With the complexification of global challenges, such as the fight against climate change, cities leaders are increasingly rising as protagonists, alongside heads of states and other stakeholders, to provide their citizens with adapted solutions to meet their specific needs.
Created in 2003, the European Week of Regions and Cities in an annual event created by the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions that aims at giving cities and regions an opportunity to share their good practices in many different fields, including mobility. In the context of this year’s event, UITP has organised a double session entitled 'European cities leading innovation for urban mobility' which was held on 11 October in Brussels, Belgium.
More than 120 urban development and mobility actors attended this event, with the objective to discuss how transport innovation can address the urban challenges that European cities are facing. The first session began with speeches from Mohamed Mezghani, UITP’s Secretary General and Nicolas Blain, Chair of the UITP European Division and Head of International Relations and European Affairs Unit, RATP Group. The opening speeches were followed by the keynote speaker, François-Joseph Van Audenhove, Partner, Arthur D. Little, who talked about bringing innovative solutions in a changing urban mobility landscape in Europe.
Peter Berkowitz, Head of Unit, Smart and Sustainable Growth, DG REGIO, European Commission followed by presenting Directorate-General REGIO’s vision for the future urban mobility, while Karine Sbirrazzuoli, Senior Project Manager at UITP, closed the first session by presenting the findings of the Urban Mobility innovation index (UMii).
For the second session, participants were invited to share their ideas and expertise on innovation in eight different workshops, which were led by high level experts, who presented the success and challenges of their innovation projects:
- Workshop 1: Rosalía Gonzalo, Minister of Transport, Housing and Infrastructure of the Regional Government of Madrid
How can Organising Authorities support mobility innovation to boost competitiveness and growth?
- Workshop 2: Katharina Rehling, Legal Affairs Officer at Wiener Linien, & Elisa Schenner, Head of EU Affairs, Wiener Stadtwerke
How can collected data inform and enable mobility-enhancing innovation?
- Workshop 3: Frode Hvattum, Chief of Strategy, Ruter
How to leverage the SDGs to drive innovation?
- Workshop 4: Maciej Florczak, Senior Transport Specialist, ZTM Warsaw
How can regulation support innovation in the context of fast-paced and disruptive new technologies?
- Workshop 5: Françoise Guaspare, European Policy Senior Advisor, Ile-de-France Representation to the EU
How to invest in innovation for urban mobility (EU Funds, PPPs)?
- Workshop 6: Jos Van Vlerken, Project Leader, City of Copenhagen
How can innovation procurement serve urban mobility?
- Workshop 7: Sara Boccia - public transport planner at AMAT
How to engage users in the design of urban mobility strategy and the development of new mobility services?
- Workshop 8: Jon Lamonte, Chief Executive Officer, Transport for Greater Manchester
How can a city encourage citizens to choose healthy and responsible travel habits?
During these workshops, participants were asked to discuss the key enablers and barriers of innovation, using the innovation wheel developed by the experts that led the UMii Project.
After an hour and a half of insightful discussions in workshops, participants had the opportunity to listen to the key takeaways as gathered by Per Als, Senior Transport Specialist, European Investment Bank. In his short speech, Mr Als, reiterated that Innovation takes leadership, time and adaptability, which can be facilitated by engaging the different stakeholders.
Ulrich Weber, Chair of the UITP European Union Committee and Head of Funding and EU Affairs Unit, Stuttgarter Straßenbahnen AG, closed this inspiring day by thanking Ferrovial, the Mobility Champion Community and the European Commission for their support.
Innovation in the mobility sector has always been a key driver driving European cities and regions forward, and while the European Week of Regions and Cities came to a close, the discussion on the importance of acting at the local level to provide people with efficient and adapted mobility services remains at the top of the agenda for all the stakeholders.