Future Lab Mobility Forum #5: Shaping the Future of Urban Mobility and Transport

What does the mobility of the future look like in the metropolises of our European neighbors? How can commercial transport and urban logistics be organized both efficiently and sustainably? At the fifth Future Lab Mobility Forum (Zukunftslabor Mobilität) by Kühne Logistics University and Deutsche Verkehrs-Zeitung (DVZ) on 28 September, Dr. Chloë Voisin-Bormuth from the Paris think tank, La Fabrique de la Cité, and Martin Posset of Thinkport Vienna gave a talk on the opportunities and challenges of new use concepts for each city’s public space on the Seine and the Danube. This look at France and Austria concluded the event series which ran since fall 2019.

KLU President Prof. Dr. Thomas Strothotte and DVZ editor-in-chief Sebastian Reimann greeted participants on site and online and introduced the Future Lab Mobility Forum. “There’s a lot of talk about designing the future, renewal, and modernization,” Reimann explained, “and that’s exactly what we want to do with you today.” How are cities like Paris and Vienna organizing the logistics of the future? What specifically will have to change in the near future for a successful, life-enriching transformation of cities?

Logistics as Part of Urban Planning

Dr. Chloë Voisin-Bormuth, director of studies and research at the Paris think tank La Fabrique de la Cité got started with insights from the forthcoming Olympic city. Political decision-makers are pursuing an ambitious policy of redesigning public space to make more room for pedestrians and active mobility. The demands of logistics activities, however, are not always taken into account. Since the coronavirus pandemic, some streets in Paris have been converted into restaurant patios, for example, which occupied delivery zones. Suppliers often had to double-park.

In addition, among the greatest challenges is the increase in delivery vehicles in cities, currently compounded by the COVID pandemic and simultaneous targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As of 2024, diesel vehicles will no longer be allowed in Paris and some surrounding cities. “This is a problem for the logistics sector, which is dominated by very small, independent companies that can’t afford the great expense of renewing their fleets,” Voisin-Bormuth explained. A potential solution: to bring goods by rail to hubs in Paris or nearby peripheral cities and transport them onwards with environmentally friendly vehicles instead of operating the whole route with trucks. Use of the Seine for logistics in the city is also growing.

Testing Solutions on Site

Martin Posset from Vienna backed his Parisian colleague on many points. “Logistics must become – and is becoming – part of urban planning,” he emphasized. Vienna is also trying to bring logistics into the city to allow for last mile transport with freight bicycles or electric vehicles. One example is RemiHub, a project which uses local public transport routes for transient warehouses which serve as a transshipment point before the last mile into the inner city. WienMobil is putting a different idea into practice. At “mobility points” you can catch local public transport, rent a bike, and pick up shipments at parcel lockers. This consolidates goods transport and avoids unnecessary stops. Looking ahead he said, “The small issue that must change: We have to move from talking to action. Don’t just nod. Get active!” To motivate people it is essential to put projects into practice on site. “Many people, politicians included, haven’t a clue about logistics. They really have to see new things on site to get motivated.” Policy-makers in particular should not eschew conflict. In Vienna, a 10-square-meter parking place in a prime public location runs about 120 euros per year – for a car. “The cost per square meter for an apartment runs much higher. If this space is to be used differently, policy-makers can’t shy away from conflict with car owners,” he said.

The fifth and final issue, this concludes Zukunftslabor Mobilität. In preparation for the ITS World Congress in Hamburg, the series has addressed questions and issues surrounding the mobility of the future in our cities over several editions. Beginning on 11 October, the congress showcases ideas about intelligent mobility and the integrated transport of tomorrow thru 15October. KLU will participate variously.

More Information:

Future Lab Mobility Forum 1-4 (videos)