As the share of global population living in cities and urban areas grows daily, new megacities are expected to emerge around the world, bringing topics such as urban air quality, decarbonisation of transport, data sharing and Mobility as a Service (MaaS) to the very top of the agenda. In times of change, it warrants to be prepared, and a solid knowledge database has the potential to help cities to become smarter by giving them opportunities to understand and improve the way their citizens live and move. This is where ERTICO City Moonshot steps in: engage, inspire and empower cities by understanding their needs and requirements in relation to mobility and transport, and gather much needed knowledge on sustainability, data sharing and MaaS. How? By interviewing 300 cities worldwide.

Fast forward to 150 interviews later, ERTICO City Moonshot shared its mid-term results during two thematic sessions held at the ITS World Congress 2021: ‘City Moonshot – A tale of 150 cities’ – Monday 11 October 2021 – and ‘City Moonshot II – Once upon a tale’ – Tuesday 12 October 2021. Gathering speakers[1] from ERTICO (Jacob Bangsgaard, Johanna Tzanidaki, Zeljko Jeftic, and Cassandre de Froidmont), other ITS organisations (Lindsay Shelton-Gross, ITS America; Janneke van der Zee, Managing Director ITS Canada/STI Canada, Canada ), cities representatives (Seleta Reynolds; Dr. Tina Wagner; and Orestis Trasanidis) and private companies (Angelo Costa; Nikolaus Stieldorf; and Guilherme Johnston), the two sessions put knowledge sharing, sustainability and collaboration at the heart of the city conversation. The broad array of speakers who intervened clearly demonstrate the relevance of the topic and of the results, which can help connect the dots and create relevant connections between cities, as well as between cities and the private sector. A real example of this is the case of Arriva that, through collaboration with local authorities, is supporting cities to use mobility as a lever for city development (as in Trieste, Italy).

Kicked off on Monday 11 October by Jacob Bangsgaard, ERTICO CEO, this once in a lifetime ‘City Moonshot Marathon’ showcased the most pressing mobility needs of cities worldwide: from improving public transport to decarbonisation, and from better air quality to inclusiveness; urban areas all around the world want to increase their liveability through better mobility.

Of course, as analysed by ERTICO’s Deputy Director for Innovation and Deployment Zeljko Jeftic, who presented the preliminary results from the initiative, the City Moonshot initiative helped understand underlying common challenges (e.g. traffic congestion, lack of budget and resistance to change) and patterns in concrete actions already adopted by cities (new bike lanes, e-charging infrastructures, etc.). Moreover, special attention was paid to analysing willingness to share data with and receive data from other stakeholders and to collaborate. Those two aspects, knowledge sharing and cooperation, together with the broader knowledge database created by ERTICO City Moonshot, are going to play a major role in re-defining our mobility, streamlining processes and synergy creation. For example, which city wouldn’t like to team-up with Los Angeles, the host of the 2022 ITS World Congress, which advocates for ‘universal basic mobility’ as a way to enable freedom, economic opportunity and equality? Or, how many cities are currently highlighting road user safety as one of their top priorities and would like to know more on what other public authorities are doing on this front? Finally, who wouldn’t want to learn from the best practices applied in the city of Hamburg?

Thanks to its ability to link the dots, create a knowledge database and connect stakeholders, ERTICO City Moonshot really shoots for the moon and brings back real-life value. As Nikolaus Stieldorf, SWARCO, pointed out, data collected involving the target audience and oriented not only on problem statements and trends, but also on understanding how solutions can then be consumed are key to success and to provide true value. And recognising significant patterns and needs is a very important first step towards the future.

But, what are the next steps? First and foremost, continue with our mission: interview a further 150 cities worldwide and gather extra data and insights. ERTICO is always ready to collaborate with its partners and other stakeholders on a detailed plan on how to make the best use of the information collected. Last but not least, keep sharing knowledge and best practices. In this realm, ERTICO and Arriva are already acting with the official launch of a new video on decarbonisation.

ERTICO City Moonshot: A short history

Back in 2019, in a pre-pandemic world, ERTICO experts and partners knew that radical changes in transport and mobility were going to happen, mainly driven by climate change, bad air quality levels in European cities but also by digitalisation and the arrival of new mobility services. However, soon a question emerged: how can we, as ERTICO Partnership, positively contribute to this change and do our part? The answer was clear: transforming this perception into solid knowledge and data that could help and support cities, public authorities, private companies and all interested stakeholders during this ‘mobility transformation’.

The ‘what’ came shortly after: with cities and urban areas being most affected by these changes, the Partnership could use its expertise to collect data and understand urban mobility trends, needs and plans, focusing mainly on three topics: sustainability (air quality and climate change), data sharing (between cities authorities and industries), and Mobility as a Service/Mobility on Demand.

Finally, the ‘how’: interviewing 300 cities worldwide (200 cities in Europe; 25 in China & South-East Asia; 25 in North & 25 in South America; 25 in Africa & the rest of Asia and Oceania) and analysing the results obtained. What we just created was ERTICO City Moonshot, which was officially kicked off in 2020. So far 150 cities worldwide have been interviewed, the mid-term results have come in and soon a comprehensive report will be shared. Stay tuned!

For more information, contact Elisa Todesco

[1] The speakers for the session ‘City Moonshot – A tale of 150 cities’ were: Jacob Bangsgaard, ERTICO CEO; Zeljko Jeftic, Deputy Director ERTICO; Lindsay Shelton-Gross, VP of Membership and Marketing, ITS America, USA; Seleta Reynolds, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, USA; Angelo Costa, Managing Director, Arriva Italy; and Nikolaus Stieldorf, Global BDM – Software Platforms, SWARCO.

The speakers for the session ‘City Moonshot II – Once upon a tale’  were: Johanna Tzanidaki, Innovation and Deployment Director, ERTICO; Cassandre de Froidmont, Support Manager, ERTICO; Janneke van der Zee, Managing Director ITS Canada/STI Canada, Canada; Dr. Tina Wagner, Head of Division Transport Development Ministry of Economy, Transport and Innovation Hamburg; Orestis Trasanidis, Innovation and Sustainability consultant for the Region of Central Macedonia; and Guilherme Johnston, Head of Global Partnerships, Connected Places Catapult, UK.