During Tomorrow Mobility World Congress, EIT Urban Mobility brought together top elected officials and policy practitioners from several cities in Europe in two roundtable discussions to share their key priorities and ideas to advance sustainable urban mobility and foster the uptake of transport innovations. Adopting a leading approach appears essential to identify the most pressing needs of the citizens and to be more flexible and responsive to new innovations.
Priorities of cities for urban mobility in the coming years
The invited elected officials – from Barcelona (Spain), Milan (Italy), Thessaloniki (Greece), Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) and Izmir (Turkey) – agreed that being more efficient in facilitating collective and individual mobility and the transport of goods has a vital impact on a city’s quality of life and its ability to attract investment and jobs.
From their point of view, the priorities for urban mobility in the coming years should be focused on strengthening public transportation systems to be efficient, attractive, and well connected – regionally and with other modes of transport –; investing in digital and physical infrastructure for the development of tomorrow’s mobility solutions; and raising awareness and building a new culture based on sustainable mobility principles.
“It is possible to construct a dream that is different for our cities.” Arianna Censi, Milan
A shift is urgently needed to implement and scale solutions
Despite coming from very different contexts and backgrounds, the policy practitioners – from Barcelona and metropolitan area of Barcelona (Spain), Stockholm (Sweden), Prague (Czech Republic), Milan (Italy) and Helsinki (Finland) –also agreed that achieving such an ambitious agenda will require different ways of thinking and working, and therefore innovation and speed are critical to urban mobility.
Cities must build the capacity to shorten the cycle to learn and scale solutions, because the challenges they face are becoming increasingly urgent. Cities need to go faster, and to do so they should try to be more flexible when planning for the future of urban mobility. In this regard, cities must be equipped with the right tools and capacity to manage the faster rhythm of the industry, so alternative and more flexible procurement processes are crucial.
Cities need a long-term strategic thinking and planning, as this framework empowers them to face new and disruptive changes. On this matter, pilot projects are important for experimentation, learning, and deep understanding, and for a continuous adaptation and fine-tuning of these strategies by taking on board lessons learned.
Strong collaboration across all segments of society is key
It is equally important to bring citizens into the conversation to set the vision for their city. Citizens are the producers, users, consumers, and owners of the cities they live in, and they must play an effective and meaningful role in defining a clear direction on where they want to go.
“What we want is to move into proactive policy making and that entails being in a constant dialogue with the private sector on the things coming to the market that will be disrupting the status quo…We cannot be deciding alone about things that involve the entire spectrum of actors.” Petr Suška, Prague
Therefore, a strong collaboration across all segments of the society to change mindsets, embrace change, and create impactful solutions to improve quality of life is key to shift to more sustainable urban mobility. In this regard, urban leaders and transport experts, businesses, and researchers are shaping together the EIT Urban Mobility ecosystem for smart, green, and integrated transport solutions for the future of urban mobility and liveable urban spaces.
Learn more about the event here.