Future Urban Mobility: mobilising different knowledges in the debate

09 October 2019
Building SQUARE, Brussels Convention Centre
EU Week of Regions and Cities 2019

09 October 2019 | Future Urban Mobility: Mobilising different knowledges in the debate – Participatory workshop within the European Week of Regions and Cities (Theme: A more socially integrated Europe; Code: 09PL600) | The SQUARE – Brussels Convention Centre, Belgium | Organized by the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB).

Quality of life in European cities is largely affected by air and noise pollution and other pressures arising from climate change, which are linked to negative health impacts. International, national and local commitments are forcing European cities to prioritise planning for climate and pollution mitigation, but swift strategies are needed to meet the complexity of socio-environmental challenges. The transport sector is often heralded as a key source of pollutant emissions. COM(2018) 283 proposes mobility futures based on electric, connected and shareable vehicles. In particular, electric vehicles are a central measure in the EU’s low-carbon transport strategy, championed as a way to simultaneously reduce air pollution in cities, cut greenhouse gas emissions, increase security, safety and boost the industrial sector. 

Zooming out from the technical debate, this workshop took a broader view of the narratives underpinning the proposed urban mobility by exploring the imaginaries of sustainable transport futures and the governance of such systems. The event kicked off with two short presentations (primers) in relation to the implementation of international and European climate and air quality goals through sustainable urban mobility strategies and the concerns emerged in the project MAGIC regarding the large-scale implementation of electric vehicles in Europe. Presentations were followed by small group conversations ('world café format). More than 50 persons from among civil society organizations, cities' municipalities and regional authorities actively took part in the discussion, rethinking urban mobility in order to provide safe, affordable, accessible, reliable and sustainable transport to all citizens.

Notwithstanding the heterogeneity of individual views, some insights were shared by most of the discussants. Sustainability in transport will require substantial changes in the transport system and operations. Many technology-driven mobility solutions, such as electric and/or automated cars, can help in solving some of the problems but, as they cannot fix them all and do not come for free (posing technical and ethical issues), alternative low-tech solutions need also be considered (sharing, public transport, etc). In this changing landscape, new forms of governance will have to be implemented where citizens' involvement and participation in policy making are crucial for a knowledge-based society (one of the postulate of PNS: involvement of extended peer community).


Take Away Message: Responsible innovation and good governance of future mobility must address complexity and uncertainties in mobility.  Never as before, creating versatile mobility ecosystems disrupting the monoculture of private car mobility, embracing potential benefits of other forms of personal and shared transportation, has been so relevant. However, any attempt to transform mobility needs to be accompanied from day one, by upstream involvement of citizens not only to probe their concerns and expectations, but also to engage them on co-creating fit-for-purpose mobility futures.


A more detailed workshop description as well as the main outcomes are available on the website of the EU Week of Regions and Cities. Presentations and main outcomes can also be downloaded at the botom of this page.

The workshop outcomes are used in MAGIC's innovation case study 'Electric Vehicles and Batteries'.




Building SQUARE, Brussels Convention Centre

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