This year we celebrated the 20th edition of the ECOMM conference in lovely Athens. In this e-update you will find some highlights from the keynote speeches. All presentations are now available under epomm.eu/ecomm2016.
Next year, the ECOMM will take place in Maastricht, the Netherlands. We hope to welcome you all there.
Interested in hosting ECOMM in 2018?
Apply by 31 October 2016.
Smart mobility solutions for people and cities
Click to see Athens Bikes website
The conference motto was “Think Green, Travel Smart”, but also “Think Smart, Travel Green”. The ECOMM presented and discussed over 100 smart public and private initiatives and innovations that satisfy people’s needs and encourage green travel choices.
The hosting city Athens still has many steps to take in this direction. Car-dependency is very high in Athens and the city took a serious blow from the economic crisis. On the conference, mobility management presented itself as a very cost-effective way to reduce the detrimental effects of the central position of the car in the city’s mobility system and culture. The city presented some first steps: e.g. a bike share system with a pilot scheme called Athens Bikes; and a just opened first continuous cycle path between the city centre and the coastal area.
While experience in mobility management is still low in Athens and Greece as a whole, the city of Athens is quite involved in developing technological solutions to make urban transport greener, such as an e-ticket system and an ITS system. The city was also selected to participate in IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge.
“Even people who do not want to take the car, are obliged to do so in Greece. The crucial moment that we decide to give the streets to pedestrians and cyclists, we will definitely get reactions. But the ECOMM provides us with ways to take some public space away from cars.”
Yannis Tsironis, Alternate Minister of Environment and Energy.
“Mobility is at the heart of city development and regeneration. It touches upon the quality of life and boosts employment, local economy and health.”
George Kaminis, Mayor of Athens.
Innovation: it is not just technology
Smart Parking – click to see it in San Francisco
We are experiencing a technological revolution – smartphones, driverless cars, e-bikes, e-cars, sharing options etc. It is our choice how we deal with it and mobility management is an approach that can provide the right balance. This was reflected in many keynote speeches and also in the resolution presented at the end of the conference.
Key note speaker Timothy Papandreou from the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency, said that innovation is not a synonym for technology. It is about removing the friction out of everyday life and adding convenience. Technology can support this, when it works mostly in the background. In San Francisco, parking prices go up or down according to demand in a certain area. Car drivers can find the current prices in the SF Park app and parking control staff can check who has not paid without having to roam the streets. Discover more about SF Park. Sometimes innovation can also be a nuisance to policy makers. Think for instance about Uber and the likes. Mr. Papandreou advises policy makers to treat them like teenage children: give them rules, but also some room to grow up and they will get more mature.
Towards a driverless future
Not only in the future – click to see driving automation in action
Nobody doubts that driverless (or autonomous) cars will be cruising on our roads in the future. The only item of debate is when exactly this will be, but most forecasts predict it will happen within the next ten years. Experiments are already happening. For instance, the Greek municipality of Trikala has Europe’s first driverless bus service mixed with other road traffic – see the presentation by Soula Braki.
Regulations will probably be the biggest hurdle to take. The main issues to be considered were explored in a report on automated and autonomous driving by the International Transport Forum (ITF). The EU’s transport ministers gathered in the Netherlands in April to discuss a common approach towards the development of this technology (see the video). This resulted in the Declaration of Amsterdam.
What impact the large scale introduction of self driving cars will have, is largely dependent on how this new mobility option will be managed. Potentially, it could give a significant boost to shared mobility. If you can have a shared car on demand at almost any time and any place in a city and have it collecting you at your front door, car sharing becomes a lot more convenient than it is now. The ITF has made a projection of a possible future scenario where all car and bus trips in a city are replaced with on-demand, door-to-door transport provided through fleets of shared vehicles. The result of their calculations was that the same level of mobility can be delivered with 3% of cars and all on-street parking can be eliminated, as well as 80% of off-street parking. IF these cars are shared. If not, you might even have many more cars on the street as street capacity increases through driverless features. However, few long-term SUMP visions take into account a future with autonomous vehicles. Regulatory frameworks need to be more flexible to adapt to change and leave room for experimentation. For more information, see the presentation by Philippe Crist or the following ITF publications:
Reclaim the streets!
