New mobility services such as MaaS, Mobility-on-Demand, and micro-mobility or smart mobility services in freight and logistics can help cities become more sustainable. Urban mobility companies must collaborate closely with policy makers, decision makers and industry leaders to integrate these new mobility options into existing transport infrastructures. It is therefore, critically important that businesses see added value of being part of the project / vision to help scale up its implementation and to encourage more local businesses to join.
Within the SASMob project, Szeged established an alliance with local employers with the goal of making work-related commuting more sustainable and reducing rush-hour traffic in the city.
Toulouse Métropole - Tisséo-Collectivités also noted that the greatest challenge for the development of an integrated mobility (MaaS) in the city was to agree with all partners on what could be the actual benefit for the users. Perspectives varied whether coming from the private or public sector.
For Lahti, one of the biggest collaboration challenges usually lies in making city’s objectives understandable to the private sector: cities have long-term objectives, while the private sector tends to have rather short-term ones. In the UIA project, both sectors had short-term objectives, which helped with the agreement on objectives and the implementation. The strong involvement of local businesses and SMEs in the project helped to develop high trust between the private and public institutions and therefore to lower levels of formalisation, hence driving down contracts-related costs. The true challenge will be about replication from the project though, since carbon trading does not have a functioning market behind. The private sector will need to see it as a concrete benefit in order to continue beyond the project’s life.
Many UIA projects pointed out that cities have to be strict in their way of cooperating with the private sector: they have to keep ownership over their project and defend their own vision. The concept of ownership is very important and has to be clear from the start of the collaboration. The mobility sector is moving from supply-oriented to demand-oriented. Mobility infrastructure needs to adapt to this. Private entities deliver data on demand, but also data about issues on the road network, e.g. MaaS-data, floating car data, etc. It is important for local governments to have ownership over this, to set the rules, e.g. anonymity, limit number of shared bikes providers in a city based on demand and amount of public space to store them, etc. It is also paramount for local governments to be able to monitor and evaluate results, and to be able to adjust the system by getting full access to the data and the analytics.
Albertslund interestingly pointed out this issue, highlighting that cities need new financing models for the future, which will increasingly involve the private sector. The PPP method (Public Private Partnership) enables the city, as a public authority, to safeguard citizens’ interests. Getting more funding, guidance and policies for expanding charging network for instance, could be of great help. Private companies are not induced to set up the charging infrastructure covering the whole city, which means that the infrastructure most often is placed in public parking lots, however it is difficult for the city to make a tender and a business model for it. PPP funded projects could encourage the private sector’s contribution to these developments.