research

Smart mobility: opportunity or threat to innovate places and cities

Abstract

The concept of the “smart mobility” has become something of a buzz phrase in the planning and transport fields in the last decade. After a fervent first phase in which information technology and digital data were considered the answer for making mobility more efficient, more attractive and for increasing the quality of travel, some disappointing has grown around this concept: the distance between the visionarypotentialthatsmartness is providingis too far from the reality of urban mobility in cities. We argue in particular that two main aspects of smart mobility should be eluded: the first refers to the merely application to technology on mobility system, what we called the techo-centric aspect; the second feature is the consumer-centric aspect of smart mobility, that consider transport users only as potential consumers of a service. Starting from this, the study critics the smart mobility approach and applications and argues on a“smarter mobility” approach, in which technologies are only oneaspects of a more complex system. With a view on the urgency of looking beyond technology and beyond consumer-oriented solutions, the study arguments the need for a cross-disciplinary and a more collaborative approach that could supports transition towards a“smarter mobility” for enhancing the quality of life and the development ofvibrant cities. The article does not intend to produce a radical critique of the smart mobility concept,denying a priori its utility. Our perspectiveisthat the smart mobility is sometimes used as an evocativeslogan lacking some fundamental connection with other central aspect of mobility planning and governance. Main research questions are: what is missing in the technology-oriented or in the consumers-oriented smart mobility approach? What are the main risks behind these approaches? To answer this questions the paper provides in Section 2 the rationale behind the paper;Section 3 provides a literature review that explores the evolution on smart mobility paradigm in the last decades analysing in details the “techno-centric”and the “consumer-centric” aspects. Section 4proposes an integrated innovative approach for smart mobility, providing examples and some innovative best practices in Belgium. Some conclusions are finally drawnin Section 5, based on the role of smart mobility to create not only virtual platforms but high quality urban places

    Similar works