Multimodal Mondays: Mobility Hubs with Yuval Fogelson, Rebecca Karbaumer, Vlad Marica & Sandra Phillips
Multimodal mobility is fast becoming the biggest opportunity for us (as service providers and operators) to design seamless-interconnected journeys and to reimagine movement within urban cities. Multimodal mobility is the term used to describe integrated transport – seamless connectivity between different modes of transportation, such as buses, ferries, trains, trams, ridehailing, bikes, e-scooters and even walking.
Welcome to the June edition of the Multimodal Mondays micro-webinar series. This month Sandra is joined by Yuval Fogelson, Rebecca Karbaumer and Vlad Marica and as voted by you, the topic under discussion this month is the physical collocation of shared mobility options with public transit – also known as mobility hubs.
Watch the micro-webinar below! Keep reading to learn more about the guest panel and for a brief summary of their multimodal discussion. Check out episode three here.
Urban Designer | Public Space Transformations, New Mobility, Tactical Urbanism
Urban designer with experience in Digital transformation, new mobility, mobility hubs, transitioning strategy, curb space management. Urban transformations of public space, tactical urbanism, placemaking, complete streets, vision zero. Masterplanning of new communities, cities, airports, shopping center transformations, TOD and transit corridors and stations
Yuval’s passion for cities has led him to pursue a path in which his profession, hobbies, general interests and way of life have all merged. He is looking for new challenges and has a creative and idealistic desire to transform cities on a global scale while designing in the local scale.
Check out his research here.
Project Coordinator at The Ministry for Climate Protection, the Environment, Mobility, Urban and Housing Development
Rebecca is an urbanite who’s passionate about creating sustainable, liveable and socially equitable cities. As a sustainable mobility project coordinator the City of Bremen’s Ministry for Climate Protection, the Environment, Mobility, Urban and Housing Development (Germany), she is responsible for creating shared mobility and mobility management policies, implementing Bremen’s Car-Sharing strategies and coordinating various European transport projects on sustainable mobility. At the moment, she is the project coordinator for the Interreg North Sea Region Project “SHARE-North”.
Head of Sales at Fluidtime Data Services GmbH
Vlad is passionate about complex, interdisciplinary activities; he is experienced in forging relationships between companies, in sales & key accounting, in transnational project management as well as in planning, organizing and steering elaborate tasks.
As Fluidtime’s Head of Sales, Vlad is responsible for Fluidtime’s sustainable growth through signing new customers, generating leads and opportunities and building up a partner network comprising transport service-, mobility- and other service providers. Vlad ensures the organic growth of both our company and our products and represents the company at events and shows. He has amassed experience in the art, aviation and entertainment industries, where Vlad has led several high-profile transnational projects; he graduated from the Vienna University of Technology with a degree in Mechanical Engineering after specializing in fluid dynamics and green energy.
June’s Multimodal Mondays Webinar
Tell us a bit about your background and your experience with mobility hubs
The city of Bremen in North Germany has been building mobility hubs since 2003. At that time there was neither a legal framework or a precedent for mobility hubs in Europe. They began by focusing on carsharing and trying to solve the problem of too many cars in a limited public space. Mobility hubs were an integral part of their spacial management strategy to reclaim public space. They provided space for carsharing operations, made it more accessible for residents of the city and created awareness of this option, as well as other sustainable modes of travel connected to these hubs. They now have 45 mobility hubs in the public realm that make up just one third of the carsharing options available in the city, but have plans to bridge this gap to residents. Digital integration has been great for the advancement of shared mobility services, but low and no-tech solutions for mobility hubs have had a high impact in the city of Bremen particularly in addressing the accessibility gaps.
Fluidtime has been around since 2004 and started working on integrated mobility since 2006. In 2016 they heard of MaaS and started building their own platform fluidhub which fuses shared mobility operations into one offering for the end user. Their focus in mostly on the digital side of mobility but they do have brick and mortar projects as well. Goldbeck parking services in Germany they are turning physical parking lots into mobility hubs that not only combine mobility services but also bring societal services to residents, for example you can rent power tools there or a society room among many other things.
Yuval Fogelston is urban designer who currently completed his research at UBC, Vancouver at TIPSLab, together with TransLink’s new mobility research grant. His research topic started as curb space design and management which ended up turning into a proposal for mobility hubs. The whole idea behind mobility hubs is the inclusion of transit – whether it is a bus stop a train station etc. and the idea is because you are building on a transit system, it becomes a mobility hub network, which is interconnected virtually.
Can you elaborate a bit more on what you think it takes to get to a full working mobility hub?
