Panel discussion: the opportunities and challenges of shared mobility

Shared mobility can play an important role in the mobility transition, but it also brings up new challenges and issues. During the HIVE MIND event, various speakers from the market, government and research discussed this topic. The conclusion? More collaboration, research and an integrated approach are needed to boost shared mobility.

Shared mobility can potentially contribute to solutions for major challenges in the field of accessibility, spatial planning of cities and CO2 reduction. It is important, however, that governments, companies and researchers work together to tackle the challenges that these developments entail.

Led by Betty de Boer, chairwoman of Green Deal Autodelen II, Janet Veldstra (University of Groningen), Erik Meems (Century Autogroep), Sandra Knoop (Regio Groningen-Assen) and Stijn Ringalda (municipality of Groningen) joined in on a debate on March 22nd. Because how do you get shared mobility off the ground outside the urban area? How do you ensure sufficient demand? How do you make shared mobility compete with the private use of a vehicle? And what role do various parties play within shared mobility?

Various providers

The panel talked about the multitude of shared mobility providers in cities and what this means for the customer, the traveller and for the government. For the customer, ease of use should come first and it should not matter which provider delivers a vehicle. On the other hand, the market for shared cars is still developing. The market is still investing heavily, so it may be too early for providers to switch to one app where travellers can choose from all providers.

Private ownership

Another issue is whether people find it important to own their own car. Shared mobility is being pursued as a possible alternative to private vehicle ownership. However, encouraging the use of shared cars will be more difficult for people who already own a car than for young people who do not yet have their own car and who seem to attach less importance to it. For both target groups there should be better and more communication about the availability and possibilities of shared mobility in the neighbourhood.

New neighbourhoods

With the high demand for new homes, the question also arises of how mobility should be dealt with in the construction of new residential areas. Several speakers see opportunities to promote shared mobility by already focusing on this in spatial planning. Habitual behaviour is difficult to break, but moments to break your own behaviour are around events like moving. For example, people will then reconsider their travel behaviour. New neighbourhoods offer new opportunities. This is therefore an important moment for municipalities to enter into a dialogue with the residents of new neighbourhoods.

Intricate system of hubs

In order for shared mobility to be of real added value for residents, it must be organized in a smarter way. Both in new neighbourhoods and in existing ones. An intricate system of hubs located within walking distance of everyone’s front door was mentioned by various speakers as an ideal image. A wide range of different shared vehicles should be available at these hubs. The needs of different target groups, including young families, and the different times when they want to travel should be taken into account.
Shared mobility can also play a role outside cities, for example as a replacement or as a supplement to public transport. A joint approach from both the government and the market is necessary to stimulate and facilitate demand from the supply.

Joint approach

After a lively, interactive discussion, in the afternoon was concluded that more research needs to be done on the behaviour and needs of residents. The government must also play an active stimulating role and an integrated approach with hubs is needed to make shared mobility inclusive and successful.