A revolution in urban mobility? It's on the way – and just in time

21.03.2018
By Marketplace Editorial
EIP-SCC news

A revolution in urban mobility? It's on the way – and just in time

If there's a pain point shared by most everyone who lives, works or travels to a populous European city today, it's the challenge of urban mobility.

Top of mind for public officials, for business and industry and certainly for citizens, road congestion can negatively impact public health, the environment, job creation and economic vitality. As population increases, we can expect congestion ‒ and the pain ‒ will as well.

All of which explains why the EIP-SCC Sustainable Urban Mobility Action Cluster (SUM-AC) worked so aggressively in 2017 to promote innovative industry solutions with the potential to truly revolutionise the sector.  We made headway ‒ and continue to foster industry and government collaboration toward new mobility models as 2018 marches on.

For a better understanding of the exciting initiatives SUM-AC is driving, here's a quick recap of 2017 progress.

Three successful new initiatives
There won't be a single solution to the mobility challenges European cities face today, which is why SUM-AC is actively working with industry to surface and pilot the most promising options, including these three that launched last summer:

  • Alternative Fuels for Special Vehicles ‒ With so many alternative fuels available today ‒ lithium ion, hydrogen fuel cell, hybrid and clean diesel among them ‒ cities need to be confident that their implementation of alternative powered special vehicles takes into account current and predicted technologies to ensure their sustainability and emissions targets are met. This initiative brings experts together to develop guidelines for cities, including infrastructure requirements to support the strategies selected.  The programme, which Aebi Schmidt AG is leading, will also establish funding opportunities and outline financial solutions for the acquisition of assets and services involved.
  • Urban Air Mobility ‒ By adding the third dimension into urban transportation networks and focusing on the part of a city that remains congestion-free ‒ the sky ‒ the vision here is self-piloted flying vehicles that can support faster, more sustainable commuting while interfacing with other public transportation. Using a multi-stakeholder approach, this SUM-AC initiative is led by Airbus and brings together city leaders, citizens, manufacturers, operators, the business community, etc. to work on accelerating Urban Air Mobility market uptake, increasing public acceptance and sharing innovative ideas. The objective of this initiative is to bring together the relevant communities to jointly work on accelerating UAM marketplace uptake, increasing public acceptance, and sharing innovative ideas.
  • Intelligent Mobility for Energy Transition ‒ The purpose of this Nissan-led initiative is to contribute to the deployment of intelligent mobility in Europe by implementing large-scale pilots demonstrating how mobility solutions can help improve the efficiency of urban energy systems.  Open innovation and big pilots are the two pillars of this initiative which will concentrate on three innovation areas: 
  1. Intelligent power towards zero emissions spurred by electric vehicles
  2. Intelligent integration towards vertical integration of urban infrastructures through the development of new mobility and energy services
  3. Intelligent driving towards zero fatalities and connected cars, triggered by autonomous drive technology

An action-packed agenda
Other SUM-AC news from 2017 included revamping the New Mobility Services (NMS) initiative, which aims to bring together cities and the private sector in the development of collective systems for seamless multi-modal mobility (door-to-door). Team members want to focus on deployment opportunities, including identifying barriers and how to overcome them. NMS is led by Province of Noord-Brabant/ Brabanstad.

Meanwhile, the European Local ENergy Assistance (ELENA) programme, a joint initiative by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission, awarded funding to the HELLO project, which was set up by a consortium formed through the Electric Vehicles for Smart Cities and Communities (EV4SCC) initiative. 

Also noteworthy was the number of hours EIP-SUM-AC spent on raising awareness of trends and progress in urban mobility during Action Cluster (AC) meetings, webinars and conferences last year. Among them:

  • March - Knowledge Innovation Community event
  • May - webinar with 256 registered participants
  • June - AC meeting with 20 registered participants
  • September - webinar with 205 participants
  • September - Civitas Forum
  • October-  AC meeting with 36 registered participants
  • December - Polis Annual Conference with 24 participants

As action-packed as 2017 was, the SUM-AC expects momentum to accelerate in the months to come as we focus on pilots and real-world deployments. Follow our progress at the EIP-SCC General Assembly, 27 June 2018, Sofia, Bulgaria and on the EIP-SCC Sustainable Urban Mobility Action Cluster (SUM-AC) webpage.