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shared mobility in european cities

How Four Major European Cities are Using Electric and Shared Mobility to Reduce Congestion

Mar 13, 2018

What is happening in the cities around the world in terms of taking leaps with shared mobility offerings? When we take a closer look at major European cities, we are seeing plenty of steps in the right direction. Today we are looking at the latest shared mobility offerings in Helsinki, Madrid, Hamburg and Zurich all with the aim of cutting down on traffic congestion and improving the quality of life in these cities.

Shared Mobility Plans in European Cities

Maas in Helsinki

Helsinki, a European metropolis that already has a highly functioning public transportation system, is a test area for Mobility as a Service (MaaS). Citizens of Helsinki can book and pay for their trips on their smartphone and choose whether they will travel by bus, train, taxi, rental bike or rental car or to mix transport. All transportation options with a single point A to point B trip cost one price, and are paid for with one ticket on the same app.

Helsinki also plans to turn highways that lead to the city’s suburbs into boulevards, taking up less space, offering more greenery, cycling space, tram lines, and building houses on its edges.

Electric Public Transit in Madrid

It is a consensus amongst the citizens and policymakers of Madrid that a reduction of traffic congestion in the city center is a necessity for Madrid, which is a main concern of the “Madrid 2020” plan. For the city buses of Madrid, the entire public transport fleet will be replaced by hybrid vehicles and the city already has small electric buses being used in some of the outer districts.

As well as an intelligent parking system, the city is expanding its mobility landscape with infrastructure to support electric vehicles, including 120 stations for the first stage. Some of the charging stations will be located at metro stations, with some of the energy produced by the braking system of the metro itself. The city planners for the green future of Madrid also support carsharing schemes amongst their plans for widespread adoption of electric vehicles, some of which include car2go, Bluemove, Ubeeqo, Zity and soon-to-be Wible.

Electric Shared Taxis in Hamburg

Hamburg’s mobility plan to cut down on traffic has been punctuated by a partnership the city has entered into with Volkswagen Group, offering the citizens (next to bus and train stations) another alternative mobility option of electric shared taxis, which is powered by an app.

This shared mobility option bundles the request of passengers made through the app together for those who are moving in a similar direction and sends them to a collective entry point 200-300 meters away. The shuttle bus, designed by the new mobility subsidiary of VW called Moia, are easily recognizable with their gold bronze paint. If this project is successful in Hamburg, Volkswagen plans to expand the concept with their recognizable electric shared taxis to other major cities.

Unlimited Mobility in Zurich

In Switzerland, where all major cities are within commuting distance, general subscription mobility cards are the most commonplace with 9 out of 10 residents having a card. This popularity for the Bahncard isn’t due to an accessible price point either: the all-inclusive package subscription for a year in second class costs 3340 Euro, and first class runs you 5450 Euro.

Now Zurich is looking at offering its citizens an unlimited subscription to the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), with a test phase which has been going on for several months called the SBB Green Class. With this new shared mobility offering, the public transportation companies are offering luxury options to guarantee subscribers unlimited mobility.

This subscription will not only give customers access to SBB trains, but also other shared mobility options like e-bike fleets, car sharing, private electric cars, and free parking.

In addition, Zurich also has the cooperative Kalkbreite, which requires its residents to give up the car, and the electric bicycles in the mountains, which can be borrowed for 25 cents a minute via an app.

These leading European cities for shared mobility initiatives remind us how forward-thinking policies can rapidly transform the landscape of urban centers and improve the quality of life for its citizens. Interested in learning how your city compares on the Shared Mobility City Index? Get in touch with us here.


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