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Designing the future of mobility
- Jan 2019 -

On 4th December 2018, Zinc and the mobility brand, Scoot, partnered to explore the future of urban mobility

We organised an event with a panel discussion followed by a workshop, and in both parts we addressed some key challenges and opportunities arising from this emerging sector. Whenever we see major transformations happening, especially with technology, innovation, and customer experiences at the core, we know this is an area ripe for Zinc's involvement. 

With congested roads, pollution and overcrowded public transport prevalent in most major cities, innovation in mobility has proliferated, and new services are emerging all the time. It seems Barcelona is one of the most advanced cities in this respect.

However, this is a very complex issue because it involves rethinking city infrastructure and requires both public and private sector involvement in a big way, so we wanted to get to the heart of these challenges, bringing together different perspectives. We invited a range of people, both from public and private sectors for the panel discussion and we opened out the workshop to everyone, enabling us to get many users of new mobility services to participate.

Some key themes emerged....

Vehicle sharing services are growing rapidly and regulators are slow to keep up.

Services that use mobile apps to faciliate the use / sharing of various types of vehicles including scooters, e-bikes, mopeds and cars are all on the rise, but they are also causing issues along the way. For example, as regulators struggle to keep up, bike lanes and pavements are becoming inundated with new types of fast electric vehicles such as scooter and electric bikes, potentially causing danger to normal cyclists & pedestrians.

Challenges around parking have become a big problem.

Without the necessary regulation, users have been legally parking vehicles wherever they want - on pavements / sides of roads, causing headaches for pedestrians and normal traffic. Clearly there is a need to design new regulation-friendly solutions that consider all factors, not just the experience of users, but the safety and wellbeing of everyone in the city.

Designing solutions that leverage city data will be crucial.

As we got the workshop participants to come up with their vision of the next mobility apps, it was clear that data was going to play a HUGE role. Indeed, there is a movement in Barcelona to create an open platform of data so that we can provide citizen centric solutions that integrate real time data of city infrastructure. Data should be open and accessible for everyone to use.

Our travel requirements are also changing.

We need to really understand how and why people will travel in cities in the long term future. Current trends indicate that a lot of our current travel needs may change in years to come. E-commerce and delivery services are growing massively, so most of our shopping will be delivered directly to peoples' doors, and this will only grow more. Likewise, the way we work is changing, and increasing amounts of people are not commuting to the same office everyday, but working remotely from their homes, local cafés and co-working spaces. Understanding trends and user needs will be crucial to designing the right solutions in the future.

More pedestrian only zones will be coming.

As governments look to tackle terrible pollution problems, we should expect to see increasing amounts of pedestrian only zones in cities. This could be great for reducing pollution and but will also create challenges for mobility services. Regulators also need to get the balance right, in terms of making our cities cleaner and safer....but without stifling innovation.

These are just a few of the areas we touched on in a morning packed with fascinating points of view from many different players within the city. At Zinc we will be as actively involved in this area as we possibly can be, partnering with both private and public organisations to help them design new solutions that consider the complexities of multiple perspectives.....but not forgetting we are all citizens looking for cleaner, safer and more flexible ways to move around our cities in the future.

Elvie keeps innovating for women