Eleven urban mobility challenges have been identified for the cities of Braga (Portugal), Larissa and Heraklion (Greece) to be tackled as part of the second edition of the European #ChallengeMyCity programme.
This programme, led by EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, a body of the EU, is enabling European cities to tackle their most pressing urban mobility challenges by testing innovative solutions. It helps the city to define a project, determines the specific challenges to be met, identifies and tests solutions that respond to the challenges over a 6-month period and evaluates the results. In this way, it allows cities to apply the “test before invest” principle, by piloting solutions that are market-ready, to the challenges they face before long-term investment.
This year’s edition of #ChallengeMyCity is dedicated to the cities of Braga (Portugal), Larissa, Heraklion (Greece). With the support of EIT Urban Mobility, each city has identified a set of mobility challenges and is seeking solutions from businesses and entrepreneurs who can provide innovative proposals to tackle them. The eleven challenges are now open for application by mobility providers, start-ups and companies of any size, from Europe, who, if selected, will be awarded €60 000 each to fund a six-month pilot in the city.
Lluis Puerto, Director of Market Development at EIT Urban Mobility: “#ChallengeMyCity is a service for European cities to test innovative mobility solutions that target their most urging needs and can be integrated into their long-term mobility strategy. We are certain, at EIT Urban Mobility, that testing innovative solutions and gathering feedback from citizens, allows both cities and companies to learn from these pilot experiences. The force behind this programme is to ease the process of procurement so that cities can benefit from ready-to-use innovations in the field of sustainable mobility.”
Four mobility challenges in Braga
The city of Braga, who has just won the European Mobility Week 2022 prize for its remarkable activities in promoting sustainable mobility, continues to take steps towards improving its urban mobility ecosystem. Through #ChallengeMyCity programme, it is seeking innovative solutions to face four challenges, and applications can be submitted until 8th of May 2023.
- Enhancing bike safety and monitoring cyclists´ flows
The city is exploring ways to enhance bike safety and monitor bike flows on shared traffic lanes. By implementing additional safety measures, and better understanding cyclists’ behaviour and mobility patterns, Braga wants to create a more friendly environment for cyclists and reduce the risk of accidents.
- Understanding and promoting active mobility in the city centre
Braga is seeking innovative technological solutions that can help to collect information and provide data-based insights to inform urban planning, enhancing a holistic comprehension of pedestrian and cyclist flows in the city centre. Furthermore, solutions that can improve and encourage walking and promote active mobility are welcome, as well as proposals incorporating both aspects.
- Improving monitoring and use of on-street parking spaces
Finding a parking space in the city can often be a time-consuming and frustrating task for drivers, leading to increased congestion and pollution. To address these issues, the city of Braga aims to test solutions that can inform citizens how to find available on-street parking spaces while also helping the city to monitor, gain insights and manage limited-time paid parking zones.
- Encouraging alternative transportation for school commuting to decrease private car usage
The preferred mean of transport for school commuting in Braga is a private car, which results in traffic congestion during peak hours, and increased pollution in the city centre. The city is seeking solutions to improve, optimize and enhance the use of sustainable modes of transportation to go to school, reduce reliance on private cars and alleviate traffic congestion in the city centre.
The Greek cities of Heraklion and Larissa are seeking solutions to the urban mobility challenges.
For both cities, a key issue remains the importance of collecting environmental and traffic data, as better way to take informed decisions about future interventions in urban mobility planning. The data collected will help the cities to better understand local traffic flows, the use of public infrastructure and space as well as mobility needs. This allows local authorities to effectively regulate and plan for traffic flows, necessary infrastructure changes, and future development of mobility services.
Heraklion the capital of the Greek island of Crete, is looking to improve the accessibility and sustainability of its urban mobility ecosystem by tackling the following challenges:
- Creating micromobility hubs through secure bicycle parkings
The city of Heraklion strives to implement safe and secured bicycle parking with the possibility of charging e-bikes, located in a strategic point where the users, after finishing their trips, can park their bike safely to walk or use public transport. The ideal flexible modular solution could be spread around the city and accommodate (each one) a small number (10-30) of bikes and e-bikes for both spontaneous parking and charging during the day by the registered users of the scheme.
