October 2018

The Future of Mobility

Exploring how Italians think of cars and transport
How are progressive mindset people in Italy making their decisions about transport and planning their future choices?
We conducted a large ethnographic study in six Italian cities to explore the emerging attitudes, behaviours and needs related to transport.
A set of behavioural archetypes and drivers that could be used to generate ideas for new product-service and communication strategies.

How would mobility look like in twenty years from now? The car market has always been driven by a huge natural demand and the type of car people buy or dream about has always been influenced by a status symbol dimension. Is it the same nowadays or is the increasing availability of new transportation services and awareness of environmental issues changing the traditional perception of cars? The goal of this ethnographic study was to understand what motivates people in their choices about transportation and cars, and how they see themselves moving in the next twenty years.

The research involved progressive mindset people in Milan, Verona, Bologna, Rome, Napoli and Catania, shifting from big to medium and small size cities, with different types of configurations and distances from main hubs. Progressive mindset people are individuals open to change, who keep themselves up-to-date and are able to constantly evolve their behaviour following new emerging possibilities. During the contextual interviews, we talked about their principles, the way they collect information and inspirations, the role of technology in their everyday life and their relationship with transportation.

A street in Rome, packed with cars
The newly opened city-train line in Catania
A participant discusses his values and consumption habits
A start-up dedicated to helping other companies understand and adopt a sustainable approach

The progressive mindset audience expressed different attitudes, from a very functional perspective (“I need the car to sustain my kids schedule from school to sport”) to a more experiential way of thinking about it (“the car is having fun with the family while traveling to the countryside for a weekend trip”). We identified a spectrum of different motivations and behaviours from the more mainstream ones (“Of course sustainability is important, but it shouldn’t mess up with my efficiency”) to the more “antagonist” and conscious approaches (“Cars increase pollution as well as individualism and stress, I started a bike-to-school movement to help kids learn that moving with the bicycle in town is possible, even if Naples is a bit hilly”).

This study has helped Seat identify new opportunities for relating to existing and potential customers in the Italian market, and to inform a strategic reflection on the type of products they offer and how to evolve their business, services and brand in order to stay relevant in the future.

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