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Mobility Shifts in Commercial Real Estate

Revathi Greenwood • 2/5/2019
Major cities are currently navigating the implications of ridesharing vehicles, e-scooters and bikes as well as autonomous and electric vehicles on their respective infrastructures.

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Mobility Shifts and Commercial Real Estate – Implications of Ridesharing; Autonomous Vehicles; Micro-mobility and Electric Vehicles is the latest report in Cushman & Wakefield’s “Tech Disruptor Series,” which examines the impact these technologies are having on city infrastructures and commercial real estate across the country. Some of these impacts range from shifts in adoption rates to manufacturing.

Some of the top takeaways include;

  • Ridesharing, Autonomous and electric vehicles will change consumer behavior: Ridesharing is already reducing use of public transit and increasing the number of vehicular miles traveled, increasing congestion and pollution. These trends are set to accelerate with widespread AV use. Self-driving cars are also likely to free up commute times for work and play, as commuters will now be able to multi-task during their journeys.
  • Provides more location flexibility, but location will still matter: As commute times become extensions of work or down time, companies can open offices in less expensive suburban locations, increasing suburban sprawl.
  • Potential to erode transit-oriented development (TOD) premiums: TOD premiums might abate or even disappear over time. On the other hand, public transportation systems could be revitalized by self-driving mass transit buses or trains, particularly to combat increased congestion in major urban markets.
  • Exploding demand and widespread adoption from data centers, cloud computing, entertainment content, high-tech manufacturing, cybersecurity and original equipment manufacturers: In the Bay Area alone, mobility companies occupied just under six million square feet in 2018.
  • Large, wealthy, densely populated cities with expensive parking are likely to be “early adopters”: These comprise gateway cities as well as San Jose, Denver, Seattle and Philadelphia with early “mobility-as-a-service” (MaaS) adoption as well. Car-centric cities such as Phoenix, Orlando, Las Vegas and Raleigh/Durham, etc., are likely to see less change.

The report also lays out some near, mid- and long-term real estate opportunities. For entire list of insights and opportunities, check out the full report, but some of the notable examples include:

  • In the near-term (now to 10 years), expect immediate changes to industrial businesses, including the relocation of large warehouses and distribution centers to suburban and/or less costly neighborhoods. With respect to urban offices, anticipate more dedicated waiting areas and/or bikeshare/scooter docks, as well as, dedicated parcel delivery zones to improve lobby traffic.
  • In the mid-term (10-15 years), expect new employee parking space models to increase warehouse efficiency design for industrial real estate. In suburban areas, expect repurposing of parking and offices for bikes and scooters storage for short distance needs, including building to parking or to lunch and from apartment to supermarket.
  • And in the long-term (15+ years), expect cities redesigned with mobility top of mind. This includes dedicated pick-up spots for autonomous vehicle fleets and a decreased need for truck stops, leading to redeveloped CRE opportunities along major highways.


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