‘Choose to Challenge’ Talking to women in mobility

We’re bookending March with a celebration of women in mobility in honour of International Women’s Day!

 

‘Choose to challenge’ is a fitting theme for the mobility sector. Firstly, it acknowledges the trailblazing steps of women leading the way in a male dominated industry. Its critical women’s voices are heard in this arena – mobility plays a central role in gender equality. Accessible, safe and affordable transport is critical for supporting women’s access to employment, healthcare and other services. Secondly, we must ‘choose to challenge’ the environmental status quo. These mobility professionals give their insight into how we can work together to achieve those goals.

Laura Babío Somoza is a Project Officer at Polis Network, the leading network of European cities and regions working together to develop innovative technologies and policies for local transport. They aim to improve urban mobility through integrated strategies that address the economic, social and environmental dimensions of transport.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted our lives and changed the way we work, we socialise and the way we move. It has highlighted the importance of having high-quality public space and services reachable at a walking distance.

The concept of the 15-minute city is certainly not new but the pandemic has definitely brought it to the stage and put a light on it. The 15-minute city is a city where everything a resident needs can be reached within a quarter of an hour by foot or bike.

In the future, I see multimodality becoming efficient, seamless, safe and sustainable, with active modes and public transport as the backbone of our systems, and the concept of the 15-minute city a reality for many.

Local authorities and private mobility operators can offer reliable, affordable and innovative services but for a noticeable change to happen, there needs to be a general change of behaviour in our consumption habits (of transport, of goods, of food). Organisations can path the way to sustainability by developing their own mobility management plans and incentivizing sustainable trips.

Many companies offer cars to their employees, why not do the same with public transport or bike-sharing services? Commuting transport makes up a big proportion of any city’s transport share and organisations have the opportunity to make impactful change with their mobility planning.

It’s exciting to see how many cities are working hard to improve their transport systems, trying to become more sustainable through innovation. Everyday I’m surrounded by and work with people that passionately want to make transport more sustainable, safe and inclusive – it’s both inspiring and encouraging.”

Anna Craciun is the Partnerships Manager at Humanising Autonomy, a predictive AI company that puts human behaviour at the centre of urban mobility ecosystems. Their technology integrations make the cityscape safer for pedestrians, cyclists, commuters and drivers alike.

“Understanding the interactions between people and their surroundings was a key part of my university degree in Geographical Information Science. It’s something I continue to pursue throughout my career; from transport strategy creation to delivering innovation using AI for safety and placemaking.

Choosing a job within the transport sector after university was very difficult since it’s not a ‘traditional’ career path. Therefore, for the last 5 years, I have been actively involved in organising and delivering career talks and industry events as part of my STEM Ambassador role and as a member of the young professionals’ committee for the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation. This is an effort to guide pupils and university students towards a career within the transport & mobility sector.

I don’t think efforts should focus on predicting the future but instead focus on leveraging the transition period to implement and test current innovations to understand whether these have the potential to improve transport for all.

Shared solutions such as car-pooling and demand responsive transport are a great example of how new modes can fill the gaps in existing infrastructure. Understanding human behaviour using AI to build safer, more liveable places is also a key part of this transition period as this can help cities to meet their sustainability targets without losing the local dimension.”

Sandra Witzel is the Chief Marketing Officer and Board Member of SkedGo, technology covering 500+ integrated with 3000+ transport providers globally. She’s also the Co-Founder of Women In Mobility London.

“For us as a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) enabler, technology is a tool to innovate and drive certain topics, such as sustainability. Our solutions help mobility operators to integrate the latest technologies, for example multi- and mixed modal routing that encourages behaviour change towards greener travel.

Personally, I am most excited about the fact that MaaS is finally taking off. There is more and more top-down support from the public sector but also a lot of innovation from the private sector, which makes for great synergies.”

 

Beate Kubiz is a mobility thought leader specialising in analysis of new mobility technologies, agendas and behaviours. She supports business, government and communities understand the new mobility landscape with policy development, report writing and communications strategy. You can connect with her and her portfolio here.

“The most exciting thing about mobility is the potential for it to make positive changes to people’s lives. Transport is so fundamental, it’s at the core of communities. Good transport allows people to connect with family and friends. It ensures people aren’t excluded from jobs. Mobility is all encompassing in the sense it touches every aspect of our lives and has impacts on the community, the environment and economics.”

 

Huge thanks to everyone who contributed their insight to our ‘ Women in Mobility’ blogs in honour of International Women’s Day. You can read the first one here.

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Author Erin Heenan

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