European cities leading innovation for urban mobility: key takeaways and conclusions

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Last week, UITP organised an important event in the context of the European Week of Regions and Cities. Under the theme European Cities leading innovation for urban development, eight representatives from different regions in Europe were invited to present their innovation projects, while the 120 participants were invited to share their thoughts during two workshop sessions. Here is a summary of the topics discussed, as well as the key enablers and challenges that were identified by the participants:

Workshop 1 – Madrid, Spain

Representative: Rosalía Gonzalo, Minister of Transport, Housing and Infrastructure of the Regional Government of Madrid, Spain
Topic: With 1,500 million public transport trips, the Madrid public transport system is a reference in the world. It is integrating more than 40 operators, monitoring more than 5,000 vehicles and displaying more than 20,000 CCTV cameras.
Enablers: Clear vision / open data / power to act / integration / cross-sectorial cooperation / public private partnerships / clients’ view
Challenges: mobility vs public transport / funding / short term focus / land use planning / regulation
Key takeaway: Organising Authorities should have a long-term vision and strategy, and set an adaptive regulatory framework to facilitate innovation.


Workshop 2 – Vienna, Austria

Representative: Katharina Rehling, Legal Affairs Officer, Wiener Linien, Austria and Elisa Schenner, Head of EU Affairs, Wiener Stadtwerke, Austria
Topic: In order to improve multi-modality and increase the share of public transport, the public transport operator of the City of Vienna, Wiener Linien, developed a mobile app (Wien Mobil) to ease the planning, booking and paying for various modes of urban transport.
Enablers: recognise the value of data-driven innovation / seamless journey experience / building blocks (multi-layered architecture) / keep track of the progress and evaluate impacts / embed user-centred innovation and expand your crowd / create a more flexible regulatory environment / break the silos / build up your community skills / cooperation / user engagement / funding
Challenges: national and European regulation / diversity of users / multiple players, multiple business interests / break the silos
Key takeaways: A good example of how collected data can be used to create a seamless journey experience.


Workshop 3 – Oslo, Norway

Representative: Frode Hvattum, Chief of Strategy, Ruter, Norway
Topic: Ruter is developing innovative ways to improve their services. Ruter has developed a sustainability strategy which is resting upon eight of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are steering their own innovation agenda, as it might become an effective compass for how they will collaborate with private sector actors.
Enablers: Define a common vision and goals / have a method / keep track of progress and evaluate impacts / share the load / learn & act fast / common language  agreement on KPI / break the silos / political involvement / focus on challenges rather than prescribing solutions / recognise the value  of data-driven innovation / funding / reporting / embed user-centred innovation and expand your crowd / user engagement / share the load / build up your community skills
Challenges: governance / funding / legislation / b reak the silos / create a more flexible regulatory environment
Key takeaways: Put your ambition for sustainable mobility at the highest level. Use Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to define your innovation strategy. Having common goals helps cities to engage with different stakeholders. SDGs can be a starting point to drive innovation and empower cities.


Workshop 4 – Warsaw, Poland

Representative: Maciej Florczak, Senior Transport Specialist, ZTM Warsaw, Poland
Topic: The impact of national legislation on the deployment of electro-mobility for PT operators
Enablers: Cities need strategies on how to cope with innovation / Test & learn approach / Define top down:  what you want, what you do not want / Governance role of authorities in Maas  / Regulation required but should be flexible, and be the same for all operators / Data = key enabler (data sharing between public & private) / Enforcement & control of existing regulation / Transition period / vision needed as input for regulations considering needs from diverse stakeholders
Challenges: politicians and private players dislike uncertainty / openness of authority to share information, data / authorities don’t always have access to data allowing them to make the best decisions / Need clear rules to ensure level playing field between public and private actors / Regulation can go too far / coordination needed between local authorities / missing link between R&D and implementation phase


