It helps cities to define priorities and simulate the impact of these new solutions on one or several of the selected indicators. In short, the indicators are at the heart of a comprehensive city approach.
Cities are taken through a clearly defined 5-step approach:
1. Analyse mobility situation and understand city projects
Cities need to ask themselves a lot of questions about what they want in the end. “Do we want to develop public transport? Or is it sufficient but citizens are not making use of it for reasons we do not understand.”
“Should we make it more affordable and how to better integrate the different forms of mobility (individual and public)? And what would be the impact on congestion and/or air quality?”
“Maybe we want to make reduced travelling time for commuters a priority, or rather accessibility for the impaired?”
2. Understand and identify city priorities
One of the trickiest parts of the process is to make well balanced choices: what is the city’s mobility vision and what should be prioritized to ultimately get there? The SMIs guide cities in making these choices. Again, lots of questions like: “do we put cutting greenhouse gases before safety? Travel time before affordability? Comfort and pleasure before energy efficiency? And what is the interrelation between these different dimensions?”
3. Select mobility solutions
Once priorities have been set, cities can then pick solutions from a toolbox called ‘solutions finder’. Some cities will swear by a bus rapid transit, others might opt for the integration of cycling and public transport. Yet other cities will benefit more from implementing park and ride schemes or offering real time online traffic information.
4. Cross-check solutions through stakeholder engagements and trials + identify enablers
In this phase it’s crucial to verify/simulate whether the considered solution(s)
5. Mobility plan
If all goes well the outcome should be an integrated mobility plan.
Toyota for example has been largely involved in smoothening the traffic flow in a busy main road in Bangkok, and is already studying the potential to scale the solutions put in place up to other parts of the city, before extending to the entire city and/or to other similar cities in other South East Asian countries.
It’s fair to say that this is a new approach, not only to work with city authorities and get insights but also to discuss mobility issues in a comprehensive way. And more importantly, the financing mechanism is adding an actual business perspective to what sometimes somehow unfortunately remains at the CSR level. Rightly full of good intentions and a lot of enthusiasm, but not always economically viable and hence not really sustainable in the long run.
April 2016 the European Commission has announced its endorsement of the Sustainable Mobility Indicators. Which is a big step for developing more sustainable cities.
And it’s not stopping there. The project members, including Toyota as a lead, have the ambition to present the final scale up model at the UN Habitat III conference end of 2016, where the UN will define the new urban agenda for the coming 20 years.