Cities suffer most from congestion, poor air quality and noise exposure. Urban mobility accounts for 40 percent of all CO2 emissions from road transport, and 69 percent of road accidents occur in cities. Although dependence on passenger cars has decreased, it remains very high: in western EU countries, more than 55 percent of the modal split is car related, while in the eastern EU public transport is losing ground in favour of the car.
The Hungarian city of Szeged has seen a steady decrease in public transportation use, despite major infrastructure improvements. In the past few years, the share of cycling has increased, but at the expense of public transport, while car usage has remained unchanged at 23 percent and the car continues to be a status symbol. One-third of the cost of public transport in Szeged is covered by tickets, one-third comes from the government and one-third from the city budget. However, the state contribution is decreasing and ticket sales are falling, in terms of both numbers and value. Szeged therefore needs to attract more passengers to public transport away from private car use. Despite recent huge investments into mobility infrastructure, the system is not optimised to citizens’ needs. During rush hours the system is overused, while lack of demand outside peak hours, at weekends and in university holidays results in an overall 17 percent utilisation level. A systematic, data-driven fare and timetable review mechanism would make it possible to sustain public transport services and enhance quality, while keeping services affordable.
The strategic objective of the SASMob project is to build a data-driven, responsive transport system based on cooperation between public entities, private businesses and transport providers in the city of Szeged; and to create a shared vision and practical mobility roadmap to accelerate progress towards multimodal, inclusive mobility with a low environmental impact.
Specific objectives are to:
- encourage cross-sector cooperation between businesses and the city of Szeged through which businesses receive powerful tools to co-design and tailor innovative solutions to facilitate sustainable commuting for their employees;
- develop a strong data management process that makes it possible to analyse the complex and interrelated urban mobility network, using transport behaviour data collected through detecting sensors/surveys/data aggregates from personal mobility patterns facilitated by smart phone applications; and
- adapt mobility service solutions to local circumstances in a responsive way.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund’s Urban Innovative Actions programme, SASMob will elaborate an innovative workplace commuting solution adapted and improved from the Mobility Challenge tool developed by a conglomerate of US-based organisations (showcased at www.mobilitysolution.org).
SASMob directly supports seven companies in organisational mobility management by proving the business benefits of smart mobility solutions, reduced parking demand and increased employee fitness.
The project will strengthen collaboration between the municipality of Szeged and industrial employers and provide tools to facilitate employees’ sustainable commuting. It will test and demonstrate optimised, high-quality, data-driven urban mobility services such as route planning, parking management and ticketing, passenger information, taxi service deals, and last-mile solutions for the benefit of citizens and commuters.
Mobilissimus will capitalise on and upscale its experience in organisational mobility planning by supporting the implementation of seven organisational mobility plans (prepared with the support of REC) for large companies engaging approximately 5,000 employees in the city of Szeged. Its services will include:
- supporting the implementation of mobility plans and contributing to policies that encourage more sustainable commuting;
- supporting GriffSoft to create an IT platform to monitor the daily transport patterns of employees; and
- monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the resulting workplace mobility plans.
As a result, SASMob will decrease Szeged’s mobility footprint and contribute to an economically and environmentally sustainable mobility system for the city.