Wheels CEO Dan Frank on the Future of Mobility as a Service in Commercial Fleets
By Dan Frank March 31, 2021
This article originally appeared in the “Wheels Mobility Guide,” a feature of the April 2019 edition of Automotive Fleet magazine.
For the foreseeable future there will be no one-size-fits-all mobility model and the ongoing proliferation of competing mobility services will continue to be aggregated under the generic Mobility as a Service (MaaS) umbrella. Ultimately, today’s consumer mobility options will be blended into a menu of hybrid fleet services offered as employee mobility choices by corporations. These services will be new tools in the fleet manager’s toolbox.
To learn how mobility management will be incorporated into the management of commercial fleets, AF interviewed Dan Frank, president and CEO of Wheels Inc.
AF: How do you define mobility management in the context of fleet?
FRANK: I don’t think there is one definition for mobility management. Mobility management falls into three different categories.
The first category includes the different forms of transportation other than a vehicle. This expanded concept of mobility management includes planes, buses, trains, scooters, bicycles, and all forms of transportation beyond the company-provided vehicle. This also includes providing a mobility budget, where rather than providing the transportation, the company provides an employee a budget for it.
The second category includes the different business models of providing vehicles, such as rental cars, ridesharing, or ride-hailing. The third category includes leased, reimbursed and pool vehicles.
Some people mix autonomous vehicles into the concept of mobility management but it really is just the same as the above except it replaces the need for a driver. However, it will change the game and the economics so drastically that it makes sense to include it in a discussion of shared mobility.
AF: Approximately 60%-plus of the vehicles in operation are vocational vehicles, such as trucks with service bodies, or vans with rack-and-bin configuration. What role would mobility management play in the vocational fleet segment?
FRANK: It’s extremely unlikely that you’re going to see people doing construction, oil and gas exploration or law enforcement out of the back of an Uber/Lyft.