European Transport and Mobility Forum

Citizens ask for technology or ask for mobility solutions?


(Alain L'Hostis) #1

In a recent research-action about the co-creation of mobility solutions with the inhabitants of a peri-urban municipality, we came with a prerequisite, imposed by the funder of the research, of developing technology.
What we discovered with the inhabitants is a clear demand, an expressed need for mobility solutions in this low density urban area, but we did not find any demand for technology.
The reasons we identified are:

  • Firstly technology is only a means to an end, and
  • secondly technology is never fully accessible (we observed low smartphone ownership and usage).

This create a difficulty for technology driven mobility innovation. How to take it onboard? Co-creation, or at least co-creation as we implemented it, is not the right way to promote technology driven mobility innovation.

(Christine Zeller) #2

This is a good point. I think most citizens ask for mobility solutions and do not care about the technology behind (of course there are also some who are also interested in the technology). I don’t know which approach in the research you mention was used - might be me co-creation with citizens is not really on the technology, but more on the solution side (e.g. in the sense of design thinking)?

(Alain L'Hostis) #3

Yes Christine you are right our approach was to build and share a diagnosis with citizens based on a survey, and from this let a small group of concerned citizens imagine solutions to the issues identified in the diagnosis. The focus was fully on the mobility solution side.

(Imre Keseru) #4

We had a similar experience with using technology when co-creating. In the LOOPER project, citizens in Manchester were not interested in collecting data or contributing to an idea generation platform online. They preferred face-to-face workshops and neighborhood walks instead. WE are still investigating if it has anything to do with the level of education/internet access/smartphone ownership etc.

(Christine Zeller) #5

@imrekeseru Yes, I also think that the reasons you mention are some of the causes. In addition probably aspects like age, perhaps also gender, … I would be interested what your investigations will show.
An additional reason I could imagine is simply that raising issues in an anonymous app might feel like taking effort just to see it vanishing in a big black hole of data. “Face-to-face workshops and neighborhood walks” probably feel more like real world with real issues and real people who might do real things to solve the issues (though in reality the output of workshops also often does not change anythins :frowning: )

(Imre Keseru) #6

Also a certain level of trust needs to be built i.e. to ensure that the input of the citizens will actually be used and the problems that they raise will actually be addressed. Therefore an engagement of the decision makers (e.g. the municipality) is important. An example is the application Fix My Street where citizens can report problems in the street with photos and location tagging which would then be forwarded to the responsible authority and followed up with feedback to the resident about each stage of the process.