NEWS - 2016/12/02

Symposium on Urban Mobility Challenges 2016: Trending Topics

On the 14th of November, CARNET hosted the Symposium on Urban Mobility Challenges in Barcelona. Organised by  the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) & the Technische Universität Braunschweig (TUB), the event attracted attendance by respected international experts on urban planning, connectivity concepts and mobility services. Together, they presented their views and ideas on how to solve the global challenge of improving mobility in cities.  This article aims to summarize the main points of discussion presented at the symposium.symposium-2

The event was sponsored by the German „Niedersächsisches Forschungszentrum Fahrzeugtechnik“ and CARNET. It thus fell to CARNET Project Manager Daniel Serra to formally open the event and express a warm welcome to the attending experts. Serra said: “Within our first year we have been working on projects, research and challenging ideas. There is a lot to do on urban mobility and working together and sharing ideas is a necessary start”. As an innovative hub for future urban mobility, CARNET is based on three pillars: training and education, cooperative research and networking.

“CARNET is bridging the gap between automotive industry and urban mobility”, highlighted UPC emeritus professor and CARNET’s Academic Director, Dr. Jaume Barceló. He presented conclusions from his recent paper From Smart Cities to WISE Cities” img_5691and stood up for changing the current paradigm. In his mind, the city’s mobility system will evolve as a consequence of the underlying forces and their interactions. According to him, humans need to understand the city as a complex dynamic system of systems. He observed that Smart City is a market driven concept while, on the other hand, the WISE city puts its focus on citizens and bares in mind the following concepts: Wellness and Walkable Spaces, Intelligence and ICT, Sustainability and Ecology, Energy and Economy. Thus, Technology is a necessary but not a sufficient condition. “Addressing the urban mobility challenges also implies thinking of doing different things”, Barceló summarised.

The coordinator of the Barcelona Innovative Transportation Research Group at the UPC, Professor Francesc Robusté then gave a speech on the topic of “Sustainable and Efficient Mobility: The Future Ahead”. Agreeing with Barceló´s statements, he also sees transportation as a complex system, where efficiency and sustainability are the main variables of the equation. He observed how cities face the challenge of mobility and realised, that some solutions are rather an enthusiastic description of cases than a true recipe.  “Sometimes we forget the stakeholder behaviour or we decline for populist proposals. Instead, we need to re-engineer the urban mobility and system approach”, Professor Robusté specified. He concluded that the future of the urban personal vehicle is electric, shared and autonomous and will involve less and more expensive space due to the on-going transformation of cities.

Also taking part in the symposium was the Applied Software Systems Engineering (IPSEE) team, a researching body out of the Technische Universität Clausthal. Here, Dr. Christoph Knieke presented their conclusions on the topic of “Dependable Connected Mobility”. They took  up  the challenge of developing a cost-effective way for testing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). The first step was to colDependable Connected Mobilitylect data from a fleet of cars. Then, using approaches out of machine learning, the data gathered were processed in order to be able to create a driver, vehicle and environmental profile. The next step would be to request comparative data according to the current strategy and incorporate it on a larger scale. A summary of this approach is displayed in the picture.

They research group concluded that smart urban mobility and the usage of data collected according to this approach is very useful for successfully planning operating strategies and traffic flow strategies, providing smart services and the development of vehicle functions.

Another interesting speech was provided by Dr. Jonas Tostmann, a researcher at the Technische Universität Braunschweig. He presented his findings on investigating the “Acceptance of Individual Transportation Automation”. Mobility is transforming and new trends, like automated driving and access-based services, are slowly gathering momentum. Having wondered whether today´s costumer is ready to accept an access-based and autonomous driving mode of transportation, he carried out a total of three studies. Main conclusions show, that access-based services are of high potential demand and that automation leads to higher rejection figures than manual driving due to a perceived higher risk involved with it.  However, the study also revealed that automation is perceived more positively in service contexts such as a taxi ride. Further research will need to examine just why consumers would view this context as more agreeable.


The director of Mobility Research at the Smart Region Wofsburg-AG, Dr Gerrit Schrödel, presented his conclusions following a public-private partnership between the city of Wolfsburg and Volkswagen AG. Together, both partners created the App UMA (Urban Mobility Challenges) and facilitated a pilot project. The conclusion is, that talking about future mobility concepts means talking about electric mobility and data. Electric mobility absolutely places new demands on urban infrastructure.


Dipl. Ing. Dr. Techn. Harald Frey, TU Wien Speaking about e-mobility and the roll out of charging stations in Vienna

In addition, the symposium also featured other speeches and even if there were differences when it comes to approaches and topics, there was also an underlying agreement. All researchers agree that cities are very complex systems that facilitate the need for equally complex and varied approaches. Matching social changes with technology through design and cooperation seems the way to go. The symposium provided a clear view on how important this is and how useful the exchange of information can be. CARNET is proud to host this event with a clear aim to grow it further in the future and firmly establish it as a fixed entry in many calendars around the world.