Powered Two-Wheelers (PTWs) move far more than just people and goods: they move economies. Personal mobility enables socio-economic mobility, which is why PTWs have a crucial role to play in designing sustainable practices for the future.The ability of PTWs to reduce congestion and improve traffic fluidity leads to significant time– and therefore cost–savings for their users and economies more generally.
Mobility solutions are deeply tied to demographic changes and the resultant needs of road users. Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Increases in PTW use are therefore explained by the needs of citizens across the world to both reach and travel within urban areas.
Developing regions are increasingly turning towards PTWs to address their unique mobility needs. Their low purchasing and maintenance cost relative to personal income, along with economically advantageous fuel efficiency, make PTWs the most attractive option for road users in the developing world.
Households across South and South-East Asia rely on PTWs for their personal and business transport needs. Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country, is projected to have 70% of its population living in urban areas by 2045. This urbanization has been part and parcel of the country’s nine-fold increase in GDP per capita since 1950, as the transformation from a primarily agrarian society to one increasingly based on industry and services has been a driver of its economic growth.
In Indonesia and India alike, PTWs represent 80% of the total registered vehicle fleet. By 2050, it is projected that India will have added 416 million urban dwellers. This imminent demographic transformation requires mobility solutions adapted to citizens’ need for personal mobility while minimizing existing traffic congestion difficulties. In Vietnam, PTWs already represent 93% of the total number of registered vehicles.
In Latin America, there were only 8 million PTWs registered in 2008, but that number has since increased to 46 million in 2016.
Despite sparse data availability in the region, PTWs are increasingly used across Africa due to their ability to travel on poor roads, connecting farmers to markets and people to goods and services such as mobile healthcare solutions. PTWs comprise 60% of all registered vehicles in Uganda and Tanzania, and 70% and 85% in Togo and Burkina-Faso, respectively. The rapid urbanization of Nigeria, whereby 189 million citizens will live in urban areas by 2050, will need to be met with modes of personal transport which are flexible. As demonstrated by previous examples, PTWs are well suited to address these mobility challenges.
Already urbanized regions, such as North America and Europe, are also seeing continued PTW use growth due to their ease of movement in crowded urban environments, smaller parking space needed, reduced environmental footprint, offering of door-to-door transport, and low cost of use. These needs signal an evolution from the traditionally leisure-focused market in both regions, as represented by the dominant market share of PTWs with engines larger than 125cc. The increase in delivery services seen as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend.
Globally, PTW use will continue to rise as road users appreciate the benefits over other forms of transportation. PTWs are the transport solution of choice for urban settings due to relatively shorter distances. The connection between PTW use and inclusive economic opportunities is supported by the data, and forms the core of IMMA’s advocacy work in showing the socio-economic benefits PTWs can offer on a global scale.
By 2050, an additional 2.5 billion people will live in urban settings. Citizens need mobility solutions which drive economic empowerment, and it is the responsibility of all shareholders to ensure that road users are safe regardless of their transport mode of choice. IMMA is committed to representing the motorcycle industry in global transport forums to ensure that safe and sustainable motorcycling receives the policy support it needs and deserves.