Urban Mobility – The Future Is Near
According to the United Nations, by 2050 the world urban population is expected to nearly double making urban mobility a key challenge for cities’ sustainability. The more activities are concentrated in the city, the more congestion, traffic safety and environmental pollution will follow.
Urban mobility has numerous negative consequences on people’s health as well as on local economies. Cities face worldwide issues such as global warming, energy dependency and increased energy costs.
What are the key topics regarding urban mobility?
Led by various EU initiatives, two highly relevant and interesting urban mobility topics are:
- Efficient infrastructure and mobility. From soft solutions of ride-hailing or car-pooling apps, to hard infrastructure interventions of self-charging vehicles, cycling lanes or logistic hubs, the central focus of the call is to improve the efficiency of urban mobility.
- Integrated urban transport of people and goods. The second set of suggested activities focused on the comprehensive way of addressing mobility challenges by concentrating on a long-term strategy involving citizens, a multi-scale and multi-modal approach and replicable and measurable resource-efficiency solutions.
Beyond urban infrastructural changes, we need big behavioural changes as well, which can be achieved by involving those living in urban areas, as:
- People think about changing their travel choices e.g., in EU cities up to 30% of people are considering alternative modes of transport
- There is a role for regulation but behaviour change requires other incentives, often in combination. City planners can use a range of measures (physical opportunities plus information/incentives) as part of a ‘machinery of enticement’
- Policies should also help engage, encourage, and inform people, they should co-create and drive towards the same objectives (e.g., health and transport). They need to be integrated not just at the city level but also at the national level. It is under these conditions that a larger and longer-lasting positive change in mobility patterns will occur
- Cities need to respond to the current crisis with renewed and integrated policies, evaluating the variables that influence mobility choices, and the infrastructure, both physical and ICT-based. Cities will need, at the very least, to re-make the case for the safety of public transport. There is enough evidence to suggest that when the necessary safety measures are in place, risks are minimised.
Urban mobility policy today implies a certain set of skills and resources, which might not be present currently at city admin level, so they will need to review their capacity to pursue a mobility policy that makes full use of all available policy tools (source: Urban Innovative Actions).