Last Wednesday, I took an early flight to Oslo after traveling to the airport in a taxi. I had just ordered it from my phone minutes before I left the apartment. I arrived at the Oslo airport, got the express-train to the central station and walked to the main venue of the Urban Future Global Conference, passing by a handful of e-scooters parked on the sideways.
As a person, I usually take these things for granted. As a product manager, I know that a lot of iterations and failed business models were involved in the process of getting us to this point. As an urban thinker, I know we are in a turning point of the way our cities are organized, perceived and lived in. The Oslo Urban Future Conference gave me hope that many people are motivated to make sure the change is for the better. So, how do we get there?
In most cities with a mature and integrated mass transport network, the mobility market leader is the operator of such a system. These market leaders need to learn how to use their position to develop a mobility platform that will continue to bring people to where they want to be in an efficient, equitable, and affordable way. Kudos to BVG and Ruter for exemplifying how that can happen!
Most of us associate shared mobility with apps that can open cars and sideways crowded with e-scooters. New sharing experiences are emerging to help organizations reduce expenses and friction for people to move around. One example is the municipality of Halden, in Norway. They are sharing their service fleet between employees but also with members of the community.
The convenience of online shopping is indisputable, but it is imperative to consider the contribution of logistics to traffic, accidents, and emissions in cities. While many municipalities are still struggling with how to approach the problem, Oslo, Malmö, and Stockholm are partnering with recycling companies and logistic providers to decrease emissions, noise, and traffic in the city center.
People flocked around a small room to attend the session ‘Mind Games: changing behaviour’. With not much choice but great agility, the chair and speakers decided to move the session to the foyer, where lunch had been served. We all sat quietly on the floor to listen to methods and examples to bring people together to change minds, behaviour and our cities.
The world is filled with lousy excuses that support the claim that cycling is only a commuting option in the flat lands and mild climate of The Netherlands and Denmark. When Lisbon launched their bike sharing program, some of these excuses became visible on the comments on their social media posts. But time has proven that cycling in the ‘City of the 7 Hills’ is actually an option.
I left Oslo after a field trip to the old town guided by Einar Kleppe Holthe, an entrepreneur passionate about the city and its birthplace — the district of Gamlebyen. As we walked down the streets of this small district, squeezed between the harbour and the railways, we were reminded that Oslo was not always the hype place we know it to be now. The ideas and efforts of many are transforming Oslo into a city where people want to live their lives.
What I brought back with me? The hope that, in a future not far away, our cities will become more livable — and lovable.
Founded in 2013, Trafi is a Lithuanian tech start-up. Trafi is working shoulder-to-shoulder with cities, countries, and companies worldwide to create the best in class Mobility-as-a-Service alternative for congested cities. Trafi offers cities the possibility to connect all mobility services into one single platform where users can check itineraries and also book their tickets and trips.
Trafi’s mission is to empower cities’ urban transportation with technology and know-how and encourage citizens to use more sustainable modes of transportation by accessing all services into one single platform. Trafi is currently live in 4 continents around the world and 7 cities.