IMPACTS: Boosting passenger safety in Croatia and Türkiye through a collaborative system

Public transport is a crucial aspect of urban mobility, allowing people to commute, socialise, and explore their cities safely and cost-effectively. However, issues such as overcrowding, limited digitalisation, outdated reporting mechanisms, and diminished perceived safety can discourage its use, leading to missed opportunities for multimodal mobility, traffic reduction, and citizen feedback.

To address these issues, the IMPACTS project (Inclusive Mobility: Public and Collaborative Trusted Spaces) aimed to create a human-centric public transport system that promotes passenger safety, encourages support for fellow travellers, and collects feedback to improve the services and urban environment.

The one-year project, led by the Technical University of Berlin and supported by EIT Urban Mobility, started in January and ended in December 2023. Within the project, IMPACTS developed and tested a sociotechnical tool, WizGo, which connects (i) passengers of mobility services in proximity off- and online and (ii) allows users to report issues in the urban environment to the respective mobility provider.

The cities of Dugopolje (Croatia) and Istanbul (Türkiye) partnered with the project to improve their transportation services as well as rural and urban environments. Testing WizGo in these two distinct environments, with active participation from people, provided valuable feedback to further refine the application. As a result, it became clear that social community apps in public spaces offer different benefits, highlighting the need and desire for instant and local community support.

The IMPACTS project in Croatia

As part of the pilot project in Dugopolje, the IMPACTS initiative placed a strong emphasis on enhancing passenger connectivity within the broader Split area. The goal was to elevate the public transportation experience for students and employees by implementing tools designed to facilitate the identification of co-passengers, based on various criteria.

This approach aimed to achieve greater comfort, passenger safety, and travel efficiency. WizGo was tested on suburban bus lines passing through Dugopolje (lines 35, 35A, and 69), and provided passengers the opportunity to connect while waiting for the bus. This innovative feature fostered a sense of security and community support among passengers, thereby improving connections and leading to better experiences in public transport.

A representative of the Dugopolje Municipality, Marija Čipčić, highlighted the transformative nature of the IMPACTS project, stating: 

“IMPACTS is a groundbreaking initiative that not only improves public transportation but also builds passenger communities. It signifies a significant step towards a more humane, secure, and efficient way of traveling, contributing to environmental conservation and better utilization of urban space. The project transcends technical innovations, focusing on creating an environment where passengers feel supported and safe while using public transport. In the Dugopolje pilot project, the emphasis was on establishing a model that will serve as a foundation for future improvements in public transportation and passenger connectivity in the broader Dugopolje area.”

The IMPACTS project in Türkiye

In Istanbul, the IMPACTS project was piloted in a historic peninsula, targeting visitors to support their transportation experience and digitise the current feedback mechanisms. Specifically, the pilot was conducted on Istanbul’s T1 Tramway line from 2 to 6 October, incorporating an initial workshop with the participation of project partners and other stakeholders.

Following the workshop, steps were taken to enable the target users to download, use, and give feedback on the WizGo application on the T1 Tramway line. The primary objective was to boost the sense of security within the line, while allowing people to provide feedback to local authorities on urban transport and the surrounding environment. This feedback loop was designed to help local authorities improve service delivery and urban planning by using insights from users in real time.

Outcomes of the project

Through the use of the WizGo app, passengers in Dugopolje experienced increased satisfaction with urban transport connectivity, while in Istanbul, passengers reported feeling more secure and safe. These outcomes underline the positive impact of a tailored application like WizGo on user satisfaction and urban mobility effectiveness. The WizGo application can thus play a significant role in providing effective services and increasing the use of public transport.

To conclude, the IMPACTS project successfully enhanced online and offline connections among passengers, empowering them to report urban environment issues. Martin Schlecht, coordinator of the IMPACTS project at TU Berlin, further stressed the opportunities resulting from the project collaboration:

“The IMPACTS project proved the power of passenger communities as the ultimate catalyst to improve public transport. With the right digital tool, citizens can actively shape the transport environment and contribute to an immediate feeling of safety and comfort in public transport, not only for themselves but for the entire community.”

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.

 

Velo-city 2022 in Ljubljana

During the Velo-city conference 2022, that took place from the 14 until the 17 June, Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, was fully garnished with butterflies. Those represented the visual identity of the annual flagship event organised by our partner, the European Cyclist’s Federation, and that symbolises change, development and metamorphosis. Indeed, the Slovenian capital made a drastic shift in the last 10 years regarding cycling.

