During the Virtual ITS European Congress held on 9-10 November, the TM 2.0 ERTICO Innovation Platform hosted the session ‘Mobility out of the Box – Why do we move?’. It is the third year that ‘Mobility out of the Box’ is being held during the ITS European Congress and the discussion raised a lot of interest within the Congress as it did on social media. The session investigated the reasons why people move and, after the inspiring pitches of our nine speakers,  a survey was launched to know more about people’s different points of view. Please find the survey here.

The results of the survey show a general consensus (71.5%) that human beings move because it is a primordial instinct, a need both to survive and for wellbeing, including the emotional nature of moving (95.2%).  In fact, 62.5% of the comments linked the need to move to emotions of freedom, sense of belonging and mental health balance.

If we take a look at the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on mobility, there is still some scepticism (23.8%) about the daily rush hour disappearing in the future thanks to increasing homeworking. The reasons vary but include the small portion of people that will be able to work from home on a regular basis, to the need of productive activities to be carried out during the day (school, delivery services, blue collar jobs).

So, what do we consider as important in mobility? There were 95.2% who agreed/strongly agreed with the statement ‘We want to be able to choose the time we spend traveling and reliably know when we are where’, highlighting how important it is the sense of control we have on the outcome of mobility. This is especially true in relation to an integrated mobility ecosystem for urban spaces that may mean nudging people’s behaviour towards wiser decisions about urban mobility options. According to some comments (14.2%) these integrated, more reliable solutions, though, appear to be less likely to be adopted in more rural areas where mobility services are not well spread enough and a private car is still the preferred choice for many.

Life-style will drive a greater need for green mobility, provided that continuous political and financial support is provided to users so that enough choices from an existing set of affordable green mobility options is guaranteed.

And whilst 50% of the people interviewed agree/strongly agree with the 15-minutes city concept, many issues are raised, linked to the great effort that would be required to reach this goal and the few resources available to cities to materialise it, including a lack of interest amongst the public for such a solution. This discussion – begun with the Virtual ITS European Congress session and continuing with the survey – is a very helpful one for all those working in mobility, as it enables a clear focus on what  the aim is: working towards  better, safer and more efficient mobility. To achieve this outcome, a deep understanding of the human need to move, including its constrictions, contingencies and desires, is paramount to provide the best possible solutions. Knowing the ‘why’ will certainly guide us to the ‘how’.