ERTICO – ITS Europe (European Road Transport Telematics Implementation Coordination – Intelligent Transportation Service) elaborated this report in order to outline cities’ future transportation systems
What is the City Moonshot? The City Moonshot is an initiative launched and led by ERTICO- ITS Europe aiming to increase understanding on how cities worldwide are responding to current and future challenges in mobility and transport. More specifically, the initiative investigate how cites are addressing challenges such as climate change, air quality, digitalisation, disruption, multimodality and how they are meeting the needs of their citizens and economies.
Following discussions within the ERTICO partnership, the City Moonshot initiative was launched in early 2020 with an ambition to gather and share information on the needs, challenges and solutions of cities worldwide, for the mutual benefit of all cities as well as other actors in the transport and mobility sector, such as industry, service providers and researchers.
To this end, the initiative has been structured as a series of semi-structured interviews with senior managers or directors responsible for transport and mobility in their city or metropolitan council. In the first nineteen months of the activity (May 2020 - November 2021), the City Moonshot conducted 150 out of targeted 300 interviews with the cities. The achievement is a great success with more than 100 cities interviewed located in Europe, and approximately 50 cities dotted around the globe, from New Zealand to California, from South Africa to Japan.
The evidence of the successful completion for Phase I was an overwhelming interest demonstrated at the 27th ITS World Congress in Hamburg in October 2021. During the Congress, the ERTICO Partnership was praised for opening an important dialogue between the public sector agencies managing transport and mobility in cities and regions around the world and their counterparts in the industry.
ERTICO has acted as a catalyst for this exchange of best practices and needs of cities, asking 58 questions relevant to the most pressing topics and giving voice to those with a mandate to implement mobility solutions at the local and city-region level.
Common challenges and shared goals
The data collected during the Phase I of the City Moonshot initiative demonstrate the reasons why cities located in different countries and continents are implementing similar measures: the underlying challenges are the same. Indeed, 61% of the cities indicated traffic congestion as their primary challenge in terms of mobility, followed by pollution and noise, lack of budget/resources, and resistance to change by their citizens.
Unsurprisingly, similar challenges are reflected in the mobility goals shared by all cities interviewed, the top three being: improving the public transport system (79% of the cities), improving air quality (68%) and decarbonising mobility in the City (68%). While air quality has been recognised as a key priority for cities for many years, the City Moonshot initiative shows that transport decarbonisation needs, driven by the climate crisis, are considered equally important by the city transport and mobility professionals.
Climate crisis, air pollution and transport The largest share of cities interviewed agreed that the best way to deliver on their carbon neutral targets is through collaboration with citizens in co-creating policies and actions, as well as by introducing green incentives and setting those targets as a priority in the city’s agenda. It is encouraging to see that 92% of the interviewed cities are already undertaking transport-related actions to address the climate crisis.
There are many different examples of initiatives implemented by cities to tackle the climate challenge: adding bicycle lanes (implemented by 85% of the interviewed cities), further investments in the public transport system (75%), and installing charging infrastructure for e-vehicles (72%) are just some of the actions cities are already undertaking. One of the ways to highlight the need for real action in cities worldwide has been to declare a climate emergency. Close to 2,000 authorities, mainly local ones, have already taken the step.
The findings of the City Moonshot initiative show that 70 cities out of 150 either have already declared or are planning to declare climate emergency. On the other hand, 61 cities stated that they do not plan to declare a climate emergency. However, it is worth noting that, even if some cities have taken a decision not to declare climate emergency that does not directly mean that they are not active when it comes to climate actions.
Some of the cities have decided not to declare climate emergency, but still have a target to become carbon neutral. Air quality is one of the key policy priorities for city authorities. The interviews highlight that a vast majority of cities (89%) are measuring air quality. In the 59% of cases, this is done (59%) on a daily or hourly basis. A majority of cities (52%) share the results of their air quality measurements with citizens. In 37% of cases, cities change and adjust their transport policies depending on air quality levels. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on transport and mobility and its related CO2 and pollutant emissions impact has been complex.
While the Global survey on urban transport and mobility: Results of Phase I City Moonshot | 6 final longer-term effects are not known yet, the interviews indicate that the impact of pandemic can be associated with the accelerated deployment of some green and sustainable solutions. Especially the introduction of temporary bicycle lanes has been seen as a highly positive outcome from climate and air pollution perspectives (and some have been converted to a permanent solution), while restrictions in the operational capacity of the public transport services has been removed as soon as it was possible.
Role of data sharing Another trend that emerged during the City Moonshot interviews reflects cities’ awareness about the fundamental role that cooperation and data sharing play in addressing the climate emergency. Approximately 81% of the interviewed cities is already cooperating, or is willing to cooperate with private entities to jointly elaborate and build innovative solutions based on available data. 129 cities out of 150 are already sharing (or are willing to share) their data with transport providers in their city and other cities.
At the same time, 122 cities share (or would do so) their data with private entities. Finally, almost all of interviewed cities would be willing to share their data with ministries, governments and scientific institutions. Data sharing can however be a complex process due to regulations concerning data privacy. Another complexity is added by the different standards used by different organisations to share data. To enable data sharing, there is perhaps a need for better communication between stakeholders regarding the type of data in which they are interested, and which standards they use.
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) exhibits untapped potential to improve mobility in urban habitats Figures by relevant researches indicate that in the next few years MaaS business will be nearly 130 times1 bigger than what it was at the beginning of the decade. Importantly, the interviews conducted by the City Moonshot Initiative highlight that cities in Europe (especially in Northern and Western Europe), stated that both studies and projects on MaaS exist and the mobility professionals interviewed have a very good insight into both the challenges, but also the benefits that can be accrued by deploying MaaS in the cities. Amongst 150 cities interviewed, 105 (70%) answered that MaaS should be deployed through a joint effort between city-led and private sector-led stakeholders. This once again shows that cooperation and coordination among mobility sector players is considered essential to the further development of the transport system.
Engaging citizens Overall, cities deploy different activities to engage with their citizens and learn more about their transport and mobility needs. Some of the main activities and tools are public surveys, complaints handling, public consultations, and mass media campaigns.
In general, most cities are open to collaboration with external entities regarding transport and traffic management. Regarding knowledge on and involvement in ITS and C-ITS, the vast majority (79% and 69% respectively) of the cities have previous knowledge and/or are involved in these two topics. Finally, cities are very interested in most of the topics regarded in the questionnaire, especially e-mobility and cooperative ITS services (C-ITS).
Finally, the report ends with suggested next steps. These include continuing to interview additional cities to complete the goal of gaining in-depth understanding of their needs, thoughts and plans by interviewing a total of 300 cities. The ERTICO Partnership will continue to organise events to share the results of the research, and further the dialogue on the climate crisis, air pollution, data sharing and MaaS implementations with cities and private partners around the world.
This is an executive summary. The full report can be read at https://ertico.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Ertico-Moonshot-Report-final.pdf