In cooperation with the COST action, MIND-SETS organized the joint MIND-SETS/COST workshop in Bucharest on May 17. This workshop was the first of a series of events that MIND-SETS intends to organise in order to increase interaction with its stakeholders.

It was an opportunity to present the two projects, including what they offer and the complementary issues they address, to a select number of high-level stakeholders from Romania and to get feedback on the work done so far. A cross-section of the MIND-SETS target groups attended the workshop, including government officials, transport operators, representatives from the car industry and professors. There were 40 participants in total, including representatives from 10 European countries and South America.

DSC_4357The two projects, MIND-SETS and COST were introduced, and then some background was given on the mobility situation in Romania, the progress that has been made and the challenges they still face. More detail was given regarding both the MIND-SETS project and the COST project, which analyses ICTs, social networks and travel behaviour. Social networks are not location-based and have led to the intertwining of leisure with other daily routines. Unfortunately, current transport models don’t capture this or how complex our travel demand patterns have become. Lifestyle has become a generator of mobility mind-sets and the use of ICTs within mobility has led to new, large data sets. There is a need now to develop a new transport paradigm, and to think carefully about what the role of public policy and the public sector should be going forward.

There are a number of synergies between MIND-SETS and COST, given that they explore similar issues, and going forward there will be many opportunities for cross-fertilisation on these concepts. One challenge is to gain a deeper understanding of why mobility is important: it gives people social status, determines the relationships you make, dominates the conversation, influences self-esteem, is a mode of image projection and can even prevent or cause social exclusion. The new mobility occupies both physical and virtual spaces, sometimes simultaneously, as in the case of street texters. It is customized yet shared, and so there is less stress on ownership and more on mobility as a service.

DSC_4321Two interactive sessions on unlocking mobility behaviour were organised during the event. Participants were divided into 6 groups with a mix of people from different mobility-related fields (transport, urban planning and others). They were given a series of discussion questions on mobility and on how these issues manifested themselves in Romania.

While the questions were asked specifically about what participants have seen in Romania, most of them can be applied to any European city.

Some of the questions were:

  • Is flexibility the new habit?
  • The image of new mobility is a digitally connected, university-educated, urban dweller under 35, using cycle hire, Uber, car sharing services and public transport. Is this stereotypical newly mobile person really typical of what is developing out there?
  • Do people really know what mobility they want in the future? Did you know you needed an iPad?
  • New business models in mobility are powered by new technology. What kind of impact could these have in your city?
  • What are the major areas of policy research that the EC should support in order to facilitate changes in mobility behaviour?

How would you answer these questions? Join our LinkedIn Group and tell us what your experiences in your cities and countries have been.

For more information, contact Lucia Cristea of EIP