Due to the dynamic development of cities and the surrounding regions, problems in the field of transport and mobility lead to growing challenges on all levels. At the same time urban and suburban regions promise new opportunities as "hot spots" for innovations. Since research projects face limited possibilities and frameworks, they seldom reach their full potentials with regard to objectives of the mission oriented research within the programme "Future Mobility". Therefore further activities are needed to
Urban Mobility Labs complement mobility related research- and innovation projects through new, local and regional structures within urban space. Experimental approaches and "real experiments" not only enhance the practical relevance of the projects, but improve the support of the outcome diffusion within the social practice as well as in the transition processes. This intervention opens up the innovation process and fills the gaps within the Austrian innovation(funding)landscape.
The initiative "Urban Mobility Labs" (UML), driven by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (bmvit), was launched in the context of the research programme "Future Mobility". The initiative supports the setup of innovative and experimental environments for research, testing and implementation of solutions and measures in the field of transport and mobility. First steps are taken by incorporating the scientific community, citizens and stakeholders in politics and administration as well as other groups. The emerging structural frame shall enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of research, technology and innovation.
A comprehensive pool of knowledge regarding the feasibility of Urban Mobility Labs was generated in an exploration phase which started in 2014. In the context of the 7th call for proposals in the course of the research programme "Future Mobility", the implementation of Urban Mobility Labs was tendered in May 2016. The aim is to support the setup and the long-term functionality as well as the running of several UML as "carrying structure" for research, technology and innovation in the field of transport and mobility. Following Urban Mobility Labs where chosen and will meet this challenge:
Urban Mobility Labs address different topics and furthermore form structures and processes as well as an infrastructure to support thematic research projects or other innovation-relevant activities (innovation projects). Each UML has already defined a bundle of innovation projects as a "starter kit". In upcoming years this portfolio will be expanded with further national and European research projects.
On one hand UML activities should include the necessary upstream, downstream and accompanying processes (such as initiation/facilitation, mentoring/coordination, continuation/implementation). On the other hand they should comprise overarching activities for the purpose of verifying their effects, which can not be fulfilled by research projects or only in an unsatisfying manner. The UML activities thus form a research-complementary support framework for more efficient innovation processes and improved societal revaluation of transport- and mobility-relevant research in an urban context.
An overview of the Urban Mobility Labs in Austria can be found in the Quick Guide (in German language!).
28.02. - 02.03.2018
Europe‘s biggest conference on sustainable urban development will take place from February 28th to March 2nd 2018 in Vienna. The Urban Mobility Labs will be part of this conference – in a session on “Cities fast-track innovation with Experimental Zones” as well as in the URBAN FUTURE EXPO! Find out more here.
More information on Urban Mobility Labs can be found in the latest Policy Brief by AustriaTech and bmvit. The Policy Brief was written in German.