Turin, Italy is experimenting with autonomous cars and electric scooters, while London, UK is looking to become the most walkable city in the world.
The debate around mobility is growing. It’s not any longer about traffic and bike lanes, but about transforming our cities and creating new partnerships to make smart mobility the end goal.
It’s interesting to see how the city of Turin in my native Italy is really becoming an open innovation laboratory with important projects revolving around mobility.
The first is the new memorandum of understanding (MOU) on autonomous cars signed with the Italian Transportation Ministry and a few private/public partners, including the city’s two main universities.
“In a city like Turin known for its automotive industry, it’s an important challenge to look at the future of ,” said Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino in a Facebook video.
The new MOU allows car manufacturers and autonomous car companies to be part of the testing in the city of Turin.
“The city will become an experimental laboratory,” commented commissioner Maria Lapietra, in charge of mobility for the city. “The true innovation about this project is that we’re not going to use a dedicated track to experiment with autonomous cars. It’s important for us to test this new technology in real city, with real traffic, and real problems. We want to be a true test for the future of our city.”
“Our goal is not only testing this technology, but also creating an ecosystem, which includes autonomous cars, drones, and robotics, that can contribute to new mechanisms aimed at bringing innovation to the city and attracting new business,” said commissioner Paola Pisano, in charge of innovation for the city.
In addition to autonomous cars, Turin will also be experimenting with electric scooters. The Mayor has, in fact, announced that the city has partnered with LimeBike to bring their scooters to Turin and its first Italian city — the company debuted in Europe with a launch in Paris in June.
The partnership, to start between now and September, brings around 300 scooters to Turin to be rentable during the day , from dawn to sunset— and not at night. User will also have the option to bring the scooter home to recharge it and get credits on the Lime app — in a way mimicking what the so-called “juicers” do in the US.
In addition to Turin, London is also trying to bring more mobility innovation. London’s first ever walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, has unveiled the capital’s first Walking Action Plan. It sets out how London will become a city where walking, for those that can, is the most obvious, enjoyable and attractive means of travel for all short trips.
The plan has an ambitious vision to make London the most walkable city in the world, with a million extra walking trips taking place each day by 2024. Also, the Mayor of London wants to increase the proportion of people walking, cycling, and taking public transport to 80% of journeys by 2041, from 63% now. And the Mayor is investing a record £2.2bn in streets across London to make them better for walking and cycling, and improve air quality.
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “Walking is a fantastic way to get around and explore London, and getting more Londoners to walk regularly is essential for the health and future prosperity of our city. Whether you’re popping to the shops or heading for the local train station, we’re investing record amounts to make walking the safest, easiest and most enjoyable way of getting around. By making it easier for Londoners to leave their cars at home and walk instead, it will tackle the air pollution crisis and reduce congestion as London’s population continues to grow. It will have a truly transformational impact on our city.”