Update: the final paper based on the background paper and workshop outcomes is available: EFP Smart Mobility Workshop – final paper.
The European Foresight Platform (EFP) organized a policy workshop ‘Future of Smart Mobility 2050: a Human-centred Vision’, which took place on the 12th of June in Brussels. In this workshop, foresight and mobility experts and European policy makers discussed the possible impacts of long-term smart mobility futures, and what this means for European policy. Presentations and background note are now available!
Mobility and Transport are fundamental and vital for economies and societies at large. For Europe, efficient and sustainable transportation and mobility are essential for participating in the world economy and sustaining growth and prosperity. Transport and mobility have grown substantially over the past decades, facilitated by relatively low fuel prices, improving infrastructures and a lack of curtailing environmental constraints.
Nevertheless, it is widely acknowledged that transport and mobility can no longer grow on the same path and with the same pace without serious environmental, social and economic consequences. As stated by the European Commission in the Transport 2050 Whitepaper (Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area), European mobility and transportation is facing a number of severe challenges:
- CO2 emissions from transport are still growing- despite more energy-efficient vehicles- with further increasing mobility and transport demand
- Transport is extremely dependent upon fossil fuels, while crude oil will become more scarce and expensive
- Rising levels of congestion with growing mobility and transport demand
- The European transport industries are facing growing competition from other world regions where transport modernization and infrastructure investment
programmes are being developed and transport technologies are innovated.
The European Commission developed a new vision, strategy and a long term agenda including policy measures for addressing these issues. The strategy includes many different policy directions, from developing a single European transport area, to promoting the safety and security of the transport system, to investing in a connected trans-European transport network and coordinating infrastructure pricing and taxation systems at the national and regional level. Also part of this strategy is stimulating innovation, both in terms of technology and mobility and transport services.
A central concept in transport and mobility visions is smart mobility. Mobility and transportation is involving not alone travelling and transport, but also the related decision why and how to move or ship for example to choose alternatives such as virtual presence or electronic posting. Smart mobility, in turn, involves both making transport systems intelligent through the use of ICT and the possibilities that advanced ICT offers in the decision making on why or how to travel or transport. Smart mobility is not an end in itself, but rather a means to answer the challenge of an European transport system that is
resource-efficient, environmentally-friendly, safe and seamless across all transport modes for the benefit of citizens, the economy and society.
Moreover, smart mobility is not isolated from other domains where the use of ICT can contribute to answering societal challenges. Smart mobility is for example inextricably bound up with other “smart” developments, including smart cities (in which building knowledge communication and social infrastructure is central), smart working (ICT enabling changing, flexible working situations) and smart living (ICT saturating the living environment). In the transport sector the term “smart” is bound to a shift from car use and ownership to more service oriented mobility at least in urban areas.
Many of the road maps, action plans and research priorities focus on realizing future technological solutions and service innovations for challenges that are presently recognized (like those described in the EC Transport Whitepaper). However, the addressed solutions often have a strictly technological focus. Visions on smart mobility and transportation would benefit from a thorough discussion on alternative opportunities which are at present not easily recognized. Such a discussion should incorporate a broad
view on the impact of these opportunities on the lives of individuals and the European society at large.
The European Foresight Platform (EFP) organizes this workshop to discuss in more detail a selection of future visions on smart mobility and transportation in a long-term perspective. The focus of this discussion will be on the consequences of these visions on the lives of individuals and the European society in 2050. The overall aim is to translate these
far-horizon visions into more detailed implications and requirements for mobility and transport policy making. In more detail, the aims are:
- to sketch a range of future visions on smart mobility based on the latest insights that resulted from foresight and forward-looking activities in the mobility and transport domain and in society at large;
- to explore new views on potential developments in smart mobility and transport taking a human-centred perspective;
- to discuss credibility, feasibility of these visions and to identify the main drivers and barriers for developing towards these visions;
- and to suggest policy implications and requirements for dealing with the drivers and barriers.
Download background paper incorporating the workshop results:
EFP Smart Mobility Workshop – final paper
A agenda is available:
EFP Workshop Smart Mobility 2012 agenda