On Friday I attended a presentation organised by Nesta about Intelligent Mobility. The buzz phrase was “Mobility as Service”: a future where people will no longer own a private car, rather the car-sharing club membership will be part of a “platinum Oyster card” which will include all transport options, at a price.
This is what Helsinki is already on course on establishing, and we certainly welcome the disappearance of private cars in London, freeing thousands of hectares of public space, presently rented out at scandalously low prices to polluters and killers.
However the panel, almost totally consisting of white middle aged men, stuck between their personal past and a techno-rich dreamland, said nothing about walking and cycling, the universal solutions to urban mobility. Even within the context of Mobility as Service, it is clear that walking and cycling produce positive externalities (such as lower future health bills) whereas public transport produces negative externalities. Surely a city-wide MaS service must include an incentive reward for every trip conducted on foot or by bike; otherwise the whole scheme is mispriced.
On the other side of the Baltic, people in Stockholm have realised that Vision Zero needs to be updated and modal share needs to be at the centre of the vision; there is widespread agreement that streets need to be reclaimed for the benefit of ordinary citizens who walk and cycle, as described in this short film by StreetFilms.