Mobility Poverty Challenge: How do we prevent people’s exclusion in our mobility system?

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Rising petrol and electricity prices; increasing digitalisation and declining public transport supply, among other things, are causing more and more people to have problems getting around. Sustainability and shared mobility do not seem to be for everyone, and measures to encourage them may even exacerbate the problem. This increases the risk of social exclusion.

The province of North Holland and DRIFT are concerned about mobility poverty and wonder what we can do about it to keep these people mobile. However, little is still known about the extent of the problem, the exact target groups and what instruments work (and what, above all, do not). We are therefore keen to engage with partners to reach a shared understanding and an aligned approach.

Since mid 2022, we have been working on this challenge with network partners in various working group sessions. Would you like to think along and be part of the solution? Contact me at Tips are also welcome in the comments.

Project phase

In the spring of 2022, this topic was brought up during one of Amsterdam Smart City’s Demodays. Later that year, the Cocreation- and Transition days were used to facilitate and continue discussions around everything related to Mobility Poverty. During those three sessions, Maxim Burlini and Chris de Veer from The Province of North-Holland, and Gijs Diercks and Emil Beemer from DRIFT, presented the topic and initial research results. Furthermore they used the different parties at the table to gather input for follow-up questions for research, did some brainstorming on different policy instruments, and they got an idea of what’s already happening in terms of related projects in the region. For now, there’s a focus on the following two subjects: 1. Local research on the perceptions of mobility poverty. Getting into the neighbourhood. How do people really experience this at street level? Is it really such a problem? What do they think would be needed to feel more free/mobile? Additionally, there is a need to better understand the problem geographically, where is it happening exactly? 2. Strengthen connection between local initiatives (e.g. neighbours sharing a car) and policy. How can policy, perhaps in collaboration with the market, encourage and facilitate the emergence of these kinds of local initiatives? And how can we smoothen the overall interaction between citizens and public policy? This challenge is currently on the verge of the creation of a coalition of commited parties.

What is the goal of the project?

Broadly speaking, the goals of this project are; addressing the concept of Mobility Poverty among powerful organizations and policy makers, gaining a better understanding of the subject (geographically and experience wise), and finding ways to bridge the gap between citizens and policy.

What is the result of the project?

This challenge revolves around value for the public, as its aim is to increase access to mobility methods for those who experience a lack of. Continuation of research on this subject will amplify the struggles and needs of citizens regarding travel behavior, and it will help enforce links between citizen initiatives and policy makers.

Who initiated the project and which organizations are involved?

The topic of Mobility Poverty was alarmed within the Amsterdam Smart City network by The Province of North-Holland and The Dutch Research Institute (DRIFT). A variety of parties have been contributing during the different working sessions. For example: The Municipality of Amsterdam, The ‘Transport Region’, Rebel, The University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam, and Overmorgen.

What is the next step?

January 26, DRIFT, The Province of North-Holland and Amsterdam Smart City will come together once again with a group of attendees from the previous working sessions. During this gathering, two different follow-up studies/projects will be proposed to the group.

These proposals will serve as tangible examples of what collaboration around this subject could look like. This will help the attending parties formulate what should or shouldn’t be included in a program around the subject of Mobility Poverty. Furthermore, the attendees will be able to bring in their own running projects related to this topic, and gather advice or help if needed. Finally, we will conclude the session by gathering and forming a group of commited parties, who are willing to commit and contribute to a (research)project on Mobility Poverty.