1- Decarbonising regions: a major challenge
Local governing bodies are currently confronting numerous challenges, the decarbonisation of their territories stands out as a pivotal concern. Addressing mobility policies necessitates a focus on the local level. Mayors, intercommunity presidents, metropolises, and regions have been tasked with ensuring citizens’ access to mobility, especially as cities grow denser, urban areas expand, and rural regions grapple with isolation. This demands a shift towards a new paradigm of seamless, accessible, and sustainable mobility. Considering that 85% of the population is projected to reside in urban areas by 2050, the scale of this challenge is immense!
2- A consensus on the facts, but then...
Punitive and restrictive measures are piling up, and national and European directives are multiplying. It’s notable that while some are meeting their objectives, they fall short of being sufficiently ambitious. Nonetheless, citizens are ready and aware of what is at stake: 59% acknowledge their capacity to prioritise alternative transportation modes for trips under 5 km (IFOP survey Intercommunalités de France / October 2023). Yet, their acceptance and adoption of these alternatives hinge on convenient accessibility in terms of payment and usability for new mobility options.
3- The Future's Triad: Mobility, Public Welfare, Environment
Contrary to popular belief, it’s entirely feasible to intertwine notions like mobility, environmental concerns, and the broader public good! However, for this trinity to integrate into local public policy, it demands a fusion of determination and alignment among local decision-makers along with technological expertise. France, a dynamic country and a land of innovation, operates within a complex ecosystem where administrative visibility isn’t always optimal for pioneering new, straightforward, and seamless practices.
For example, while half the local authorities now have responsibility for mobility, only 2% have set up a transport service and only 9% are planning to do so (Information report by the Senate’s Forward Studies Delegation, “Mobility in sparsely populated areas in 2040: a challenge to be met today” / 2021).
4- Some local authorities have started to implement solutions to manage traffic flows.
Simultaneously, cities are actively committed to combating climate change. The European Union plans to deliver 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030. Through the endorsement of “climate city contracts”, these cities are implementing initiatives across various sectors, including transportation, significantly elevating the significance of mobility. Some have recognised the imperative to address escalating traffic congestion, leveraging existing technologies like bicycles, shared electric vehicles, and streamlined public transportation via open payment systems to present diverse, complementary, accessible, and user-friendly mobility options. Several leading cities are delving into multimodal applications to promote low-carbon mobility. What do these pioneering areas have in common? A strong political commitment underpinned by a long-term mobility strategy that often includes a comparison between the cost in tonnes of CO2 avoided and the most economical mobility measures for citizens and local authorities.
5- Our bias
At Flowbird, a key contributor to urban mobility, we firmly believe that this transformation in public welfare isn’t just vital but achievable—and it’s within reach today. Collaborating with the Université de Pau et des pays de l’Adour and the CNRS, we’ve embarked on creating a pioneering technology of broader societal benefit, unparalleled in Europe. This innovative technology aims to assist public decision-makers in comprehending individuals’ travel patterns and formulating mobility strategies that promote increased utilization of public transportation alongside sustainable mobility methods.
Let’s be honest: regardless of how pertinent a technology or tool might be, it won’t fulfill its purpose without robust local political determination, clearly stated and actively implemented. Together, we have the capacity to act immediately and facilitate effortless mobility.