EIT Urban Mobility partners met in Istanbul to share best practices and learn about the city’s mobility challenges

On 5 – 7 July 2022, EIT Urban Mobility – Innovation Hub Central organised a Partner Event in Istanbul in cooperation with Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM). With 60 attendees coming from all sectors and across Europe, the event was a perfect opportunity to gain deeper insights about the core partner City of Istanbul and to discuss and share best practices on the challenges and solutions of the European megapole in terms of urban mobility. Three challenges were identified for the event sessions as the most pressing ones in Istanbul: active mobility, sustainable logistics and energy and mobility.

The event was kicked-off with greetings and introduction by the Advisor to the mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, followed by a presentation on the Istanbul Vision 2050 Strategy and the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan for the city. 

On the first day of the event, Innovation Hub Central presented to local and regional stakeholders the vision and mission of EIT Urban Mobility, our action-orientated innovation, business creation, and academy programmes, as well as the services we offer to support the scaling and market uptake of innovative solutions.

The EIT Urban Mobility presentation was followed by some project presentations and a thematic panel discussion on Active Mobility, featuring speakers from Pinbike (Bicification project) and from the cities of Barcelona, Istanbul, and Milan as well as the transport agency of Rome. After that, an interactive session based on an upcoming EIT Urban Mobility study on ”15-minute city: human-centered planning in action” took place. In the evening of the first day, our gold/leading cities partners were invited to the launch of the Istanbul Vision 2050 Strategy presented by the Mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem İmamoğlu. Special thanks to the Mayor of Istanbul who made time in his busy agenda to welcome our colleagues Jezabel Martínez and Nermin Varol for an interview on the development of the city of Istanbul and the support it is receiving from our organisation.

The following day focused on Logistics with presentations and discussions by speakers coming from Koc University, City of Munich, the start-up Delivers AI, Factual (S+Loadz project), Artech international and Fraunhofer IML.

In the afternoon, participants enjoyed some site visits to Büyükada, the biggest of the Prince Islands, which is a unique example on the use of only electric vehicles for any transport purpose in the island, although still confronting problems in terms of logistics supply. During this activity, we also had the opportunity to see in action one of the sea taxis. Since 2021, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) designed, manufactured and established the sea taxi system in the Strait of Istanbul (Bosphorous) consisting of a bridge between Europe and Asia. The water taxis work just like regular taxis with a reservation system and has a fleet of 50 operating water taxis.

The aim is to support sea transportation mode over land transportation. Sea taxis have 10 people capacity and are currently serving 48 piers operating 24h/day through the “İBB Sea Taxi” mobile application. Passengers can make reservations by choosing the piers, date, and time.

A sea taxi transferring citizens from one continent to the other in the Bosphorus river.

The third day of the event was dedicated to a thematic session on Energy and Mobility, featuring panellists from Sabanci University, Factual (Cleanergy 4 Micromobility project), Sams Norway, Bosch VHIT, and Hyke. Site visits were organised by the City of Istanbul in the afternoon to mobility-related places in the city: the traffic management centre being an important component of smart cities; a new tram line with ground-level power supply; the world’s second-oldest urban rail line; and an incubation centre to support the creation of start-ups. Event participants appreciated the possibility to learn on-site how Istanbul is managing mobility issues.

While local and regional stakeholders learnt more about EIT Urban Mobility, partners exchanged on mobility topics of special interest to the City of Istanbul, providing potential solutions to the identified challenges.

Thanks to this Partner event, new connections were created and new ideas were discussed and explored, with the ultimate goal to create more liveable urban spaces not only in Istanbul but in the whole Europe.