NEWS - 2020/12/17


CARNET organized the VI edition of the Symposium on Urban Mobility Challenges: Boosting Mobility Innovation with COVID-19, held on 16 November in an online format, in the context of the 50th anniversary of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC). The annual event leading mobility innovation, brought together renowned international experts who shared their perspective on how the pandemic is affecting mobility and the opportunities that arise for stakeholders to design innovative solutions that can meet the new needs.

COVID-19 is having a major impact on the way we live and move, as we observe how patterns of mobility are shifting, mainly towards transport modes that are considered the safest and most hygienic to prevent an outbreak of the pandemic. This transformation opened up the discussion on what trends will emerge in the near future for urban mobility.

“Health and safety were already a trend before this situation, but it is intensifying now. E-mobility will increase, as well as individual travelling modes.” Said Dr. Nikolai Ardey, Executive Director at VW Group Innovation, our keynote speaker. He guided us through the future trends we will observe in our cities and how to increase efficiency in these times, as well as energy sources.

In this future context, start-ups will also play a critical role in the development of solutions. Frederik Hanell, Director at EIT Urban Mobility Business Creation, told us that “the most important development area is creating public realm, as we have seen in Barcelona with its superblocks, now copied around the world. Reclaiming streets for the people who live in cities should be one of the priorities for municipalities.”

Martin Giese, Director at xPreneurs, talked in more detail about development programmes for start-ups, as they will be crucial to design innovative mobility solutions, but also tackle sustainability and accessibility matters.

Vicente Guallart, Director at Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), “Crisis are moments of change and revolution. During those times we have the ability of making things that we thought were impossible”. There are a lot of innovations in the mobility area and COVID-19 is accelerating the process. We work on more efficient mobility patterns, increasing pedestrian space. It has been a catalyser for development.

“In the COVID-19 context we are seeing some changes being accelerated, such as digitalisation. Teleworking has decreased our mobility needs and it has required adapting collective transport, but it should still be maintained as an axis for transport within cities” said Mª José Rallo, General Secretary of Transportation and Mobility. Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda (MITMA). With over 150 measures, she also gave us the keys for the most innovative changes her Ministry is applying on mobility matters, with the goal of making transport safe, sustainable, and connected, but above all, accessible for everyone.

One of the conclusions of the IV Edition of the Symposium on Urban Mobility Challenges is that while we are seeing very fast changes in this sector, there is still a long way to go for start-ups and stakeholders to develop ideas and implement their solutions in the real world. Goods-delivery, autonomous vehicles, or traffic optimization are some of the areas that were discussed during the event.

Although future mobility after the pandemic is uncertain, CARNET keeps on helping companies to ensure that it is optimal, no matter the context.  During next year, new challenges will arise, and for the VII edition of our Symposium on Urban Mobility Challenges, a key event on the topic of mobility innovation, we will be able to see how much we have evolved and where we are headed for the next years.

Watch the full event here:


CARNET, Future Mobility Research Hub, initiated by Seat, Volkswagen Group Innovation and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) and coordinated by CIT UPC, is an open hub to industrial and academic partners from the areas of automotive and mobility research & innovation, located in Barcelona with project-based collaboration. Its research focus lies on innovations and solutions that close the gap between automotive and urban mobility.