1. Hello Marielisa, as I mentioned, you recently published a paper on best practices within the Triangulum project regarding smart mobility. Could you explain to us why mobility is such an important part of making a district smart and sustainable?
M.P.: Mobility is unquestionably one of the main concerns of city administrations. It is not only one of the main source of pollution but also very expensive and accounts for huge amounts of energy consumption. Today cities are completely dependent on mobility dynamics and processes. When a city is trying to transform itself and be a reference when talking about smartness and sustainability, mobility is inevitably one of the aspects that needs to be tackled. Mobility is a very complex topic and has to be treated as such. The question that cities are trying to answer is how to use the available knowledge and the existing technology to shape the future-oriented mobility of tomorrow.
2. Could you explain what the three forerunner cities exactly do to make mobility more sustainable in their specific districts?
M.P.: One of the main objectives of the Triangulum mobility modules is to promote the modal shift towards more sustainable options. This is being pursued in the case of Manchester by the implementation of a managed service to provide power-assisted cycles, fitted with a battery powering a motor, which are available to the project partners such as the University of Manchester (UoM) or the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) for mail. Moreover, the electrification of the fleet is being promoted at both universities by the procurement and lease of electric vehicles to prove the business case.
In Eindhoven, the mobility tasks involve the purchase of intelligent chargers and the development of effective means of communication. Besides this innovative ICT solutions for better managing the parking facilities are being implemented.
The mobility modules in Stavanger include the installation of ICT- based charging solutions for EV mobility in ten private homes and one appartment building. This project not only allows the implementing company, Lyse, to gain data about energy consumption patterns and their effect on the grid but also gives more flexibility.
Furthermore with the objective to help achieving a reduction of emissions from traffic by switching to electric mobility, three 12 meter long electric buses have been purchased and are already circulating on the Stavanger roads. The project implemented by Rogland County Council includes besides the installation of the infrastructure, the training of the staff. The buses performamnce is currently being analyzed via an online monitoring system.
3. In all three cities, data is used to evaluate and develop the introduced mobility solutions. Could you tell us, what you already learned from the pilot projects?
M.P.: A number of lessons learned have emerged from the implementaiton so far; interesting is that most of them are principally about behavioural change. For example the promotion of the use of cargo bikes by non-cyclist requires training and awareness raising as well as the willingness to try something new. Aspects of health and safety requirements have to be considered for the implementation, since people are usually very hesitant to switch to bikes, when they feel unsafe or are unsecure.
Regarding data, a great challenge is the access to live data and the availability of interfaces to access the data i.e. APIs. The existing infrastructure also plays an important role. For instance when installing charging stations in private homes or apartment buildings, one has to check the ownership structure first but also the existing capacity of the electric circuits.
4. The Triangulum project started back in 2015 and continues until 2020, what did you already accomplish and what are the next steps within the progress of the project?
M.P.: The first three years of the project are about implementation. Currently we are in the 30th month of the project. Sofar most of the technology has already been installed and is up and running. There have been certainly some challenges on the way but having the electric bikes and buses on the roads, having the charging stations installed and innovative communication systems developed is already a great success. Moreover we have realized that within these 2,5 years of Triangulum there have been wider impacts such as the enhancement of the business case for EV at the MMU, where an additional vehicle has been acquired due to the success of the newly introduced ones by the project, or the emergence of the Nordic Edge, an international expo on smart cities which takes place annually since the beginning of the project in 2015. Currently we are trying to map and analyze all these broader collateral effects to promote the value of Triangulum internally in our Lighthouse and Follower Cities but also beyond. This will also form the basis for the project evaluation post the implementation period.
5. Besides the forerunner cities, the project also includes the three follower cities Leipzig (DE), Sabadell (ES) and Prague (CZ). How do you plan to transfer the gathered experiences from the forerunner cities to them?
M.P.: The University of Stavanger is developing the Cloud Data Hub, which will house the data required to monitor the demonstration projects as well as a wider set of open data from each of the Lighthouse Cities that can be used to support smart innovation. Baseline data collection, impact assessment, and the Cloud Data Hub role and architecture was used to prepare the reference architecture for replication: furthermore the replication work package is currently implementing a so called “training mission” composed of numerous workshops and webinars, dedicated to train and support the follower cities on the elaboration of their implementation plans. Based on the experience and lessons learned from the lighthouse cities and via a bilateral exchange with relevant partners and technology providers such as Lyse, Volker Wessels and Siemens, the Follower Cities have gained great amount of knowledge that have helped them to concretize their ideas for project implementation. Their implementation strategies will be finalized by the end of the present year and we are very excited to see how these cities continue their own journey towards becoming smart.
Marielisa, Thank you for your time and good luck with the project!