During the European Mobility Week the ART Forum Partner Taxistop participated in several international and local events. One of them was Human Explorer (organised by the Norwegian Buskerud Council and The Flemish Youth Embassy) where experts from all over the world came to Brussels to discuss autonomous road transport. A small part of this event, called ‘Youth Explorer’, was dedicated to youth participation. A match made in heaven for Taxistop to bring autonomous road transport and youth participation together through the platform A Tribe Called Transport*.
Human Explorer was a three day event that started with a panel discussion in BOZAR in Brussels. Interesting subjects were discussed such as how technology has become the second nature of human kind and how this helps us to push the limits of sustainable shared mobility. The experts emphasized also how autonomous road transport should only be considered as a shared mobility option and not a private ownership and that public transport should always operate as the backbone of the shared transport options.
During the second day, Taxistop had the chance to present the A.R.T.-Forum project to a group of experts amongst Ruter AS, MaritimRobotics, NEXT future transportation inc., Vias and Volvo Cars. It was very interesting to see how different organisations and countries are already working on the development of autonomous shared transport and meanwhile keep an eye on the impact of this technology on the society. All the pilot labs that were presented go through very similar challenges:
- How can we find the perfect location where we can test the technological maturity of the automated shuttle buses?
- Which location is private and public enough to test the first impression of passengers?
- How can we implement the automated shuttle buses in the current infrastructure?
Next to presenting A.R.T.-Forum, Taxistop also discussed some interesting results of a survey that was sent out during the summer to youngsters in Flanders between 18-30 years old. In this survey Taxistop questioned them on how they feel about the idea of autonomous vehicles and which consequences this will have in their opinion.
Youth Explorer was a sister project of Human Explorer. 20 youngsters from Norway and 20 youngsters from Flanders came together in Belgium to exchange ideas and experiences. Together, they discussed and looked for innovative solutions for the current challenges that the world of mobility is facing. Their adventure started with an excursion through the city of Ghent where they could visit organisations that focus on innovative solutions for sustainable mobility. Taxistop organised a very small event to introduce the youngsters to 3 different projects going on in Flanders:
The location for this small event was chosen very consciously. Watt Factory is a location in Ghent that wants to create new partnerships when it comes to smart cities and smart mobility. They give a lot of start-ups the chance and the place to develop their business ideas and turn them into reality.
Through the knowledge they gained during the first day, the youngsters were presented to several policy cases they could work on (f.e. How can we make Mobihubs more accessible for youngsters?). Under the guidance of policymakers, the youngsters worked very hard on finding solutions. During the last day they presented their solutions to the experts and policymakers.
During that day Taxistop created a podcast corner where some of the youngsters were interviewed and were asked about their experience with the project, new technologies and their hopes and dreams for the mobility of the future. This podcast corner will be a part of the podcast series that Taxistop launched in november through A Tribe Called Transport.
There is not much to say other than: there are solutions enough, but where do we start? This is definitely a two way road (no pun intended) where the end-users and the public authorities have to meet halfway. It is very clear that the public has to go through a mental shift where going from A to B doesn’t have to be a single transport option challenge, but rather be a multimodal option, based on innovative solutions. On the other hand there is a need for more transparent communication, more attention to accessibility and adapted infrastructure from ‘top’ (public authorities) ‘down’ (the public).
This is definitely not something that will happen in a couple of days, but how earlier we start taking action, the more people, authorities, researchers,… can find the space and the knowledge to adapt themselves to a new way of thinking. These is where the youngsters come in the picture. The youngsters are ready to be heard and to change the world (of mobility). They have a very mature and substantiated vision on the current challenges and are looking for channels to turn their visions into solutions. So let’s break the fourth wall and start cooperating. ;)
*A Tribe Called Transport is a platform that was launched by Taxistop in september 2019 as a local implementation of the A.R.T.-Forum project. Through this platform Taxistop wants to create more awareness on the upswing of autonomous road transport and other innovative solutions in sustainable mobility in Flanders.
A Tribe Called Transport wants to bring youngsters (students, student-entrepreneurs, youngsters passionate about sustainable shared mobility) together with experts from the workfield and create more transparent and accessible communication through podcasts, blogs, interviews and lost lectures.
More information: www.atribecalledtransport.be
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