High-level City Event at Tomorrow.Mobility World Congress

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.

Living labs report published!

The living labs report is the main output of the inventory of urban mobility living labs in the Pan-European region conducted by LuxMobility and Breda University of Applied Sciences and funded by the EIT Urban Mobility in 2020. The aim of this public report is to provide the wider transport community with an understanding of the potential of successfully ran living labs and their essential contribution to the transformation of the current urban mobility system. 

This report will help the urban mobility innovation community to better understand the scope of the mobility living labs movement in Europe, the shapes and forms of these labs, their added value for the mobility transition, and the barriers and opportunities they are facing. The in-depth analysis presented in this report focuses on the following topics:

  • origin; 
  • duration; 
  • main topics addressed; 
  • key owners and stakeholders involved; 
  • relation to policy initiatives; 
  • real-life environment characteristics; 
  • co-creation and end-user involvement; 
  • operational structure; 
  • business models; 
  • kind of activities facilitated; 
  • key challenges; and 
  • areas of support needed.  

Since 2006 the concept of the living lab is recognised by the European Commission as a key tool for open innovation. Living labs have spread over Europe in various waves, first focusing on new ICT tools but later also extending to other fields, such as sustainable energy, healthcare, safety, and mobility. Nowadays, newspapers are full of news items on living labs, promoting networks of living labs recently created, and covering European projects that organise their activities within the living labs set-up. The present report illustrates that operational set up, local urban mobility strategies, as well as the goals of the main key stakeholders have led in practice to a large variety of urban mobility living labs in Europe. 

The key elements of living labs – active user involvement, multiple-stakeholder platform for innovation in real-life contexts, multi-method, and co-creation approach – are completely aligned with EIT Urban Mobility’s vision and mission. This mission covers improving people’s quality of life by creating more liveable urban spaces through innovation and transformation in urban mobility, decarbonising transport and making Europe’s economy and the transport sector more competitive. Therefore, living labs are a key strategic instrument within the EIT Urban Mobility to boost the uptake of innovative sustainable urban mobility solutions and accelerating the transition to scale by engaging directly with the citizens and the local community, and all stakeholders in a real-life environment.