Autonomy Paris 2018: active mobility will be the buzz-word of the future

The third edition of Autonomy Paris took place, and Bicle was there. This event displays the future mobility solutions that we are all waiting for. Besides the many interesting brands, booths and many share bike companies that were present, there were also many discussion panels and symposia to go to. By far the most interesting one was about Active Mobility. This panel answered the question about future mobility and especially on what the innovations are within 5 to 10 years, when it comes to active mobility that we should be looking at, to promote urban mobility through physical activity. Because this was such an important panel, Bicle decided to share some highlights.

Panel members

Panel member were Manuel Marsilio - General Manager CONEBI -, Gregoire Henin - CEO of Micro Mobility -, Will Butler - CEO of Brompton - and Delphine Assaraf - Head of Mobility Allianz. These four experts shared their vision on the future on active mobility with the audience. The panel was hosted by Isabella Burczak, Head of Advocacy and Mass Events UCI.

Key innovations

Active mobility is closely connected to broader aspects of urban mobility. From a Meta point of view, active mobility therefore has to deal with bigger problems. So the next four key innovations should be mentioned.

1: infrastructure

Will Butler, CEO of Brompton’s answer to the main question was: ‘’drive systems, light-weight frames. These are already there, but should now become better affordable. But most innovation should be in infrastructure. Cities are still dominated by car-infrastructure. We are now at the point that we can do that. However cities are still behind. The infrastructure has to be safe. Its less about technology and more about executing ways to implement a safer infrastructure. Cycling in London is still seen as an extreme sport in some ways because of the bad infrastructure.’’

Henin states that ‘’I completely agree that we need to invest in infrastructure. Cities are already doing a good job in investing in share bikes, making active mobility better accessible, but now the infrastructure needs to be adapted as well. We also need to invest in communication. If we want to share our public road, we need to improve communications.’’  

2: Technology will help the rider

IoT was mentioned a couple of times when it came to connectivity and safety. It should not only be applied on cars, but on all forms of mobility. Especially because there seems to be a lot of irritation between different sorts of public road users who don’t understand each other. Not understanding each other could jeopardize safety. If it’s hard to estimate someone’s speed. It is difficult to know how fast another rider is approaching, for instance. With IoT, that problem could be solved.

3: Free mobility, sharing and chargers

Asseraf took a broader scope and connected three innovations with each other. He stated that the key innovations are ‘’free mobility: people are not going to own anymore, but to use mobility system. The second is sharing: people who do own cars will share. The third one is electric. In the cities of the future, only electric mobility will be allowed to ride/drive.’’ That also means that battery chargers need to increase in numbers and become safer as well. It seems to be dangerous when a battery is charging. In order to avoid any accidents, there chargers need to be insulated become safer.

In short: people will share more electric mobility that need to be charged. In order to do that safely, more safe chargers should be deployed in the city.

4: Smart cities

According to Marsilio the futures is smart. Smart cities and IoT will domintate. Digital numbers on frames, so they become tracable, and cities that have a digital vector so it can communicate with all sorts of vehicles and bicycles. Consumers are becoming more intersted in these becauses it solves issues like theft. It also helps to improve safety.

With CONEBI Marsilio is, among other things, aiming to make trafic safer when it comes to autonomous driving. Communication between cars and cyclists is a key topic. 

All about safety and health

It all comes down to how these key innovations contribute to a safer and healthier urban environment.

It has been proved that commuting by bike is better for your health. ‘’when I go to work, I have my oxygen, I have had exercise. It’s just healthy.’’ Marsilio states. Henin, states that riding e-scooters clears the mind and with the wind in your hear and fresh air, it produces endorphin, which makes people feel happy. That’s the reason why companies are starting with share bikes as well. By providing share bikes to the employers, the threshold to move becomes lower and lower. And you know: happy employees means a happy company.

The main problems are that people are getting too little physical activity and cities are built for cars. Fortunately, these problems can be solved with a better infrastructure, better technology and sharing bikes.

Immediate next goals in a few words:

Marsilio: motor insurance directive in Brussels, Working with UN to find the right way to get closer to the cyclists.

Butler: electric bikes, light weight, better drive systems, continuing to sell cycling.

Henin: make e-scooters more common in France and Europe.

Asseraf: Free mobility, sharing, charging