The Urban Mobility Innovation Index (UMii) Final Report was released on 9 November 2017. Sponsored by the Roads & Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) and implemented by UITP in partnership with Future Cities Catapult, UMii seeks to empower city leaders to implement urban mobility policies and measures that are relevant to their ecosystem and enable innovation, whilst promoting knowledge sharing and dialogue.
Distinguishing itself from other surveys by focusing on good practices sharing instead of pure competition ranking, the UMii Report illustrates the performance of the 30 cities according to the maturity level of their innovation ecosystem. The index has been based on the testing of nine innovation levers divided in three categories: readiness, deployment and livability. A contextual dimension was taken into consideration for each city when evaluating the performances in the different domains.
Since the release of the report, we have published a series of six different news articles to present some significant aspects of the 30 UMii cities. The web series exposed key characteristics that help shaped the mobility network and the particularities of these specific urban environments, by focusing each article on a different region: the Middle East and North Africa, Asia-Pacific (with India & Australia), North and Latin America, Europe, Africa and Turkey.
Keys to improving innovation
After a thorough reading of the UMii Final Report, one can only notice how local specificities have a major impact on the level of maturity of an ecosystem. The UMii project team has succeeded in comparing significantly different cities by focusing on best practices from each participant, and then by defining the contours of eight pillars on which rest the conclusions.
These pillars, or key enablers, aim to guide city leaders in improving innovation in their urban mobility arena. Before presenting these, it is worth noting some elements that were outlined from the report.
The first finding is that most cities analysed have established a strategy for urban mobility and while not all of them have set concrete actions to achieve it, it still acts as a statement of ambition and guiding principles to face local challenges. It also sets the basis for a common dialogue between stakeholders.
This collaboration is one of the main elements that stands out when exploring the different ecosystems, as most of these are collaborating one way or another with third parties or directly with users. This engagement is usually linked to data collection or sharing depending on the level of openness of the authorities and the regulation adopted.
The UMii Report also highlights the importance of investing in infrastructure, but also in attracting the best talents, as well as in new integrated systems to assure that the network is modern and as seamless as possible.
Practices as guidelines
As mentioned previously, the UMii project team has featured eight best practices, which are key in assuring a dynamic innovation ecosystem:
1. Share the load – Creating an ecosystem composed of both traditional and non-traditional stakeholders to share the innovation process.
2. Break the silos – Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach to develop combined strategies towards more liveable cities.
3. Embed user-centred innovation and expand your crowd – A particular focus should be put on users’ needs and preferences.
4. Focus on challenges rather than prescribing solutions – Enabling community leaders to create open innovation environment where third parties can develop and propose innovation.
5. Recognise the value of data-driven innovation – Data can bring incredible value to help develop and implement new mobility solutions, cities should recognise that value and use it.
6. Build up your community skills – Networks are key in helping develop new capabilities, it helps when out of options.
7. Create a more flexible regulatory environment – Regulations are often seen as slowing innovations and restraining creators. Cities should develop a proportionate and well measured regulatory environment for innovators to thrive.
8. Keep track of the progress and evaluate impacts – Monitoring the achievements of targets allow a more accurate assessment of how mobility influences wider factors; it is thus important to set concrete targets and follow-up.
Many more recommendations can be drawn from the UMii Final Report, depending on contexts and levels of maturity of cities, and it is fair to say that this first edition offers some important insights which make it a must-read for any city official… or urban mobility aficionados. We sincerely thank all the UMii project team for their excellent work in presenting a report of the highest quality.
Watch the video below produced by Future Cities Catapult to learn more about the UMii project!