- Management and control of parking spaces for persons with reduced mobility (PRM) and logistics
The desired solution should enable PRM residents and visitors, and truck drivers, to book a parking spot. It should also facilitate the movement of people with disabilities and encourage their integration and equal participation in the life of the city by informing them in real time about the next free parking spot. It should also facilitate the everyday work of the delivery companies and the shop owners, by avoiding illegal parking of trucks in random and not appropriate places for parking.
- Control of motorised vehicle access in the pedestrianised area of the city centre
The city is looking for a technology solution through which it can control the city’s entry points and/or exit points of the central pedestrianised area. The solution implementing the Urban Vehicle Access Regulations (UVARs) should allow the city to grant the permissions to an authorized driver to enter the area during certain time slots. The control of the entry and exit points should not rely on the involvement of the police in the enforcement of the regulation. The winning company will be invited to provide a demonstration of the technology effectiveness in several entries/exits.
- Electric-powered micro-vehicle for PRM passengers’ mobility in the pedestrianised city centre
Heraklion is interested in piloting a new mobility option friendly both to people and the environment, operating in slow speed (up to 25 kilometres per hour) and allowing ride-hailing anywhere on the street. Smart or conventional telephone ordering should also be an option. This vehicle should be operated by a professional driver (city employee or employee of a private organisation, e.g. the Urban Public Transport Operator) and have capacity of 5 passengers without wheelchairs, or less passengers with wheelchairs.
Larissa, one of the first cities to implement a pedestrianised city center in Greece. It is looking to further improve sustainable urban mobility by tackling the following challenges:
- Creating micromobility hubs through secure bicycle parkings
The city of Larissa strives to implement safe and secured bicycle parking with the possibility of charging e-bikes, located in a strategic point where the users, after finishing their trips, can park their bike safely to walk or use public transport. Safe bike parking facilities will encourage more cyclists to use e-bikes, which is expected to increase the number of cyclists for long peri-urban distance trips and trips to uphill destinations.
- Collection of environmental and traffic data
The city of Larissa is looking into the use of smart devices to be installed close to schools and hospitals and less sensitive locations to measure and compare the level of environmental pollution (air and noise) and traffic flows. The collection of relevant environmental and traffic data by smart devices will enable the city to take informed decisions and to re-shape urban mobility based on minimizing the harmful effects.
- Management and control of parking spaces for People with Reduced Mobility (PRM)
Unauthorized parking causes major accessibility issues for PRM. The desired solution should enable holders of blue cards (PRM residents in Larissa) and visitors with reduced mobility to book a parking spot. It should furthermore facilitate the movement of people with disabilities and encourages their integration and equal participation in the life of the city by informing them in real time about the next free parking spot.
Both Greek cities accept submissions from innovative solution providers until 29th of May 2023.
In its first 2022 edition, the programme implemented nine innovative solutions, by seven start-ups, in the three cities of Milan, Toulouse, and Madrid.
In Milan and Toulouse, a secure bike-shelter and solar-powered docking station were installed at a key train station in each city to validate a new model for intermodality amongst commuters. The start-up Don Cicleto, who was awarded the pilot for a secure bike shelter at a train station in Milan, has recently won a tender by ADIF (Spanish national railway infrastructure manager) to install their secure bike shelters in 42 train stations over Spain. In Madrid, five pilots were implemented on the topics of intermodality, sustainable city logistics, and active mobility flows monitoring, including a secure bike parking by Vadecity, who has been awarded a project by the EMT (city transport operator in Madrid) to scale the parking network in the city with 7 additional locations, and a smart pick-up locker system for green last-mile delivery by Smart Point, which has accumulated over 4000 users and helped reduce emissions by 32% per delivery.
#ChallengeMyCity is a EIT Urban Mobility programme enabling European cities to tackle their most pressing urban mobility challenges by testing market-ready innovative solutions. It helps the city to define a project, then determines the specific challenges to be met, tests solutions that respond to the challenges over a 6-month period and evaluates the results. In its first 2022 edition, the programme implemented nine innovative solutions, by seven start-ups, in the three cities of Milan, Toulouse, and Madrid. Applications can be found here. Calls for Proposals Archives – EIT Urban mobility