Roundtable Tackling urbanization challenges – Sharing as a necessity in the future metropolis

Progressive urbanization and limited space in cities call for new solutions in mobility worldwide. Sharing schemes can be a key to turn cities into more livable spaces. Future trends in sustainable transportation have to be oriented along the 3Ds: Decarbonization, Deprivatization and Demotorization.

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The role of collaborative mobility in future cities was discussed at a roundtable on 17 February 2016 at the Impact Hub in Berlin. Four keynote speakers gave an insight on current developments and experiences gained by implementing sharing schemes.

Katherine Kortum, from the TRB, emphasized that free-floating car sharing schemes could reduce car trips as the real cost of driving is made visible to users. However, they might also attract public transport users and lead to an increase of vehicle-kilometers traveled. Well-designed policies and integration into existing transport systems can support a sustainable development of services.

Sebastian Schlebusch introduced the bike sharing scheme “nextbike”. For him, bike sharing has become a global phenomenon and is out of niche by now. City governments increasingly recognize the problems caused by traffic. Due to the current discussion, good funding opportunities for bike sharing emerge from smart city programs.

Alexander Jung works for the GIZ in China, where car sharing is mainly station-based and not free-floating. There, unregulated parking remains the major issue for car-sharing. Nevertheless, Mr Jung sees a huge potential of car sharing in China and an upcoming challenge between global and local businesses.

Jörg Beckmann from the Moblititätsakademie in Switzerland observes that private car ownership is losing support throughout the world. He gave an insight in the Swiss project carvelo2go, a cargo-bike sharing system, which tackles the issue that many families have not found any suitable sustainable alternative to car ownership so far.

In conclusion of the presentations and the following discussion, main outcomes of the roundtable are that sharing schemes do not supply the only solution to urban mobility challenges, but can provide one key to change cities into more livable spaces. To increase market penetration, sharing schemes need to establish a high user comfort level and be sibling to a strong public transport system. Good examples for this are Paris, London and Copenhagen. Participants concluded that future urban mobility will be focused on individualized public transport, potentially boosted by automated driving.

Please note:

The World Collaborative Mobility Congress (Wocomoco) is the largest event focused on sharing mobility issues and will be held on 7 and 8 September in Warsaw.