- Published on Jun 09, 2008
"The challenge is that the most commonly pursued solutions don't fully address urban transportation's increasingly complex human, physical and political context," said Susan Zielinski, managing director of U-M SMART, Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation, the event's host.
"For example, alternative fuels alone, while focused on environmental concerns, do not address the land-use, health, water-quality, infrastructure supply, or safety implications of strictly auto-based approaches. And pricing alone as a disincentive to car use without providing affordable and practical options only adds to the economic burdens of the working poor and elders on fixed incomes."
According to Zielinski, the good news is that innovative approaches to urban transportation are emerging world-wide. "We're evolving beyond the quest for silver bullet solutions and technical fixes toward more multi-faceted, connected, customized, practical, affordable, and systems-based solutions. This opens up entirely new solution spaces and related business and employment opportunities that form the foundation of a vital new mobility industry.
"Much like our personalized tele-communications portfolios have evolved to connect i-Pod, laptop, desktop, search function, GIS, cell phone, and more, the next generation of urban transportation is evolving to connect different modes of transportation, services, IT technologies, and designs and infrastructures to provide urban transportation portfolios that work for people, the planet, and the economy.
"Imagine a day, when steps from your door, or even from inside your home or office, you could enter a vital network of new mobility hubs, places near you that connect a whole range of transport amenities including buses, trains, streetcars, clean fuel taxis, and car share or bike share vehicles, and in some cases, day care, satellite offices, cafes, shops and entertainment. This is all brought together for you by a cell phone or PDA that offers real-time information on arrival and departure times and availability, as well as access to information on local restaurants, shops, services, maps and guides. The PDA also allows you to quickly and easily pay for these affordable modes and services with just a single wave past the reader. The beauty of the hub network is that you can transfer seamlessly from one mode of transportation to the other, informed of schedules and options all the way, and using the best mode for the purpose, gaining access to car share at one hub, and dropping it off at another to pick up a waiting bus or train. It's easy, it's convenient, it's affordable, and it's 21st century.
Innovating for the next generation of sustainable urban transportation goes beyond the traditional transportation sector to engage a wider range of industries including telecommunications, real estate, logistics, energy and utilities, finance and insurance, retail and small business services, and more. New mobility fosters important roles for a broad range of corporations and entrepreneurial enterprises both for local application and for export, and engages the private sector at the innovation stage, moving from Public Private Partnership to Public Private Innovation, she said.
SMART, a project of the Center for Advancing Research and Solutions for Society (CARSS), is working in partnership with Ford Motor Co., an emerging leader in the new mobility industry.
"Don't assume we're always going to be in the car business,'" said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. "We're going to be in the transportation business, and it's going to look very different 20, 30, or 50 years from now. The notion is you don't have to have ownership of a vehicle, you just want to get from point A to point B. You may have a car, a bicycle, a moped, and we at Ford and others are going to help you do that."
"Ford is doing some really interesting things," said Sue Cischke, senior vice president of Ford Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, and keynote speaker at the U-M conference. "How are we going to move people around? There are more people in cities now than live in rural areas, so they're all coming into cities and they can't afford personal transportation. How are we going to move these people? I see that as one of the things I'll be working real closely with Bill on, because it is a societal issue that will factor in how Ford Motor can be positioned for the next 100 years or so."
"Beyond thinking about how to make vehicles better, there's a great opportunity here for automakers and other firms around the world," said Zielinski. "Our hope is that the conclave will help companies move forward?by collaborating with other companies and industries to create sustainable and connected New Mobility options geared at growing urban populations?and markets."
The June conclave is geared to accelerate these opportunities. It brings together scholars, business leaders, entrepreneurs, transportation professionals, and public officials from around the world to share knowledge and experience, to support collaborative research, and to build a business and innovation network with the aim of accelerating sustainable urban transportation implementation in cities around the world.
As the public component of the conclave, the June 11 panel, "New Mobility Means Business" will take a journey into the near and not so near future, profiling how new services, products, transport modes, energy sources, technologies, and designs are converging to provide urban transportation portfolios that work for people, the planet, and the economy. Panelists representing Ford (including William Clay Ford Jr.), Royal Dutch Shell (both conclave sponsors), Cisco Systems, Cherokee, GoLoco, and Mapunity India will answer the question: How does New Mobility / sustainable transportation mean business for you, and how do you envision the future of the New Mobility industry globally? U-M President Mary Sue Coleman will welcome conference participants.
Contact: Susan Zielinski
Phone: (734) 763-1190 or (734) 709-4571
Contact: Raye Holden
Phone: (734) 647-5198