- Urbanisation raises the demand for mobility and calls for new solutions
- Overall system takes into account intermodal mobility and adapts route guidance dynamically
Less traffic and less noise paired with an increasing level of mobility – visions for the city of the year 2036 such as Vision URBANETIC promise, in their totality, greater quality of life for all. Traffic functions according to a new fundamental order. The transportation of people and goods has, in large part, left today’s traffic network. Mobility is no longer defined by the question of how best to get from A to B with a predefined means of transport. Future mobility concepts such as Vision URBANETIC will fundamentally change the perspective and place the focus on how to cover a route with a preferred combination of different modes of transport as comfortably, inexpensively and quickly as possible.
A total-system solution encompasses the services provided by local public transport such as buses and underground trains, sharing services ranging from minibuses to bicycles and walking, too. The holistic system calculates route guidance but also offers the option to book and pay for all the necessary constituent parts of the journey under one roof. These electronic mobility guides for urban environments serve as interfaces between the various transportation providers. They enable travellers not only to access timetables and book tickets in real time but also to plan their onward journey by taxi, long-distance bus, car-share or Vision URBANETIC. It removes the strict division between different modes of transport.
Dynamic route planning saves time
The evaluation of traffic data in real time promises more efficient mobility. Based on the current traffic situation, information systems calculate not only the fastest connection but also consider all modes of transport. The dynamic system delivers the greatest possible flexibility and continually adapts the traveller’s journey plan. The original combination of underground and rental bike can perhaps change to a walk followed by a ride in the Vision URBANETIC. Rapid development in growing cities makes stronger interlinking of individual mobility providers an essential prerequisite for future mobility, as cities are not just growing upwards but outwards, too. However, new city districts or satellite towns need an effective way of connecting to the centre. This can only be guaranteed through holistic interlinking of all available means of transport and the actual need for logistics and the movement of people.
A mobility concept like Vision URBANETIC can be applied to a diverse range of cities. Nevertheless, a successful transfer also includes adaptation based on the individual circumstances of the specific city.
One in two Copenhageners travels by bicycle
Alongside increased efficiency and the linking of urban traffic concepts, it is also a matter of using other means of transport that have previously played a somewhat secondary role but could, in specific situations, lead to significant traffic improvements. One of these options is apparent in the example set by Copenhagen. The city wants to be climate neutral by 2025 and, since 2006, has invested more than 13.5 million euros per year in developing its bicycle infrastructure. The network of cycle paths now adds up to 1000 kilometres, 200 of which are express routes through green areas. Almost one in two Copenhageners either studying or working in the city use a bicycle for at least part of their journey. For those living in the city centre, that figure is 60 percent. For some years, Paris has been giving preferential treatment to bus lanes, pedestrianised areas and cycleways. Correspondingly, car ownership has become less attractive – one in three Parisians have disposed of their car since 2001.
Example cases in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Medellín, Columbia, demonstrate how significantly cable cars are able to improve opportunities for social participation. The lines connect favelas with the city centre, providing their inhabitants with job opportunities and more promising futures in the previously hard-to-reach city.
The draw of the city – hope of economic participation
The pressure for change in future traffic planning could hardly be greater. A growing population and the sustained trend of urbanisation will increase demand for comfortable and affordable mobility. Professional development, cultural diversity and the feeling of being part of a pulsating region – many western cities like New York or London inspire this kind of motivation. Other megacities like Manilla, Sao Paulo and Mumbai are growing because the hope of social participation is driving the rural population into the cities. Regardless of the motive for urbanisation, it is clear that megacities are already groaning under the strain of population growth combined with an increasing desire for flexible mobility. This is pushing the traffic infrastructure to the brink of its capacity and beyond. Lengthy planning and construction lead times mean the expansion of the traffic network can’t keep pace with population growth.
Lotteries and auctions determine new registrations
Some megacities are reacting to the threat of traffic collapse with drastic measures. Beijing is one example: It may be eight lanes wide, but traffic still crawls at a snail’s pace through the Chinese capital. That’s why new vehicle registrations are now being issued on the basis of a monthly lottery. In Shanghai, new registrations are decided by auction. These examples show that future concepts must rethink mobility. Embedding a variety of different modes of transport is a central factor in the effective use of resources and opportunities of the shared economy.
The desire for mobility and the creation of cities worth living in must not be contradictions. Efficient mobility based on sharing concepts with autonomous vehicles and intermodal mobility will also change the face of cities. The volume of traffic will fall, previously busy roads and car parks can be relieved or even reclaimed, freeing up space for city planning. This means new neighbourhoods, parks, cafés – everything that makes life in the city worth living.