Five questions for… René Schripsema (Groningen Bereikbaar)

We periodically ask 5 questions to one of our partners. Read below what exactly they do, how important mobility and innovation are to them and how they see the future of mobility.

We asked René Schripsema, director of Groningen Bereikbaar, 5 questions.

Company: Groningen Bereikbaar
Number of employees: around 30

You recently became director of Groningen Bereikbaar. What are you going to focus on in the coming period?

I think ‘accessibility’ is too small a word. The most important thing is that it is not about the accessibility of the city in itself, but about how we ensure sustainable accessibility of the entire region. As far as I’m concerned, it’s much more about the integral sustainable journey.

It is important to look at the different target groups. We now often talk about 200.000 travelers during rush hour, but this is a total of different groups of travelers with different travel motives. Students, commuters, recreationists, hospital patients, travelers: they cannot be lumped together. By means of data analysis, we can get to know the target groups better and adjust our approach accordingly.

What mobility challenges do you have or see?

The first challenge we see lies in the area of accessibility as a permanent theme for residents, companies and institutions. The region is in full development, think of demographic developments, the city is expanding and, moreover, there is a major housing challenge. Then there is the growing daily traffic flow. And both in the city of Groningen and in the region there are almost always large and small infrastructure projects on roads, rail and bridges that have the necessary impact and that also contribute to the accessibility and economy of this region.

In addition, making mobility more sustainable is a second challenge that we see. Sustainability is an important spearhead for residents of our beautiful province and at the same time for companies and institutions that are active in our region. We make employers aware of the opportunities that sustainable mobility offers. You can think of cost savings, being an attractive employer and CO2 reduction, for example. We offer employers insight and tailor-made advice into the possibilities they have, for example by identifying the potential.

The future of mobility: what do you hope it will look like?

I think that in the future we will see a very wide range of means of transport. The speed pedelec, shared cars, buses, trains and much more. Self-driving vans will be installed on a number of routes in the city of Groningen.

However, to make optimal use of all modalities, all options must be coordinated much better. There are already great initiatives that contribute to this. Consider, for example, the cycle routes that facilitate fast bicycle traffic and make the cycling journey and experience a lot more pleasant and efficient. However, these types of initiatives should be linked more to the broader perspective. How do I get to the hub in Gieten by car from Stadskanaal and how do I take the bus and cycle the last bit to work in the city center of Groningen? It is important to take the travel experience (time, money, quality) as a starting point. Together with administrators, the business community and governments, we must take this to a higher level in order to continue to be able to travel pleasantly and sustainably in the future.

Which mobility innovations do you think play an important role in this mobility transition?

Whether it is an electric bicycle, car, train or hydrogen plane, the means are not that interesting. Only, how do you create an overview of all the different modalities? For example, how do you ensure that there is an easily accessible place somewhere for the last kilometer where there are enough shared bicycles for the end user? Many sub-projects have already been completed, but often not yet connected to other projects. I hope that in the future there will be an integrated, well-organized and transparent network with which the end user can easily plan and complete his entire journey, from door to door.

When I look at innovation, I think it is important, for example, to have an integrated platform that allows travelers to plan their travel movements in a sustainable, smart and efficient way. Within Groningen Bereikbaar we like to think along about this, we look at where the real substantive innovation is and what the possibilities are to try it out and scale it up together with the network. All this to keep the city and region sustainably accessible in the future.

Why is it important for Groningen Bereikbaar to be a partner of Hive.Mobility?

At the office of Groningen Bereikbaar there is a Loesje poster with the text ‘Why make things difficult when we can do it together’. I think this is a beautiful statement that exemplifies the power of collaboration.

I think we need multiple stages at the level of innovation in mobility. It starts with an incubator, where experts devise what contributes to the mobility transition. Then you have to scale up. Only when an innovation is used, you know whether it really works and has added value. Hive.Mobility and Groningen Bereikbaar can work together even better at this level and thus offer added value. Groningen Bereikbaar has built up an interesting network of companies and institutions in the city of Groningen in recent years and is now expanding it in the province. We are also in direct contact with end users through various channels: residents, commuters, visitors and students. By using each other’s network, it is very easy to innovate and scale up. Innovation issues can be tackled together. Partnerships are the solution to many of the issues we have in this domain. We are happy to build on the successful collaborations that already exist.