The highlights of the ECOMM 2013
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Major of Gavle at opening speech
Picture: Rober Stüssi

Dear reader,

In the last days of May, some 300 mobility professionals gathered in Gävle, Sweden, for the 17th edition of the European Conference on Mobility Management (ECOMM). Gävle is an inspiring place for mobility managers, as it is a compact city where all the places are within walking or cycling distance to the city centre. The city also has a strict snow clearing policy, that gives priority to cycle paths (cleared after 4 cm of snow fall) over roads (10 cm). Even the mayor entered the ECOMM stage on a bike.

This year’s conference saw many contributions on the rising sharing economy, the use of information technology and gamification to promote the shift away from the car, evidence of the financial and economic benefits of Mobility Management for society, and tools for cities to assess their sustainable urban mobility policies. All presentations are available online, and in this e-update you will find some highlights from this very inspiring edition of the ECOMM..
Save the date!

Next year, the ECOMM will take place in Florence, Italy, from 7th to 9th of May 2014.

Interested in hosting ECOMM in 2015?

Apply by October 31st, 2013 – online information here.



Sustainable transport as a part of everyday life


This year’s theme focused on how to make sustainable transport a part of everyday life. This is of particular importance to the wider Gävle region, as many of the inhabitants live in rural areas and commute long distances to cities. They need easy access to sustainable transport modes for a smooth, intermodal trip every day. Some of the best solutions for seamless mobility received a Synaptic Award at the ECOMM.

Mobility management consists of “soft measures to influence travel before it starts”, according to ECOMM moderator Christer Ljungberg. And as it’s best to start young, a group of Swedish students from secondary schools was invited to share the results of their survey on sustainable mobility and some of the initiatives they had taken, such as a day of free bus rides for everyone showing their car keys to the bus driver.

This year’s opening session concluded with a “bullet point list” of what mobility managers should do according to the panel. Here it is:

  • Provide evidence of the effect of MM (Mark Major, DG MOVE)
  • Work on the integration of measures and policy fields (Christof Marx, EACI)
  • Develop new solutions in the spirit of the sharing economy (Ronald Haverman, MyWheels)
  • Set a good example, give people role models (Odette Van de Riet, EPOMM)
  • Use story-telling as an effective tool for influencing people (Swedbank)



The sharing economy

Ronald Haverman from MyWheels (NL) in the Netherlands, kicked off the conference with an inspiring overview of the emerging sharing economy , which according to him will change mobility. There are many online services to share our homes, our meals and our equipment with others. Peer-to-peer car sharing initiatives apply the sharing philosophy to car use. As trust is the currency of the new sharing economy, people’s online reputation will become their most important asset in the future (see the TED talk on trust from author Rachel Botsman). While bike sharing is successful in most of the cases (see the presentations by Benoit Beroud from Mobiped and the bike sharing presentation by Ronald Haverman), peer-to-peer car sharing turns out to be a difficult service to launch. MyWheels (NL) takes a different approach, by combining peer-to-peer car-sharing with a MyWheels-owned car sharing vehicle fleet. Their application is also linked with the Toogethr (NL) car-pooling platform, so you can instantly offer to share your MyWheels trip with a car-pooling buddy. Friso Metz from KpVV explained why cities should promote car sharing rather than leaving it up to the market.

Gunnar Granberg presented the SpaceTime application that combines a multi-modal route planner with a carpool-matching system. It helps users plan group travel with other modes as well. Another inspiring example came from Skjutsgruppen, a car-pooling platform that has 30,000 members in Sweden and beyond (see their Facebook page in Swedish and sometimes English). In the spirit of the six degrees of separation theory, they integrate Facebook and Twitter into their platform to show people how the apparent stranger they get into the car with, is in fact a friend of a friend of a friend of theirs. For the introduction of carpooling, critical mass is the essential hurdle to overcome. Tom Murray Willis from Contemporary Transport showed how handing out a financial incentive of £1 per carpooling trip made the Salisbury Car Share scheme twice as effective as the best car-pooling scheme on the market.