EIT Urban Mobility was fully present in Velo-city with a booth, that attracted those interested in our programmes and that could learn more about our mission, specially regarding Active Mobility.

During the 3 days event, different conferences brought together those involved in the policy, promotion and the provision of cycling facilities and programmes. Edwin Heesakkers, EIT Urban Mobility Innovation Hub West director, took part of the Focus on citizens, stakeholders and community plenary session on Wednesday. Heesakkers highlighted the importance to engage with youth, women and marginalised groups.

“We’re breaking the silos to make the changes together. Why? Because cities are for you, for us, for the people who live in them. And it is of utmost importance that each of you can have your say in designing the city you will live in” Edwin Heesakkers, EIT UM Innovation Hub West director

On Thursday, Anja Ilenič, EIT Urban Mobility RIS Hub Slovenia representative, took part of the Engaging citizens and building the cycling community session. Ilenič introduced EIT Urban Mobility, some of the RIS Hub Slovenia initiatives, and same as Heessakkers, also stressed the importance of involving the youth in the decision making process. The same morning, EIT Urban Mobility Innovation Lifecycle officer, Manuel Crespo Yáñez, attended the conference The latest innovations from bike-sharing and micromobility, where he presented one of our projects that was also present at Velo-city, Bicification.

“The future of urban mobility is active mobility” Manuel Crespo Yáñez, EIT UM Innovation Lifecycle officer

In order to preach by example, the EIT Urban Mobility team present in Ljubljana took part in the traditional Velo-city Bike Parade, together with hundreds of other enthusiastic bike lovers.

Indeed, the conferences are designed to encourage cycling as part of daily transport and recreation. Velo-city began in 1980 in Bremen (Germany) with deep ties in the founding of the European Cyclists’ Federation. The next world cycling summit will take place in May 2023 in Liepzig. More info here

Paving the way to liveable urban spaces in Europe

What are the key elements enabling EIT Urban Mobility’s vision of creating more liveable urban spaces in cities? Did you know that: they range from improving cooperation between private and public entities,

  • to supporting targeted investments aligned with cities’ goals,
  • to exploring emerging technologies that offer solutions to urban mobility challenges,
  • to assessing the impact of solutions deployed by our supported startups.

These and many other points are covered in the last issue of polisMobility magazine, which features EIT Urban Mobility in the article: Paving the way to liveable urban spaces in Europe, addressing the importance of “impact” in curbing transport sector emissions and making urban mobility cleaner and safer.

The article by Judith O’Meara, Director of Innovation Hub Central, discusses the transition to sustainable mobility, in line with the EU Green Deal objectives, and looks into how EIT Urban Mobility’s strategic approach to impact investing supports European cities in this ambitious environmental and technological transition.

Curious to know more about how we accelerate change towards a sustainable model of urban mobility? Catch us at polisMOBILITY 2022, where EIT Urban Mobility will be actively participating!

The following activities will provide citizens and organisations with the opportunity to learn more about our programmes and mobility innovation marketplace:

Session: “EIT Urban Mobility session: An initiative to create more liveable urban spaces” – Friday 20 May at 13:30 – 14:30 (CEST), visionSTAGE.
Networking meeting: Closed event, upon invitation only addressed to our partners and potential partners – Friday 20 May at 15:00 – 16:30 (CEST).
Talk and discussion: Addressed to citizens and civil society organisations, focusing on implemented solutions that increase the potential of redefining the public realm in our cities – Saturday 21 May at 12:00 – 12:45 (CEST), openSTAGE.

Join us at polisMOBILITY 2022, to know more about EIT Urban Mobility’s activities and solutions for sustainable cities!

Women in Urban Mobility – Promoting gender equality and female empowerment

Women in Urban Mobility is a joint project of UnternehmerTUM, Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya, Carnet Barcelona, and Junior Achievement Bulgaria, supported by EIT Urban Mobility.

Aiming to empower women to become active shapers of future urban mobility, the project was awarded as best practice example in the category “Networks” at the “gerecht mobil” competition.

The three European cities – Barcelona, Sofia, and Munich – come together to contribute their knowledge to a more gender-diverse perspective to urban mobility.

With passion and combined forces, the project strives to empower women to take entrepreneurial action; encourage companies, cities, and governments to promote gender equality; and to foster creative exchange on the innovation process in urban mobility with female perspectives to increase social inclusion and shape the future of mobility for everyone.