European Mobility Week is celebrated every year between September 16 and 22. It is a European initiative that encourages cities to introduce and promote sustainable transport measures and invites citizens to try alternatives to car use. This year the theme is sustainable mobility, specifically “Multimodality.”
The multimodality promotes the use and combination of different modes for urban transport for both passengers and goods. This combination implies maximizing the benefits for passengers: costs, speed, flexibility, comfort, reliability, etc. It also offers social benefits such as reducing pollution and congestion or improving the quality of life and health.
One of the key drivers is the growing trend towards digitalization in urban mobility.
Do you know all the ways to move into the city?
There are many ways to move around the city: motorized, motorless, shared, public, individual, traditional, new. Without forgetting to walk, cycle, public transport (such as bus, tram, subway, and train ), and many others such as shared bicycles, taxis, shuttles or shared cars.
In this context, multimodality covers a multitude of possible combinations for commuting within the city. Urban trips tend to be shorter compared to long-distance ones, something that describes multimodality through the use of different modes of transportation for different trips within the weekly routine. If the trip is short, the best option may be to walk, the bicycle or the electric scooter while the bus or train is suitable for longer trips.
With digital improvements, multimodal journeys have evolved towards more sustainable means. For transport to continue to evolve, maintaining good infrastructure and building multimodal centers is crucial. Smart cards to facilitate payment or apps increase the convenience of combining different active and collective modes of transport.
Thanks to this digitalization, the concept of “mobility as a service (MaaS)” has been reinforced. This term includes a central topic the integration of various forms of transport into a single mobility service that can access on-demand through an app with a single payment. MaaS has excellent potential to achieve seamless mobility if it implements following the best support policy frameworks.
Benefits of multimodality
There are many benefits of getting around the city taking advantage of the different transport solutions:
- Make the most of the time: during the journey on public transport, you can read, work from your smartphone, talk with friends or simply, sit relaxed while listening to music.
- Doing some exercise never hurts: going to work by bike or walking over short distances (up to 5km) provides the recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day to stay healthy and in good shape. People who walk at least 25 minutes a day can expect to live, on average, for three to seven years.
- Saving money: keeping a car costs money. Depending on your usual routes and with an intelligent combination of them, you can get cheaper. Walking is free, an electric bicycle or a monthly public transport voucher is relatively cheap. Shared mobility is also a great option.
- Making our city a better place to live: the relationship between cars and the city poses many challenges: pollution, congestion, use of urban space, the safety of public roads, health. By combining different modes of transport, we can respond collectively to these problems and even manage to produce economic benefits for society.
- Recover the greatness of the planet: urban mobility is responsible for 40% of all CO2 emissions from road transport. Since private cars are the focal point of European mobility habits, the possibility of improvement is enormous, and a combination of transport modes provides enough options to achieve the objectives of flexibility, speed, and comfort provided by the particular car.