. Various corporations are specializing in finding solutions to the challenge of urban mobility, and are currently leading the way on issues such as onboard electronics, cyber-security, electronic vehicles, driverless vehicles and shared transport.
However, beyond this momentum, the Paris Region also has 12 million inhabitants and 47 million tourists every year, all of whom undertake 40 million journeys every day. For players in the transport industry, this assures them that they will easily reach the critical mass of users needed to deploy their services.
In this rapidly developing market, more and more foreign players are getting involved. A case in point is Flixbus, a German long-distance coach operator that chose the Paris Region as a base for its French branch in September 2015. With a fleet of around 100 coaches, the operator quickly became synonymous with mobility, and after 1 year, has captured over 50% of coach travelers on the market, or 3.3 million passengers transported in France. Another German newcomer, Bosch, has decided to make the most of the enthusiasm for self-service two-wheeled motor vehicles. Since the summer of 2017, 600 of its electric scooters, sold under the Coup brand, have been released into Paris. Also seduced by the power of the market, a young Indian start-up Zify, winner of the French Tech Ticket, decided to set up its European HQ in Paris. The company has just launched an innovative short-distance carpool service which lets you plan your journey in real time. “Pursuing our international expansion into the Paris Region was obvious because it’s an innovative region for urban mobility,” explains Anurag RATHOR, founder and CEO of Zify.
What all these companies have in common is that they have chosen the Paris Region due to its creative and innovative environment in the heart of Europe. Boosted by preparations for the 2024 Olympic Games, these business opportunities are only going to increase.
Originally published on Invest in Paris Region