Perhaps the perfect answer to this question is “collectively, through coordinated experimentation”. But, since the needs of every individual and every city are unique, there are myriad visions of what the future should look like.
In this new era, spearheaded by digital technology and transport providers, the various players must learn to coordinate and evolve, with the automotive industry opening up to new business models in order to provide smart mobility services and the authorities taking up the regulatory baton and setting targets to reduce pollution and accidents as well as optimise public space and journey times.
Applus+ IDIADA provides technological services to its clients, but at the same time works closely with the public authorities. Aware that our products need to provide tailormade solutions that fit within each city’s mobility management plan, we have developed a language of liaison to help foster a culture of mutual understanding between manufacturers and the authorities.
With innovation in mind, we are opening up various lines of research into new vehicle concepts. One such concept is the “SHUTTLE B·BUS”: a multimodal bus that allows passengers to bring on board personal mobility devices such as bicycles, scooters and electric vehicles in the L1e category. The idea is to make it possible for individuals to use their private, non-motorised devices to cover the first and last legs of a journey, but public transport for the intercity stretch. The bus functions as a shuttle, transporting commuters on journeys for which they are currently obliged to use a private vehicle owing to a lack of infrastructure.
Operators could design new, limited-stopping lines managed via digital platforms, incorporating on-demand elements to offer increased flexibility and reliability to users. There would be no need for these buses to enter urban areas as passengers would have their own devices with which to get around locally or could switch modes of transport at set interchanges.
Bus intermodality is genuinely ground-breaking since there is no existing bus that incorporates a system for loading L1e vehicles or charging batteries en route.
We continue to investigate new, simple and profitable design methodologies related to on-board storage space for mobility devices, loading and offloading mechanisms, the securing of such devices, en-route battery recharge and smart transport solutions. At the same time, we are working with the public authorities to validate the feasibility of this concept as a complement to pre-existing solutions.
Anticipated Benefits of “Smart mobility”:
- Reduced congestion and environmental pollution both on urban approach roads and intercity routes
- Enhanced intermodality between public transport and micro-mobility
- Greater competition between manufacturers to improve the design of buses and personal mobility devices from a technological standpoint
- New product ranges and sizes, thereby attracting new users
This vehicle is complemented by a growing investment in cycling infrastructure and BRT lanes in big cities, saving users both time and money as well as improving their safety, flexibility and comfort during their commutes to and from school or work.