Everything is in motion. Mobility is one of the most typical aspects of today’s globalised and urbanised world. Nowadays, majority of the world population lives in urban areas and this trend is certainly going to increase in the next decades. As to the traffic, densely populated urban areas have become extremely tight. Many cities – not only huge conurbations, but also average size cities- suffer from traffic jams or lack of parking sites on a daily basis. Transport significantly increases emissions and noise, which consequently deteriorates the quality of life of citizens. Considering economic and environmental aspects, building wider roads or another parking lots might not be enough.
Evidently, we are on the threshold of a new era that will bring huge challenges. If we do not face them as soon as possible, and we do not start to propose solutions with clear and long-term vision, the problems in cities will be growing. Therefore many specialists, innovators and policy makers are trying to push forward sustainable solutions to meet the future requirements. They make effort to rebuild our roads, change our traditional ways and our thinking, so that with the help of these solutions we can manage the present difficulties and the forthcoming changes, as well. At the same time, it is necessary to keep a holistic approach and perceive the ecosystem of mobility with inclusion and cooperation of state/public, private and academic sector, as well as civil society.
Mobility- how to understand it
The notion of mobility is perceived differently in various scientific disciplines. In our context, we approach it mainly from the aspect of technical and transportation sectors, but also economic and sociological, which suggests the complexity of this phenomenon. It can mean accessibility, freedom of movement, availability of services, amenities, health and social care, possibility to commute, travel for work, education, family, recreation, etc.... the point is not only to get us from one place to another but to get the goods and services to us and to make it possible for our city to perform its functions effectively, whether it is public lighting or waste collection.
Mobility connects products with their customers, people with their aims. Lack of mobility may result in excluded communities. Thus, it is the basic requirement of flourishing economy and international trade. Mobily means interconnection.
The concept of mobility creates challenges on different levels, from local through regional and national up to international. They involve passenger as well as freight transport. Nowadays, we come across many trends, so called megatrends, such as autonomous and connected vehicles, mobility as a form of service (MaaS), shared mobility (car sharing, bike sharing, ride sharing), electromobility and alternative power drive, intelligent infrastructures, or intelligent traffic systems. They bring a new view, new rules causing disruption in transportation. However, at the same time, they bring solutions how to face challenges. Together they represent crucial themes in the area of smart mobility.
What is smart mobility like?
Smart mobility is a term of wide comprehension. It does not mean only the most effective, the simplest, the most comfortable, the fastest, the safest, the most economical and the most ecological transport of people or goods from point A to point B. It is more than that; the word „smart“ – „intelligent“ in this term does not mean only the use of the most up-to-date technologies. It also represents innovative thinking in problem solving, new approaches, continuity in suitable urban planning, etc. Surely, the technologies are not less important, because to accept the right measures and to reach desirable effects, it is inevitable to have detailed data on the places and times people and goods move, where and why there are critical places, how to programme tuned traffic lights to increase the traffic flow of crossroads, or where to add new public transport lines and how to synchronise particular modes properly.