How can technology transform sustainable urban mobility?

Technology is more and more confirming as an important enabler to drive clean and safe urban mobility and accelerate the journey to net-zero.

Modern cities face a multitude of challenges when it comes to mobility. Air pollution, noise, traffic and congestion all have an impact on health of the planet and its inhabitants. And all the more, we expect 70% of the world population to live in urban areas by 2050 (vs 55% today), according to UN. Technology is more and more confirming as an important enabler to help cities and governments transform the mobility ecosystem and accelerate the journey to net-zero. Here are a few takeaways from discussions at Hello Tomorrow, the global summit on deep tech, where experts discussed the challenges and opportunities of technology to drive cleaner and greener urban mobility.

Technology as an enabler

Digitalisation is an important enabler in the transformation of our urban infrastructure, simplifying access to mobility and changing the way users engage with it. For example, with the digital services provided by new models like Mobility as a Service (MaaS), users can plan, book and pay for all of their mobility needs in one go. MaaS platforms are also encouraging commuters to take a multimodal approach to travelling, offering the best solutions to reduce environmental impact. For example, up to 30% of the journeys will be booked on an urban mobility platform by 2035 in metropoles until 2035 (BCG study – January 2020).

Technology is also having a strong impact on how mobility solutions operate. Electrification, is reducing Co2 emissions, and when linked to data, can also help to measure and track impact, which enables the reduction of energy waste and identify which actions are truly working.

Data and collective intelligence

Technology is also facilitating the gathering of collective intelligence. For example, with a collaborative app like the Arval Mobility app, or collaborative driving app like Waze, users can interact with others to warn of congestions, construction works or other issues en route. With its real time ability to improve traffic flow and offer alternative solutions, apps like this have the potential to be a game changer when scaled up to a whole city.  

For vehicles on demand, such as rentable bikes or cars, end users can use an app to find a vehicle and a drop-off spot after use. This data can then be harnessed to identify user trends and adapt local services accordingly.

Yann Hervouet

To improve services, it is key to share data linked to mobility and to do it with all players in order to avoid monopoly. As it is very sensitive and personal information, underlying technologies and regulations must be able to protect data and individuals.

Yann Hervouet, CEO, Instant System

The role of partnerships

Each player in the mobility sector has different challenges, be it in terms of scale or scope, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Movin’On’s ecosystem approach of co-innovation facilitates collaboration between the public and private sectors, pooling relevant expertise and experience to co-build innovative solutions for a cleaner mobility. Working together can also mean working faster, for example working on prototypes and proof-of-concept (POC) while also looking at changes in the regulatory landscape that will accelerate sustainable mobility.

Eneric Lopez

Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more and we are committed to put technology to help build a sustainable future. We are engaged in the sustainable mobility ecosystem to bring our expertise, and act as an innovation catalyst, to build and scale new solutions through Data & AI.

Eneric Lopez, AI Director, Microsoft France

Taking this approach, city authorities can actively drive the future of mobility by collaborating with start-ups or companies to solve challenges using technology; this will be critical in the journey net-zero.

A sustainable mobility for all

When talking about sustainable mobility, it is also vital to consider the social impact of these major changes in infrastructure and new ways of accessing mobility. Building a sustainable offering that relies on technology could create a fracture between those who have access to it and those who don’t. To be truly sustainable and inclusive, mobility must be cleaner, safer and accessible to all.

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