ERTICO’s City Moonshot initiative recently reached a great milestone and crossed the 200th interview mark. The entire team has participated enthusiastically to deliver this remarkable result. Today we turn our attention to our colleague Lidia Buenavida Peña, who, along with Vladimir Vorotovic, Innovation and Deployment Director at ERTICO, has been leading the team in its endeavour, as she discusses ERTICO’s plans to continue inspiring, engaging and empowering cities and regions.
ERTICO’s driving force of ‘Connecting the Dots’ means we strive to bring together all the different actors involved in the mobility and transport sector to drive innovation and, ultimately, enhance the citizens lives. The public sector is a strategic piece in this puzzle. ‘Innovation should address real-world problems. Often in the sector, we become so fixated on developing and researching innovative solutions that we lose sight of the original need. It is important to go back to the cities to understand what those needs are’, says Lidia Buenavida Peña, Innovation and Deployment Manager at ERTICO.
City Moonshot focuses on cities, recognizing that they are the primary centres of work and residence for a significant portion of Europe’s citizens. This figure has grown exponentially over the last century, from 64% of the total population in 1960 to 75% in 2020. The combination of a growing population and a significant rise in the number of public and private transport means has entailed several challenges for cities to manage growing mobility expectations and demands.
A high volume of private vehicles, congestion, lack of parking spots, and the increasing presence of automated vehicles define cities’ current landscape. In a context of rapid changes, understanding citizens’ priorities, the available resources of the public administration or the main trends in urban mobility enables tailoring suitable solutions.
Insights from 200 Interviews: A Comprehensive Global Snapshot
City Moonshot is inviting cities and regions worldwide to share their views on the latest urban mobility trends and challenges through an extensive survey, with a target of 300 interviewees. A report based on the interviews provides an in-depth understanding of behaviour and main concerns in different areas based on the data collected.
So far, the team has achieved a significant milestone by conducting 200 interviews. The results from the first 150 were part of Phase I, which presented insights into sustainability, data sharing, and Mobility as a Service (MaaS). The first report was published in March 2022. ‘It may seem that the additional 50 interviews are not a big number, but it is not easy to get representatives from cities and regions to give us their time out of their busy schedules’, Ms Buenavida Peña points out. ‘Within these new 50 interviews, we have reviewed the experiences of some representatives, which means we have convinced several interested cities to give us their time again for this new phase, reaffirming their interest in the initiative’.
Phase II focuses on two emerging topics for urban transportation: e-mobility and Urban Air Mobility. Although there is still a lot of data to gather, Ms Buenavida Peña gives us a sneak peek into the insights gleaned from the first 50 interviews of this phase. ‘When it comes to Urban Air Mobility, we observe a growing trend among big cities towards delivered-by-drone services. However, in smaller cities, drone services are more focused on emergency issues. About e-mobility, there is a growing interest in electric mobility and hydrogen as alternative fuels for transportation. This interest translates into concrete actions, like the increasing number of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
One of the main challenges is legislation. ‘One thing we already anticipated was the variety of governance. Sometimes it is regulated by the city, others by the regional or national government’. The global geographical scope of City Moonshot will provide a better understanding of the legislative framework in different world regions.
Next stop on the road: City Summit at ITS Congress
ERTICO’s commitment to engaging cities and regions extends far beyond. Building on the success of City Moonshot, we are thrilled to announce our new initiative launching at the upcoming ITS European Congress in Lisbon. The Smart Mobility Summit of Cities & Regions is set to take place on the opening day and aims to put cities at the forefront of the discussion. Our goal is to facilitate an open exchange of ideas and best practices through various thematic roundtables, including a special presentation by the European Commission.
In this way, says Ms Buenavida Peña, ‘ERTICO bridges the gap between the needs of cities and the solutions that are developed through the European projects and innovation platforms we work on’, or, as we like to say, ERTICO ‘connects the dots’.