Five questions for… Janet Veldstra (University of Groningen)

Every month we ask one of our partners 5 questions. Read below what they do, how important mobility and innovation is to them and how they see the future of mobility.

We asked 5 questions to dr Janet Veldstra, assistant professor of Mobility and Behavior at the Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences of the University of Groningen and member of the core team of Hive.Mobility.

Organization: University of Groningen
Number of employees: 5.500

Can you tell us a bit more about your organization, what do you do?

The University of Groningen (RUG) is an internationally oriented university with approximately 30.000 students and 5.500 employees from the Netherlands and abroad. We connect education and research with sustainable and economic processes in society and actively collaborate with social partners. The university consists of eleven faculties, 9 of which deal with themes related to smart mobility. In 2019, we drew up an innovation agenda around this theme with the researchers from these faculties. This document contains the research plans of about 40 researchers, who focus on the themes: Open sharing mobility and logistics networks, Governance in smart mobility networks, Business and organization models and Smart solutions.

Which challenges do you see in the field of mobility?

The transformation to smart, inclusive and sustainable mobility systems entails large-scale system changes, which need to be looked at from different perspectives. For example, new smart solutions and technologies need to be designed for transporting people and freight in open and connected networks. These networks enable the introduction of sub-concepts. This requires, among other things, the design of new algorithms that allow planning and control of operations in these mobility networks. More insight is also needed into the factors that influence the adoption, acceptance and appropriate use of these new technologies, concepts and systems by different user groups, in different spatial contexts and at different scales. In addition, this development requires carefully designed frameworks and governance to function safely and responsibly within current and future legal and ethical frameworks. It also requires an adaptive infrastructure and innovative solutions in the development and organization of public space.

Which mobility innovations play a role within your organization?

In concrete terms, we distinguish the following four key aspects in smart mobility in our innovation agenda: the role of smart modes of transport (e.g. vehicles and ships), the role of smart infrastructure and the connection with the environment, the role of vehicle and freight communication and data and the role of smart tools for design, planning and control. Within these key aspects, we look at people and private and public perspectives.

The future of mobility: what are you hoping it will look like?

Hopefully, the future will be a world in which people and goods can move in a climate-neutral way, in which there is room for a healthy, inclusive living environment.

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

As mentioned, we see that the transformation to smart, sustainable and inclusive mobility entails large-scale system changes. This requires input from various scientific disciplines, but it also requires cooperation with other (knowledge) partners from the region. That connection is exactly what Hive stands for and what makes being a Hive.Mobility partner so valuable.