Key note speaker Maria Vassilakou, vice-mayor of the city of Vienna, expressed the importance of high-quality public space and walkability through three main principles:
- A city that is good for children is good for everybody;
- “The outside of buildings is the inside of the city” (quote by Jane Jacobs). Good quality public spaces should be the living room of the city;
- Walkability indicates successful urban development;
Download Ms Vassilakou’s presentation or a short summary of her speech.
Key note speaker Karl-Heinz Posch also referred on the necessity to talk about the street when thingking about public spaces and recommended to use new tactics and strategies for reclaiming street space.
Parklets – small installations on an empty parking space – are a great (temporary) way to convert transport space into a space for people and often boost local economy. In San Francisco, there have been design contests for parklets and Audi has sponsored several parklets. Thanks to many small, often low-cost interventions, the San Francisco Municipal Transport Agency has managed to reach their modal split targets three years earlier than planned. Find out more in the presentation of Timothy Papandreou .
And the winner is…
Foteini Mikiki receives her award from Prof. Panos Papaioannou
This year’s edition of the ECOMM had a video clip contest that awarded the most inspirational videos on the theme of “A vision for shaping the future of Urban Mobility in Europe”. A list of all contestants with links to YouTube-clips can be found here .
And the winners were:
- Foteini Mikiki: Future mobility should be safe and sustainable with no exclusions
- Klimaaktiv Mobil team: Urban development project partner Aspern Seestadt
- Sophia Damianidou: What if this changed?
A few must-read tips from our speakers:
The Athens Resolution
EPOMM-Board and Conference organisers
In ‘The Athens Resolution’, EPOMM has summarised the main conclusions of the ECOMM 2016 as follows:
1. Decarbonisation and electrification of transport
MM is essential for a proper phasing in of zero-emission transportation alternatives and to intelligently combine all kinds of electric transport.
2. Driverless vehicles and digitalisation
MM is needed to smartly embed these concepts in the transport system whilst avoiding counterproductive effects and optimising the benefits.
3. Connected cities and connected hinterland
Successful MM integrates health, environment, energy and mobility objectives into land use planning and urban development.
4. Reclaiming public space
MM enables attractive design of public space with easy access for walking, cycling and public transport.
5. Sharing and Mobility as a service
MM is essential to get the best out of sharing in order to reduce traffic and increase the efficiency of vehicle and infrastructure use.
This is the short version, a more complete, 2-page version is available here.
More work to do
Reclaiming street within 3 weeks – example from New York Department of transportation
One thing became very clear at the ECOMM 2016: mobility management will play a central role in the future, as both policies and citizen behaviour will have to adapt to fast-evolving technologies that reshape the way we move and live in our cities.
“The big changes will be in behaviour, not in technology.”
Philippe Crist, International Transport Forum
As keynote speaker Karl-Heinz Posch pointed out, change can happen very fast with just a few buckets of paint. But on the other hand he urges for more cooperation on a national and European level, developing national and/or European objective (e.g. to have a mobility plan in 30% of all schools by end 2018), standardised evaluation strategies, standardised transport data and compatible ITS technologies. So there is still a lot more work to do!
“With the 20th ECOMM, we are not at the end; we are at a milestone.”
Robert Thaler, President of EPOMM.
EPOMM looks forward to another series of inspiring presentations and discussions at the next ECOMM. See you in Maastricht!
- International klimaaktiv mobil Conference
"Decarbonisation - Zero emission mobility starts now!"
13-15 July 2016 - Vienna, Austria
- 4th World Collaborative Mobility Congress “Wocomoco”
7-8 Sept 2016 – Warschau, Poland
- Mobility Week
16-22 Sept 2016
- CIVITAS Forum Conference
28-30 Sept 2016 – Gdynia, Poland
For more events, please visit the EPOMM Calendar.