European cities are facing a continuous increase of passenger mobility and freight transport. The project brought the "Mobility Credits Model" to the foreground as a flexible instrument to manage urban mobility demand towards a sustainable level. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, congestion and air pollutant emissions were the topics which could, amongst others, be afforded through the Mobility Credits Model.
The Mobility Credits Model is a transport specific platform that would enable travellers, mobility providers, technology providers and transport planners to understand the implications of climate policy, changing attitudes and mobility choices. It enabled the identification of new opportunities in urban mobility and in extra-urban mobility.
The objective was to build the model. The concept of this Mobility Credit Model was based on the following pillars, shaped on the behaviours and choices of travellers:
- Set a target: define a sustainable load of greenhouse gas ("GHG") in an urban area;
- Distribute credit budgets: convert this load into credits. These credits will act as currency. Credits would be distributed to all travellers in the area;
- Define a set of rules to use these credits: the rules would define the consumption of credits, based on the behaviours of travellers;
- Exchange credits: travellers with a negative balance would be allowed to buy credits from travellers that have a positive balance.
The Mobility Credits Platform allowed for the creation of a behavioural context where the travellers could experience the effects of changing attitudes and choices in mobility with a range of possible implementations: from a pedagogic tool to a mandatory demand management scheme, from a social network to enterprise applications.
The project proceeded through the development of a comprehensive and consistent theoretical framework in order to provide a solid background, addressing all the implementation issues and effects of the integrated platform: the definition of the system and technology architecture, the assessment of the long-term effects of the Mobility Credits Platform, in particular, the impact on local competitiveness due to re-location effects.
The theoretical framework was tested in the urban areas of Genova, Stuttgart, Lisboa and Craiova through simulations and a demonstration pilot. These results were compared.
The concept and the application of the Mobility Credit scheme were investigated within the DEMOCRITOS project in four cities, with different mobility patterns and local context conditions:
Furthermore, different simulation tools were developed, according to the data availability and defining features and rules adjusted to the specific context. As a consequence, the results of the four case studies provided different indications, partially related to the specific local assumptions.
DEMOCRITOS research has shown Mobility Credits to be a powerful tool in addressing urban mobility. However, it does have both advantages and disadvantages compared to other instruments.
Achievement of the DEMOCRITOS project:
- A comprehensive and consistent theoretical framework was developed, in order to provide a solid background addressing all the implementation issues and effects of the integrated platform.
- The technology architecture to support the Mobility Credits Platform was defined.
- The long-term effects of the Mobility Credits Model application were assessed.
- The simulations of specific case studies (cities of Genoa, Stuttgart, Lisbon and Craiova) provided the necessary insight in order to verify:
- the effectiveness of the Mobility Credits Platform in providing awareness on the GHG issue;
- the potential reduction of GHG due to adoption of the Mobility Credits Platform in the different application contexts;
- the efficiency of the Mobility Credits Platform to tackle the environmental issues related to urban mobility, expanding its action field to other externalities produced by urban transport.
- All the results achieved in the case studies have been compared for the finalisation of the Mobility Credits scheme, both for the participating cities and for European municipalities and regions.
The following requirements in terms of technical issues were needed for the application of the MCM:
- Decision Support System, enabling monitoring and control in real-time of the urban mobility and dynamically adjusting, if needed, all functions and parameters of MCM;
- Sensor Network to measure the needed parameters to calculate the load of GHG (and other externalities) in the metropolitan area
- An accurate, reliable Electronic GHG Wallet to implement sophisticated schemes of rules for the consumption of credits;
- A cheap and easy-to-use system to diffuse information to the drivers and citizens about the load of externalities and rules of consumptions, using different devices (e.g. smart phones, internet, info-kiosk, etc.);
- Common Repository to store information gathered from the field and processed by the system.
The following requirements in terms of socio-political acceptability were needed for the application of the MCM:
- Strong political support and will
- High level of “mobility culture” in the involved actors
- Effective communication toward citizens with a simple, transparent and easily understandable approach integration with all other actions within urban mobility and Public Transport improvement
- Careful evaluation of privacy issues and personal data protection
2. Innovating for the future: technology and behaviour.
Further research is necessary.