Ecomobility: travel reinvented

Published by on 03.20.2020 - 7 min

Ecomobility is relevant to all mobility issues and lifestyles in this era of transition to clean energy. But how does it fit into the daily lives of those who live in cities and rural areas? And how can we make it a reality that works for everyone?

Ecomobility: what does it actually mean?

The principle of ecomobility involves initiatives and infrastructures that make sustainable mobility possible, whether in cities, suburbs or rural areas. Imagine: public services, stores and schools that are close to each other and easily accessible; roads that are shared by trolleybuses, self-driving electric cars and those running on car sharing schemes; cycle paths that are used by self-balancing transporters and bikes.

All these vehicles could, for example, run on a road that absorbs 10-20% of the sun’s rays. The road surface could then carry this energy to the neighboring buildings to heat water. On the sidewalks, greenery would reclaim its rightful place and bring shade to temper the blazing sun during heatwaves. The roads would be used by soft mobility modes of transport as part of a sustainable development strategy.

What’s the difference between ecomobility and electromobility?

Ecomobility solutions include electromobility solutions that include carsharing, bicycles, self-balancing transporters and other sustainable modes of transport. Plus all the infrastructure that makes traveling around easier. So ecomobility includes both the use of clean vehicles and everything that enables them to be used: electric charging points, renewable electricity, road remodeling, etc.

The three pillars of ecomobility

Véhicule électrique sur point de charge
The present and future of ecomobility consist of three main pillars:

Multimodality and intermodality

For ecomobility to be achievable, a diverse array of available modes of public transport is essential. Whether in a city or village, everyone should have access to one or more modes of transit that meet their needs, at any time of the day or night. Intermodality, meanwhile, is about being able to use different modes of transport across a single zone or journey. These two complementary concepts serve as a basis for improving sustainable mobility options.

Shared clean vehicles

Multimodality and intermodality rely mainly on shared vehicles and the use of clean energy. Free-floating, for example, offers an advantage with regards to carsharing in that the vehicle can be parked anywhere. Across the global market, auto manufacturers and regular car rental companies are working together to develop carsharing schemes. These partnerships usually launch their test phases in cities, before they are rolled out further afield in zones with fewer transport options.

New technologies

These days, ecomobility is becoming a reality through mobile apps that connect travelers with shared vehicle options in the tap of a finger. Concepts from science fiction novels could now become our real everyday travel solutions!

For example, Renault is bringing out electric self-driving concept cars to make it easier to travel around cities. Take EZ-GO for instance, a shared concept car with a futuristic look that can transport six people around a delineated urban zone using an application and GPS.

Sustainable mobility challenges

Panneau point de charge

One of the challenges facing sustainable mobility is meeting the mobility needs of everyone, regardless of where they are geographically and financially.

To provide solutions, initiatives are being developed, most importantly backed by auto manufacturers. In France for example, auto manufacturers are involved in a self-driving vehicle experiment – launched in 2019 – in 16 cities to make certain neighborhoods more accessible. In the US, Japan and Germany, self-driving cars have been in testing for around two years, subject to certain conditions: in Japan, the vehicles must be tracked remotely, while in Germany someone must be at the wheel at all times.

Another challenge is to limit distances, so that everyone can get to where they want to go more easily and more quickly. This means bringing points of interest (services, stores, etc.) closer to residential areas. In France, the “Action Cœur de Ville” program launched in 2017 is designed to breathe new life into 222 very different town centers, such as Dunkirk and Bagnols-sur-Cèze, by redistributing the range of local stores and services. For example, the project can lead to the introduction of shopping malls near to small neighborhood stores.

Lastly, ecomobility can take advantage of new trends in professional lifestyles, where employees don’t necessarily go to an office every day. With the boom in self-employment, and the rise of co-working and teleworking for employees, the commute between home and work can be cut to a minimum.

The main players in sustainable mobility

At the end of the day, we all have a part to play when it comes to ecomobility solutions. But to get there, public policy needs to be followed through. According to an Arcadis group study published in 2017, Hong Kong tops the global list of places where mobility is the most sustainable, thanks in particular to its especially efficient subway system. In Europe, Vienna (Austria) leads the way with its pedestrianized city center and predominantly electric public transport systems.

Obviously, auto manufacturers are at the front line of designing electric and self-driving vehicle solutions that meet the challenges of ecomobility and sustainable mobility. Likewise for all companies working towards innovations for clean means of running both personal and public transport.

To summarize, ecomobility involves redesigning all the possible modes of transportation organized by individuals, companies and local authorities, to bring new, accessible forms of sustainable soft mobility. This can be done through innovations, public and private initiatives and collaborative thinking by each of the parties involved.

 

Copyright : LeoPatrizi, Tramino, Elektronik-Zeit

 

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