The IFA or Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (International radio exhibition Berlin) is one of the oldest industrial exhibitions in Germany. Between 1924 and 1939 it was an annual event, but from 1950 it was held every other year until 2005. Since then it has become an annual event again, held in September and is, today, one of the world’s leading trade shows for consumer electronics and technology. This year, our CEO Sandra Phillips was asked to speak at the Shift Mobility convention. The convention lasted two days, had talks from some of the brightest minds in the industry and explored global insights and ideas for the future of mobility and how it will change the way we think, live and move. Watch Sandra’s virtual talk below and take a stroll with her, through Vancouver’s very own Stanley Park.
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Increasing resilience in the mobility ecosystem through choice & trust: lessons from vancouver
mobility vs the pandemic
Mobility has always been a vital aspect of our lives, but over the past decade, with the evolution of technology and the shift in human behaviour, we have seen the rise of truly innovative ideas for moving us from point A to point B. Connected electric cyber-trucks, shared Uber helicopters, autonomous e-scooters that pick you up where you live, a subscription app – that is the Netflix of transportation. We have seen ground breaking solutions to solving the core problems over our every day lives.
However, the pandemic has unearthed some of the inherent flaws of our current transportation. Commuters now working from home has slashed trip volumes by 75% and upwards across the globe, leaving our roads and public transit buses blissfully empty. Unfortunately, these plummeting demands in the need for transportation serices has also meant consolidations, service suspensions and closures for many shared mobility providers. Despite the flourishing innovations in technology and mobility, Covid has shown us the sheer lack of flexibility in our transportation systems to survive a major setback.
How do we increase resilience in transportation?
CASE STUDY: STANLEY PARK
Stanley Park is Vancouver’s oldest and largest park. One of the central features are the close to 300 hectares of coastal temperate rainforest. Much of the park remains forested, just as it was in the late 1800s — the park has roughly half a million trees, some standing as tall as 76 metres and hundreds of years old! In the past 100 years, there have been three major wind storms that caused damage and loss of many of the trees, the most recent in 2006, yet the forest is incredibly resilient, it has survived major logging in the early days of settlement, a constant increase of human activity and all of the major (and devastating) wind storms. It provides a green refuge for residents of the city of Vancouver, in particular, Sandra and her family are able to explore an impressive patch of nature within walking distance from our apartment building.
WHY IS STANLEY PARK SO RESILIENT?
- Reduced vulnerability because of diversity. Stanley Park is a highly diverse and complex system. You can easily find a century old tree trunk next to a 15 story tall Douglas Fir tree next to fallen logs. Its complexity and diversity reduces its vulnerability in the face of adversity.
- Connecting different systems to increase wildlife activity. Stanley Park forest connects rain forest with wetlands, and with rocky outcrops and shrub-forest edges at the edges of the park. By enhancing these areas within the park over the past few years, the Park Board has increased wildlife activity, as these spaces highly valuable for the animals in residence.
- Reducing Stressors. There is an active forest management plan in place. One part of this plan is the eradication and control of invasive species that can be found growing in the park. By eradicating these threats, the resilience of the entire ecosystem will improve.
HOW DO WE TRANSLATE THE SUCCESS OF STANLEY PARK’S ECOSYSTEM TO OUR TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS?
- Increase complexity of the system by increasing diversity of modes. We need to create choice and promote diverse modes of vehicles of various sizes within many different geographical areas. Cities that have lots of choices outside of the traditional public transit, eg bike share, scooter share, moped share, on-demand shuttles etc, are more resilient when a crisis, like the Pandemic, hits. The city of Vancouver has two carshare services, one bikeshare services, public transit with buses, vanpool, skytrain, ferries and two ridehailing companies. However, we could do more, for example, adding on-demand shuttles (such as the pilot on Bowen Island) and kick e-scooter/moped sharing services.
- Connecting different systems: Increasing the complexity of a transportation network is great but if it stays disconnected it cannot be considered a successful ecosystem. To create such an integrated system, we have to create private/public partnerships and build trust between these two entities. A good example of this is the partnership between TransLink, Modo, Evo and Mobi bikes in Vancouver, who worked together to create a pilot that is currently up and running, called the ‘Shared Mobility Compass Card’.
- Reduce stressors through regulations and active management: Regulatory bodies should create a framework that looks at all alternative transportation options, holistically. For example, implementing inter-municipal business licenses for ridehailing rather than individually regulating ridehailing in each city, which can become complicated for users and costly for mode providers because they will have to pay each municipality separately.
The pandemic has shown us the cracks in our current transportation systems. To rebuild tomorrow’s mobility, we need a mobility network that is multimodal and interconnected. We need more resilience in the transportation ecosystem so it can continue to provide access to services for our residents, reduce our region’s carbon footprint, and remain the circulatory system for our local economy. A mobility ecosystem that withstands the test of time similar to Stanley Park Forest, a century old vibrant coastal rainforest of significant beauty.
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