The activities of WG 2 have been kicked-off in the conference TUCTE 2180 within a dedicated session. This session brought together researchers and developers involved in the design of vehicles and mobility services and representatives of user organizations. They together discussed benefits of a user-centered approach in the development of tomorrow’s mobility, exchange best practices but also examine barriers and opportunities to overcome them. Finally, how the future European Transport and Mobility Forum can be utilized for implementing this collaboration was explored. The session was opened by impulse talks from Erzsébet Földesi, MBE and Matteo Mussini, CER followed by a discussion of panelists and the audience.
All participants agreed on the benefits of user-centered transport. It was also agreed that the method of universal design (UD) represents a design strategy which is an appropriate tool resulting in transport vehicle, infrastructure and services flexible enough to accommodate to everybody’s needs. However, there is still a need for research on how to apply UD in the field of transport, and an even bigger need to educate transport stakeholders about it.
Participants discussed that access to transport vehicles and infrastructure is not about one person’s wish but that of everybody. Low floor buses were mentioned as good examples of UD providing equal access to the vehicle for everybody, including elderly, women with buggies, people with disabilities and people with heavy/big luggage).
Immediate action has to be to share good practices in this field. Some vehicles have long lifespan (e.g. aircrafts), to change their layout is hard. That is why there is no time to waste to include users’ aspects into the new developments. Users have to be in the loop very early so that developers can learn users’ needs, but also users will know the limits of technology.
There was agreement that there is no doubt that involving users’ perspective into the future mobility system may lead to innovation in this field.
As a result of this workshop, importance of user-centered transport was supported by academics, developers and users.