Tactical urbanism has shaped how Yuval tackled his research. The research is called ‘Transitioned into new mobility.’ and his biggest question was how do you get from todays logic to the logic of the future when it comes to mobility? His discovered tactical urbanism has three main ways of approaching this:
- One would be the phased approach – it’s never as easy as point A to B, there are always steps along the way you need to test and pilot.
- When thinking about updating a physical mobility hub, it may take the guts of a year to complete the transformation, but with virtual mobility hubs, it’s as simple as updating an app. There is a big gap in update speeds between both and this is where tactical urbanism comes in. If you have an organised methodology in place, you can change the space in a matter of weeks – just look at the changes that happened rapidly during COVID.
- Finally, cities are sometimes unwilling to introduce new modes and tactical urbanism helps in dealing with this fear and uncertainty. It allows you to knowingly test things and to think of the city as constantly changing and not set in stone.
Cities are also reluctant to change the virtual world, not just the physical one. Even though the idea of MaaS is to allow the virtual world to make use of the assets in the physical world in a more efficient way, cities are reluctant to reshuffle the current system in order to create something better. However, this system is changing in some cities such a Singapore and the Netherlands where they are creating national MaaS pilots and where the cities have funded both physical and virtual worlds.
This reluctance is due to a lack of knowledge in some places about new technology but cities also have a responsibility to work within a legal framework and because they work with tax payer money, this must do so responsibly. Just like the city of Bremen, they must be careful about the choices they make and ask themselves ‘will this new measure we are investing in work towards their goal of sustainable mobility?’ ‘Is it most efficient?’ ‘Is it low and cost and high impact?’ ‘Is it going to be around long term?’ Cost/benefit must be juggled all the time.
How do we get people and cities to change the behaviour when it comes to new mobility and curb space?
Daily transport decisions are not made by financial means, we also don’t think about greenhouse gas emissions. What drives our daily decisions is convenience. The mobility hubs play a role in providing freedom of choice and flexibility – which is essential for changing travel behaviour.
Removing friction and making it seamless for users is also super important to change behaviour. Fluidtime are putting multiple transportation modes into carparks. They are bundling both the physical and virtual work, so that people can pay in one place but also can receive incentives. If a user decides to use transit that is good for the environment, they may receive a free coffee as reward or a cake.
In Vienna there is a law that if you build an apartment, so need to provide a parking space for it. Fluidtime is circumventing this by saying that instead of building a parking space which can be expensive, each resident gets access to a mobility hub account so they can access multiple modes.
If you think about an airport, they are designed for everyone and it’s like a closed system. If you look at major bus stops, they same can be applied. Start with the bus stop, beside it you could have a different mode available, like an e-scooter or bike share services. One hundred yards away you could have a plaza with a ride-hail, pick-up/drop-off zone and further away you could have carshare. Build around the public transit as the centre point, which will create the same integration that you have in a MaaS app. It means then, if you don’t have a mobile phone, you can buy your ticket in this mobility area. Which breaks down a barrier for new behaviour.
With the pick-up/drop-off zones, the best way to design this is without any brands in mind. It’s just the carshare area, meaning that if a company leaves, like car2go left Vancouver, other companies, especially new ones, still have access to these areas.
Where would you like these mobility hubs to be in the next 3-4 years?
“In Bermen we have short and medium term goals and long term goals. We have the goal of having mobility hubs every 300 meters. Meaning that if mobility services are fully booked a resident only have a 5 minute walk to the next hub. Shared mobility services are only really attractive as an alternative to the private car, if they are easily accessible and you have alternatives close by. We are working on expansion, which does take time because each one has its own individual plan. There is no one size fits all. We also design so that it meets the needs of that specific neighbourhood which takes political and citizen participation. The long term goals is use these hubs to reduce the number of cars in the city and to reclaim that public street space entirely. My vision for the next 10-15 years is no more on street parking for private cars, only to have mobility hubs and shared travel modes with shared public value.”– Rebecca Karbaumer
“I would play around with the target groups. We’ve talked about normal travellers, you and I, a lot of companies are struggling to meet their environmental goals in times when they provide a lot of companies cars for their users. I would like to see both normal travellers and business travellers having access to mobility hubs with both physical and virtual incentives. I would like to see an integration of both private and business travel using mobility hubs both physically and virtually.”– Vlad Marica
“One thing I’ve noticed is that we need a clear definition of what a mobility hub is. Everyone has a different vision of what a mobility hub is. I think in the short term, it’s getting a better understanding and to have everyone speaking the same language. In the short term I would like to see a lot of piloting and testing in both the physical and in the virtual so that in 5 years time it will be possible to concretise and to build what has been tested.”Yuval Fogelson
If you would like to watch more of our #MultiModalMondays webinar series’ visit here.