The new forms of urban mobility

Urban Mobility: an overview of new forms of transport

In cities, people’s travel patterns have changed significantly and are still changing. New forms of urban mobility are emerging, and are impacting the world from an economic, social and environmental point of view. Let’s take a look at these new forms of urban mobility.

What is urban mobility?

As its name suggests, it is essentially about cities, and more particularly large metropolises. But let us define the concept of urban mobility more precisely.

Definition of urban mobility

Urban mobility refers to the movement of people within cities. It therefore focuses on a limited urban perimeter, and does not include inter-urban mobility (travel from one city to another) or rural mobility. All modes of transport which presume to go beyond the city limits are therefore excluded from the notion of urban mobility, as is the case for trains, planes and boats.  

It therefore concerns the flow of journeys within a single city, and includes the daily and recurrent journeys made by inhabitants, whether to go to work, to do the shopping or for leisure.

Urban mobility

The changing face of urban mobility

In recent years, urban mobility has taken on a different face. Between the environmental commitment of leaders and citizens, different ways of working (home office), and the diversification of the transport offer, users are now turning to new means of locomotion. The advantages for city dwellers are numerous:

  • A more fluid network and less congestion in city centres;
  • Easier parking;
  • Less pollution;
  • Simplified life for users…

It should be noted, however, that the use of the car and traditional public transport (metro, bus, tramway, etc.) remain the majority.

More committed individual travel modes

Urban mobility inevitably results in less frequent use of the private vehicle and car use. This indirectly contributes to a shift towards environmentally friendly and health-conscious mobility. Urban mobility enthusiasts are thus adopting individual, but more committed modes of transport.

Electric scooters

Combining power, autonomy and ergonomics, the electric scooter is a real success in the city. It allows you to move quickly around the city without suffering from traffic jams and with very little impact on the environment. Many cities now offer self-service electric scooters. 

Hoverboards and electric unicycle

Unicycles and hoverboards, with their futuristic look, are very popular with city dwellers. This individual means of transport is perfectly suited to use in the city, and is particularly light, autonomous and fast. Micromobility is taking hold in city centres, as much for its practicality as for its fun aspect.

Walking, skating, rollerblading, cycling

Soft modes of transport have also been on the increase in recent years. Walking and cycling remain the most popular means of transport in the city, and bike-sharing is a real success. These modes are particularly interesting for short distances.

Skateboarding and rollerblading are still marginal, but they are a real commitment to soft mobility.

Urban mobility

Shared mobility vs Urban mobility

All forms of mobility are undeniably interrelated, and each has repercussions on the others (both positive and negative). As far as shared mobility is concerned, it is a real ally of urban mobility, as it limits the use of individual means of transport.

Carpooling and carsharing

As we have seen, the use of the car is still very much in the majority in cities. However, this doesn’t mean that no steps are being taken in this respect to promote urban mobility. Carpooling and carsharing are means of shared mobility that help to reduce the use of individual cars and the congestion of urban centres. 

 

With carpooling, the driver chooses his destination and invites other users to share his car with him for the duration of the journey. Car-sharing, on the other hand, consists of making a car available on a free-floating or loop basis (the car is either left at the point of arrival or returned to the point of departure). Car-sharing thus allows city dwellers to take advantage of a car without having to buy one.

What about Demand-Responsive Transport?

Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT), as proposed by Padam Mobility, acts in a different way in favour of urban mobility. It is rather through an inclusive mobility, where the needs of all are taken into account (people with reduced mobility, people working at night…), that DRT intervenes. 

 

Moreover, Demand-Responsive Transport allows rural and suburban dwellers to travel to the city without saturating the roads. It offers the possibility of leaving the personal vehicle in the garage to travel to the outskirts of large cities, and then leaving users the choice of using the mode of transport of their choice.

a multimodal approach

Studying people’s daily movements is becoming increasingly complex. Where once a trip from one point to another was considered a single journey, it is now necessary to take into account all the steps required to make that same journey. There are many factors that complicate transport today, and journeys made with a single means of transport, on a single route, are becoming rare. The distance between home and work often leads people to make detours and optimise their trips. For example, it is not uncommon for people to drop off their children at school before going to work, to stop at the drive-through to do their shopping, or to go to the bakery to buy their lunch… 

 

While many of these trips are made by car, many users use several means of transport to make them. Multimodality is therefore a central element of urban mobility, and each trip from point A to point B must no longer be considered as a single trip, but must take into account all the modes of travel used.

 

Aware of the challenges of the transformation of urban mobility, Padam Mobility contributes to these changes by offering a committed Demand-Responsive Transport service.

ghita@padam.ioThe new forms of urban mobility
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