The technological advances in electro-mobility are an opportunity for efficiently combining modes in urban areas, as cities that deal with growing mobility demand are seeking intermodal solutions to reduce congestion and improve air quality. Investments in intermodal and combined e-mobility offers the chance for cities to improve their energy management by connecting different modes and reusing recovered energy. Such measures can reduce the overall energy costs for the mobility system, and a coherent urban mobility policy is needed to support such investments.
But how can we efficiently connect the different modes of electro-mobility and what policies are needed at city level to support interoperability as part of a wider strategy to support sustainable modes of transport? Challenges and solutions were discussed at a workshop on 28th January in Brussels that gathered the CIVITAS CAPITAL Advisory Group on combined mobility together with members of the Platform for Electro-Mobility. Presentations from Transport for London and Metro de Madrid gave valuable insights into the discussion.
Like so many other European cities, London is taking measures to improve the quality of life of its citizens by reducing local pollutants and noise emissions from transport. With substantial investments in Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) and the establishment of an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), these measures complement the already existing congestion charge scheme in place since 2003. Transport for London’s strategy further supports the use of electric vehicles, in particular electric buses, with a feasibility study carried out as part of the ELIPTIC project on charging the buses using TfL’s own energy assets. Transport for London is also taking strategic actions to cooperate with car clubs (car sharing) to strengthen combined mobility solutions across its urban area. The British capital demonstrates that a combination of different measures is needed as part of a wider strategy to promote the implementation and deployment of electro-mobility solutions.
In Madrid, intermodal electrification is demonstrated by an unusual cooperation agreement between the metro operator and a private car dealer. The Train2Car project coordinated by Metro de Madrid, demonstrates the use of existing excess of energy in the catenary, coming from the regenerative braking of the metro trains, to feed a fast charging point for electric vehicles. In the near future, this demonstration project could be replicated in cities across Spain.
Various barriers were identified at the Workshop in the implementation of intermodal and combined e-mobility solutions. These can be of economic, technical, or regulatory nature. Fragmentation of local responsibilities in parking policy and charging infrastructure with complex ownership of land makes cooperation necessary at different levels. Legal barriers have to be overcome to facilitate the selling of electricity by transport providers to the grid. Moreover, the considerable costs related to the installation charging infrastructure should not be underestimated, and interoperability between different modes needs to be ensured.
To support the European Commission and local governments in the implementation of combined e-mobility solutions, several recommendations were drawn from the discussions. A precondition for a sustainable transport policy in cities is an integrated urban policy and planning approach that builds on a wider strategy combining energy, transport and health policies and that accounts for intermodal electro-mobility in planning procedures. A coordinated approach to electro-mobility needs to include different stakeholders in transport and energy on different levels. Such an approach enables the cities for instance to reach agreements over land use and to strategically place charging infrastructure through networks of activity hubs to link the different modes. The EU should continue its public awareness-raising activities in the area of sustainable urban mobility, with a particular focus on intermodality, combined mobility and the potential of electric vehicles for the transport of both passengers and goods, and co-finance projects in these area through its various instruments. Participants concluded that intermodal electro-mobility can be an important part of a wider strategy that supports objectives in noise reduction, improvements in air quality, and overall a more efficient mobility system.