Mark Major from DG MOVE already pointed it out during the opening speech: we need to communicate the evidence of the effectiveness of Mobility Management. Colin Black from Contemporary Transport analysed in his presentation the process in the UK that led to the establishment of a massive load of evidence for MM, but that did not result in a wide-scale adoption of MM as a policy priority. In London, however, the Olympic Games held in 2012 led the city to implement a massive mobility management programme, with campaigns, flashy pink information signs, lots of stewards dressed in pink to inform people “in the field”, and so on. See the keynote presentation by Iain Macbeth.

Lots of documentation on evidence is also available from Contemporary Transport’s LinkedIn page.Sarah Martens from Mobiel 21 summarised some of the impressive numbers that MM can produce. Interesting numbers were also produced by the Belgian federal mobility surveys presented by Peter Andries, while Sophie Tyler from The Means demonstrated how sustainable modes can offer a way out of the recession. The most heated #ecomm2013 discussion on Twitter about the impact of mobility management was the one about free public transport, after the success story shared by the municipality of Avesta in Sweden.





Christian Schweizer of the WHO presented the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (the PEP) that brings together key players from these three sectors affected by transport.  He showed how the top 4 causes of premature death in Europe are heavily influenced by traffic, not in the least by excessive noise (see the report Burden of disease from environmental noise). The WHO’s Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) can be used to monetize the health benefits derived from modal shift towards walking or cycling.

In a Nordic country like Sweden, the topic of winter cycling is bound to come up. Several presentations looked into the health benefits of cycling and the loss of these benefits during the “winter break” (see the presentations of Anna Ahlgren from the municipality of Örebro in Sweden and Erik Stigell from Trivector Traffic). The annual Winter Cyclist campaign in the Gävleborg region gives cyclists incentives to keep on cycling in winter time (see the presentation from the municipality of Linköping).



The EPOMM award


Since 2012, EPOMM awards the best international transfer of policy and best practice: the EPOMM Best Policy Transfer Award.

This year’s Award went to the MOBALB project on urban mobility management in Albania. The Flanders region supported the Municipality of Shkodra in Albania on the introduction and development of a mobility management policy. This was done with support of the Institute of Transport in Tirana. Nektar Duma from the municipality of Shkodra in Albania also did a presentation on the long-standing cycling culture in his city, the informal shared space rules that underlie the co-existence of cars and soft modes in the city, and the threats posed by the increased status and use of the car. Both Shkodra and The institute of Transport received a free participation and travel to this ECOMM.

Second place went to the Association Vélocampus in France as exporter, and UTravelActive in the United Kingdom as importer – for the transfer of a sophisticated Student Campus Bicycle Scheme.

Third place went to the public transport company of Funchal on the island Madeira in Portugal Horários do Funchal as exporter and Tallinn municipality in Estonia as importer – for the transfer of an Orienteering Competition on the bus.



Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning


One of the ECOMM sessions was dedicated to sustainable urban mobility planning (SUMP), with presentations by three European projects that developed SUMP audit schemes: QUEST, ADVANCE and Ecomobility SHIFT.

On the day before the ECOMM, the Ecomobility SHIFT project launched their finalised audit scheme and awarded the six cities that tested it with their “medals”: bronze for Oss (NL), Burgas (BG), Turnhout (BE), Dundee (UK) and Miskolc (HU), and gold for Lund (SE).

On the same day, also the 30 partners of the ENDURANCE project gathered in Gävle for their kick-off meeting. EPOMM is the lead partner of this project, which is all about SUMP. You will learn more about the project in the September e-update.



Tack, Sweden!

EU DG-MOVE representative Mark Major looking at the surprising voting result on mandatory MM-rules during his presentation

We can look back to a very fruitful, well-organised and inspiring conference. Next to the topics mentioned in this e-update, the conference featured presentations about IT and gamification (see also last e-update), (e-)shopping, electric mobility, MM for freight, MM during road works, cycling and research methods – see all presentations here.  Conference innovations included the new option of voting during the presentations as well as a twitter contest with prizes for people composing the most or the best tweets about #ecomm2013. It led to interesting online discussions and sharing of the most striking insights from the presentations. EPOMM hopes to continue the discussion with all of you at the next ECOMM in Florence!



Upcoming events

For more events, please visit the EPOMM Calendar.

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