Developing sustainable business models in urban mobility: conceptual framework and evidence from Brazilian cases studies

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2018)


Case studies, Sustainable business model, Sustainable urban mobility


Production and consumption concentration of goods and services in large urban centers are increasingly demanding sustainable solutions capable of ensuring mobility demands of people. This context is characterized by the challenge of reducing dependence on private car use to provide alternatives that promote sustainable urban mobility. Given the growing interest of various actors in society in developing new business models for urban mobility - expanding frontiers previously dominated exclusively by the automotive industry players, the following research question emerges: which factors favor the development of sustainable business modes in urban mobility?
The research aims to developing and assessing a conceptual framework of how organizations and practitioners, through their business models, may promote sustainable urban mobility oriented initiatives.
Firstly, research defined which aspects characterize a sustainable business model in the context of urban mobility, since it has been little discussed in a comprehensive way in literature, resulting in a conceptual framework of analysis.
Then, this framework was assessed through a multiple cases studies of six business models developed in Brazil and aligned with the conceptual framework, aiming to identify other factors that may be incorporated from the empirical evidences.
As first finding, through literature review and analysis, the conceptual framework was proposed. This framework was organized in two dimensions and established typologies of sustainable business models in urban mobility (first dimension), as well as aspects that characterize these models transversely (second dimension).
The conceptual framework propose eight typologies of sustainable business models in urban mobility: (1) favoring the use of clean energy; (2 )encouraging integration and intermodal transport, allowing individuals to travel more efficiently; (3) maximizing the use of transport resources and capabilities; (4) encouraging substitution using sustainable modes; (5) offering service orientation and functionality; (6) allowing integration and development of public policies, extending the benefits and conditions of accessibility to a wide range of stakeholders; (7) reducing travel demands and (8) developing scale-up mobility solutions.
As second finding, through multiple case studies empirical analysis, the research identified other relevant variables that need to be considered as factors for the development of sustainable business models in urban mobility (third dimension), according to the three parts of a business model: value proposition, value creation and delivery and value capture.
For the value proposition, the following factors may be considered: (1) orientation to improve the quality of journeys; (2) creation of an additional modal alternative; (3) provide increased access to mobility and (4) low-carbon orientation.
For the vale creation and delivery, the following factors may be considered (1) public dependence degree on the viability or regulation aspects for business model activities; (2) the need for technical knowledge on urban mobility systems; (3) dependence degree on own technological resources; (4) dependence degree user behavior change for service/product adoption.
For value capture, the following factors may be taken into account: (1) dependence degree of public resources; (2) dependence degree on private resources; (3) dependence degree of user resources and (4) scale up potential.
Practical implications
As practical implications, research contributes directly to two aspects: the development of public policies that encourage new business models creation that promote sustainable urban mobility, from a clear driver of relevant themes aligned with this concept and also contributes for practitioners interested in developing new business models in this field, from the recognition of factors that need to be taken into account to develop business in urban mobility.

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Concéption Tommaso Pardi
Administration Géry Deffontaines

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