The 2020 Urban Mobility Daily Summer Reading List

Compiled by Stephanie Hagen, Director, Urban Mobility Company

This year Summer might not be the season of sun and fun that we all dreamt of, but we are sure that you can still use some R&R&M: Rest & Relaxation & Mobility! Which is why the UMWeekly team has put together this special newsletter full of some of our most engaging reads of the year so far. Whether you are working on your tan at the beach, next to a pool or on the miniscule balcony of your shoebox appartment (raises hand), lose yourself in some of our favorite longform articles from 2020. 

1. Walking as a Service (WaaS) – Does it Have Legs? by Glenn Lyons, Mott MacDonald Professor of Future Mobility, UWE Bristol

There has been a lot of recent hype and attention given to ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS). In January 2019 I posted on LinkedIn: I just walked – last two days in London between multiple locations. No bus. No tube. No Uber. No bike. Thanks to a major new innovative collaboration between Google Maps and my new desert boots – called ‘Walking as a Service’.

It was a bit of fun. I’d coined a new phrase to have a dig at MaaS which was getting all the attention and yet not giving any attention to walking. The post got nearly 40,000 views, hundreds of likes and many comments. Perhaps there was something in this?!

 2. Electric Skateboards – A Faster Way to Bring EVs to Market by Marc Amblard, Founder & Managing Director, Orsay Consulting

The industry is scrambling to bring electric vehicles (EV) to market quickly to meet tightening CO2 emission and CAFE standards, or OEMs will pay hefty financial penalties. However, this should be done with the smallest investment possible given the remaining uncertainty as to the life volumes and ramp-up curves of these new vehicles. 

Over the past year, several products — and startups — have emerged that enable companies with limited expertise or resources to build full EVs or have them built under contract. Modular, electric rolling chassis, a.k.a. skateboards, are specifically designed to be “mated” with bodies of varies types and shapes, in an approach that is reminiscent to the coach builder industry of the 1930s. 

3. Zero Pollution Vision: Europe’s Main Goal by Clara Anderson, Digital Communication Strategist, Meep

Transition to electric buses. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Greater passenger comfort. Or even reducing noise in urban areas. These are only some of Europe’s goals when establishing objectives concerning the major shift that urban mobility is currently experiencing. 

Some European cities are taking the lead when it comes to addressing the problem. Metropoli such as Paris or Madrid are pursuing green technological initiatives, to make mobility sustainable.  However, these cities have had to overcome some barriers along the way.

4. Your Guide to the French Mobility Orientation Law by Clémence Vernhes, Public Affairs Manager, Autonomy; Stephanie Hagen, Director, UMCo; Rebecca Sands, Content & Parnerships Manager, UMCo

At the end of 2019, the French government approved a set of sweeping reforms known as the French Mobility Orientation Law (or the LOM in French) that are set to radically transform the county’s mobility sector. The LOM not only seeks to reduce CO2 emissions by decreasing car ownership, encouraging “greener” forms of mobility such as cycling and empowering cities through the creation of new, local authorising bodies but also to facilitate the operation of new mobility businesses in France.

The Autonomy and UMCo teams have poured over the 189 different articles and have identified, translated and explained the 10 most interesting ones for new mobility companies looking to enter or expand their operations in France.

5. MaaS and Freedom (Part One & Part Twoby Alessandro Sosi, COO, OpenMove

We all want to feel free to move. Never as in this precise historical moment, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, can we experience and appreciate the value of this freedom. A freedom that is very often taken for granted but is now magnified as a necessity. “Mobility plays a vital role for the internal market and the quality of life of citizens who enjoy the freedom to travel” says the incipit of the European Union’s White Paper on transport published in 2011.   

The point therefore is to be able to combine the need for mobility – including the personal desire for freedom – with its sustainability. It seems an ambitious challenge: Is it possible to look to the so-called MaaS to address the new paradigm of mobility? Can this MaaS, and the need for sustainability, respond to our desire for freedom of movement?.

6. Restoring Public Transport after COVID-19: Bike-Transit Systems to the Rescue! by Peter Biczok, Transport and City Planner, Remix

The Dutch bike-transit system should be our guide to not only encourage public transport use, but to also make it more efficient and attractive by offering higher frequency service with even better coverage. How is that possible?

As we seem to be reaching the light at the end of the COVID-19 quarantine tunnel, many of us question what this might mean for mobility, and particularly, for public transport.  Asian cities awakening from their own “winter sleep” suggest that the western public will also continue to avoid using public transport, instead opting to bike or walk. What is worrying is that car use in Asia is also up — understandable as people attempt to avoid contact with one another. 

And if you are looking for something to watch but there is nothing good on Netflix:  

 Check out some of our past editions of the Virtual Urban Mobility Workshops! Exploring a number of topics such as the interwining roles of the public and private sectors in the development of MaaS, the experience of female founders in tech and opportunties for foreign companies in the French mobility market, there is something for everyone! Watch now!


Already starting to fill up your Fall calendar with mobility events? Don’t forget to include the world’s largest virtual B2B and B2G sustainable, urban mobility event Autonomy Digital (04- 05 November). Tickets are free so grab yours today!