Cars are becoming unsexy or at least for individual traffic in big cities like Hamburg, according to all the panellists at the recent Next Conference on September 19-20, 2019. Digital decision-makers, thought leaders and creative minds mulled the future and technology trends. The offices of the mobility service provider MOIA became the venue for talks on “transforming urban mobility” between Sascha Meyer, Chief Product Officer of MOIA, Henrik Falk, CEO of Hamburger Hochbahn AG, Lukas Loers, Director of Business Operations at Wunder Mobility, Rainer Sax, Digital Consultant and Janine Härtel, Senior Project Manager and Mobility Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).
Reality demands functionality
Mobility is crucial to Hamburg’s goal of reducing CO₂ by 2 million tons before 2020. Plenty remains to be done, according to Falk, who noted: “We need a mobility concept that enables intelligent linking of mobility providers – analogous to digital.” In other words, a concept that takes the customer into consideration and delivers its digital promises in practical terms.
MOIA – 1 million cars off the road
Härtel moderated the discussion and asked how Hochbahn aims to help achieve the climate targets Falk explained: “So far we have expanded our service by 1 per cent every year. We are now aiming for a sixfold increase to 6 per cent. And Hochbahn is not the only company aiming high. MOIA is on a mission to take “1 million cars off the road”, according to Meyer. “A certain inner cannibalism is associated with the goal of taking 1 million cars off the road by 2025.” MOIA is backed by the automobile giant Volkswagen. The Wolfsburg-based company aims to morph from automobile maker into a leading mobility provider.
Hamburg in key test phase
The more practical the mobility mix, the more likely people are to do without their own car, according to Sax, and stressed: “We have to find out exactly what people want. Where should the journey take us?” Hamburg is already on the right track and paying closer attention to people’s wishes, according to Falk, and pointed out: “The city is very open and has experimented with various mobility solutions. Now we have to be patient and wait for the results of this experimental phase.”
Special mobility trends like micro mobility are gaining more attention, according to Loers of Wunder Mobility. “However, it remains to be seen whether we will see even more e-bikes or e-scooters or entirely new vehicles such as ultra-light, battery-operated two-seaters dominating the streets.”
Avoiding short car journeys
Electric scooters were central to another talk entitled “Micromobility – Challenging the Status Quo”. These vehicles definitely have an edge, according to Kilian Schmidt of the Berlin-based start-up Tier Mobility. The company is aiming to integrate them fully into the mobility mix in future. Electric scooters will prevail and especially as 40 per cent of all urban car journeys are shorter than 3 kilometres. The scooters are ideal replacements for both cars and bicycles, he noted. Meanwhile, the Dutch company Swapfiets is offering customers subscriptions for bicycles and the response to their offer is great. “We take care of all repairs. That means carefree cycling,” said Philipp Wolff, Swapfiets Regional Manager Hamburg and Kiel. Convenience is crucial to the mobility mix and such offers are likely to do best, the panellists agreed.
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