Workshop 5 – île-de-France, France

Representative: Françoise Guaspare, European Policy Senior Advisor, Ile-de-France Region Permanent Representation to the EU, France
Topic: MI2 is a project dedicated to develop Smart mobility digital solutions and address users' need for reliable information. Situated on the North Sea Mediterranean and Atlantic corridors of the TEN T network, the Action, under development, supports the implementation of digital strategy for multimodal passengers' information ticketing services, and public authorities' management of traffic.
Enablers: funding / regulation  governance under public authority / citizen communication / public-private partnerships / multi-modality / recognise the value of data-driven innovation  information for all, integrated app services, data processing capacity / European replicability / European legislation / collaboration, knowledge sharing
Challenges: less money, more projects / EU funds requirements – eligibility / public procurement / Human resources / national legal framework / financing knowledge at local level / innovation is expensive (pilot projects too!) / lack of start-ups
Key takeaways:
- Project and financing governance should be in the hands of local authorities
- Warning: trend of having more projects but less money

Workshop 6 – Copenhagen, Denmark

Representative: Jos van Vlerken, Project Leader, City of Copenhagen, Denmark
Topic: The City of Copenhagen presented the distinction between procurement of R&D/Pre-Commercial Procurement and Procurement of Innovation. Based on their procurement of Intelligent Transport Systems, they have discussed how a procurement can be structured with a pre-commercial element and afterwards an actual procurement of innovation.
Enablers: embed user-centred innovation and expand your crowd / user engagement / holistic thinking about mobility / build up your community skills / Search for quick wins for users / room for negotiations during the contract / create a more flexible regulatory environment
Challenges: lack of adoption from users  cultural, moral, political behaviour / communication between cities and innovators / funding public sector / bringing the innovations to the cities / lack of willingness to cooperate / private funds going to auto industry / NIMBY / vested interests / disconnect society vs individual needs
Key takeaway: Ensuring the involvement of users in the procurement of innovation is essential. If not, a lack of adoption could be due to technical reasons, but it could also be due to cultural, behavioral, moral or political reasons.

Workshop 7 – Milan, Italia

Representative: Sara Boccia, Public Transport Planner at AMAT
Topic: Agenzia Mobilità Ambiente e Territorio is implementing a participatory approach to develop its Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, in which it emphasises on the involvement of citizens and stakeholders from the outset and throughout the planning process.
Enablers: inform(ed) citizens & community / build a network of community groups /inclusivity / put people at the centre / providing the right consultation tools / clear political objectives from leadership / demonstrate the impact of user engagement
Challenges: lack of understanding of motivations / not daring to ask the right questions / conflicting individual interests / lack of demand for change, new mobility / time required for consultation process /lack of political framework
Key takeaways:
- Encourage: Taking an inclusive approach, beyond catering for diversity, and clear political objective from leadership
- Avoid: Failing to consult on challengers & focus on solutions, and conflict between quantitative/ qualitative input/evidence and the political influence


Workshop 8 – Manchester, England

Representative: Jon Lamonte, Chief Executive Officer, Transport for Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
Topic: The Greater Manchester 2040 Transport Strategy focuses on creating an integrated, sustainable, and well co-ordinated transport system that supports a wide range of different travel needs. A key component of this is enabling people to travel more easily and safely on foot and by bicycle. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) delivers a comprehensive communications programme, in addition to delivering the infrastructure and facilities, to encourage walking and cycling as viable modes of travel.
Enablers: user engagement / engagement of politicians / vision about the quality of life, transport = enabler / quick wins / embed user –centred innovation and expand your crowd / engage with someone popular / break the silos / “educate” people to change the perception
Challenges: conflict between modes of transport (cycling/pedestrian vs road) / complex political environment / find the right interest groups (change of behaviour) / perception that it is not safe to cycle

“It has been an honour for us at Ferrovial, with our extensive experience in the area of mobility, to participate in this workshop. We believe that innovation, paired with changes in customer behavior, will change the way citizens move in cities. To be efficient, the response needs cooperation from all participants in mobility ecosystem. This initiative, during which public organisations and private companies from all Europe shared experiences and ideas, is a great example of this cooperation.”
- Javier Lazaro Gaspar, Director of Digital Hub at Ferrovial


Read more about our workshop during the European Week of Regions and Cities here!

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