November 14, 2023 14:49

How to Revolutionize Urban Mobility: Trends and Solutions

According to the United Nations, two-thirds of the population will live in urban areas by 2050. Those who migrate to major cities generally have a more comfortable life but struggle to move around town due to inadequate transportation systems. Urban mobility planning aims to solve this problem by enhancing different modes of transport. To achieve their goals, urban mobility spearheads have to overcome various challenges, including limited parking space, inadequate public transit, and high infrastructure costs.

This article will cover the main urban mobility solutions and trends that tackle those challenges.

What Influences People’s Mobility Choices?  

Before we delve into how urban mobility can assist commuters and improve their quality of life, you first need to define the term.  

ScienceDirect defines urban mobility as any type of movement that occurs in an urban environment. This doesn’t mean that the entire trip takes place in urban settings. Even those that only unfold briefly in a city before migrating to rural areas are considered urban mobility.  

This notion brings us to the most widely accepted division of urban mobility:  

  • Interurban – movements that begin in one urban area and finish in a different urban region.  

  • Suburban – movements that begin in one urban area and finish in a rural/suburban region.  

  • Intraurban – movements that begin and end in a single urban region.  

The importance of urban mobility planning can’t be overstated. It’s part and parcel of every urban mobility project because it directly influences the quality of life of the people in a particular city. Through elevated urban mobility, individuals can travel in and out of town more easily, which can improve their mental health, decrease stress, and reduce air pollution.  

However, some urban mobility undertakings are more successful than others. The efficacy of a project depends on the leader’s ability to address the following challenges:  

  • Increasing urban population – The larger the population of a city, the more difficult it is to implement an urban mobility solution. The reason being, that more people result in more traffic congestion and lower public space availability.  

  • Demand for accessible mobility – Another goal of urban mobility is to develop solutions that are accessible to most people, not just a select few.   

  • Climate change and decarbonization of mobility – Many governments are introducing low-emission zones to counteract climate change. They’re also insisting on the use of electric vehicles and other eco-friendly alternatives. While these help the environment, they add another layer of complexity to urban mobility planning.  

  • Ageing infrastructure – Old infrastructure is unsafe infrastructure, meaning it’s more likely to cause accidents. Urban mobility planners either need to update it or replace it altogether to bring it up to modern standards.  

  • Air pollution – Urban mobility not only aims to decrease traffic congestion. Lowering air pollution is another priority, and it’s reflected in reducing the time vehicles spend idling in gridlocks and at traffic lights.  

  • Increasing online deliveries – The higher the number of online shoppers, the greater the presence of commercial vehicles on urban roads. This further exacerbates congestion and pollution. 

Urban Mobility Trends  

Now that you’re familiar with the most common problems of urban mobility, here are the essential urban mobility trends that can rectify those issues. 

Concept of the 15-Minute City  

The concept of the 15-minute city is about enabling people to access the most important amenities within 15-20 minutes. Whether they go on foot, by bike, or use public transport, the goal is the same – making critical facilities easily accessible to everyone. This solution can also reduce the number of cars, freeing up public space for pedestrians and cyclists.  

Flexible Mobility Spending 

Gone are the days when urban mobility had just one or two channels of spending. Nowadays, budgets are more flexible and geared toward a wide range of transport modes to alleviate the pressure on the most popular methods (e.g., car and public transport).  

Collaboration for Green Mobility  

Many urban mobility companies work together to help you complete short trips without a motorized vehicle. They envision a landscape dominated by eco-friendly alternatives, pedestrians, and bicycles to reduce the carbon footprints of major cities.  

Combined Means of Transport to Move Better  

Those who rely on just one mode of transport are more likely to get stuck in traffic jams. For this reason, urban mobility encourages combining multiple modes of transport to overcome these barriers. 

To give you an example, you might not need to drive your car all the way from your home to work. Instead, consider driving for the first one or two miles and riding a bicycle or electric scooter the rest of the way. You’ll be able to navigate congested roads faster.  

Data to Facilitate Travel  

Using data to enhance travel is one of the latest urban mobility solutions that can elevate people’s quality of life. How, you might ask?  

The answer is simple – by monitoring the traffic flow of cars, bikes, public transit, and commercial vehicles, governments can gain a better understanding of the movement patterns of those vehicles. This way, they can recognize and prevent potential bottlenecks.  

Car-Pooling, Free-Floating, Self-Catering  

All three have revolutionized urban mobility planning. Here’s how:  

  • Car-pooling – By sharing a ride with others, the number of vehicles goes down, which lessens gridlocks and pollution.  

  • Free-floating – This concept eliminates the need to drop off electric vehicles at specific charge points. Instead, you leave it anywhere within the operator’s boundary for another user to collect, making the idea incredibly flexible and time-saving.  

  • Self-catering – Having the option to cook most (if not all) of your meals yourself decreases food deliveries and further reduces traffic jams.  

Clean, Quiet, and Easily Refillable Means of Transport  

Electric cars check all three boxes. They’re green, quieter than vehicles with internal combustion engines, and require no fossil fuels to refill.  

How Startups Revolutionize Urban Mobility  

Many startups are improving urban mobility with proprietary solutions:  

  • Conversion kits that transform standard bicycles into e-bikes to help people travel more easily 

  • Cell-swapping networks and batteries-as-a-service for e-bikes to accelerate charging and reduce waiting times at charging hubs 

  • Pedaled e-bikes with data tracking to streamline last-mile deliveries 

  • Fleet management apps to monitor private and commercial vehicles and lower fuel costs 

How Can Green Brother Help Startups?  

Other startups can join the battle, even if they don’t know where to start. Hungary’s Green Brother is here to guide them every step of the way.  

Green Brother is a representative of EIT Urban Mobility in Hungary. EIT stands for European Institute of Innovation and Technology, and it plays a pivotal role in shaping the modern urban mobility landscape. Since 2019, the organization has facilitated positive urban mobility upheavals to make large cities more comfortable and healthier.  

But how exactly do Green Brother and EIT help cities deliver their sustainable strategies? Here are some examples:  

  • Timely data – The EIT and Green Brother analyze urban mobility-related information to help cities create efficient and eco-friendly mobility options.  

  • Research and innovation – The organizations prioritize different types of research and innovation in the urban mobility sector. They join forces with startups, well-established enterprises, and academic institutions to form models that help cities enhance living conditions.  

  • Funding – Some cities have the motivation and skills, but they lack the finances to execute their plans. The EIT steps in with funding initiatives.  

Green Brother also emphasizes urban mobility education. To that end, the organization has launched a TICER program to provide the most comprehensive overview of urban mobility challenges and solutions to date. The TICER Pitch Gala will take place in Szombathely on December 4. For more information, visit the Green Brother website.