Cycling as a sustainable mobility solution for the future.
On the 22nd of June, we held our 10th MCube Speaker Series – part of the “MCube Speaker Series Future of Mobility” – on the rooftop terrace of Vorhoelzer Forum of the Technical University Munich. This time the session revolved around the question “Where can bicycles bring improvements and what are their limits?” It is widely known that cycling has the potential to revolutionize urban mobility, but concerns regarding personal safety must be addressed as well as providing secure cycling infrastructure. Three experts in the areas of cycling advocacy, urban logistics and traffic safety came together to discuss the potential of cycling as a sustainable urban mobility solution (thus promoting greener and more efficient transportation systems), and to display the key factors that need to interplay more strongly in the future to create safe, accessible, inclusive and enjoyable cycling experiences for everyone.
Introduced by Oliver May-Beckmann (Managing Director MCube), the event started off with 3 pitches by each of the invited mobility experts in their respective area of expertise.
Professor Marco Dozza (Professor of Active Safety and Road User Behavior at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences at Chalmers University of Technology) spent the last weeks cycling through Europe from Sweden to Italy to collect data on traffic safety. The objective of this data collection is to make vehicles more intelligent to prevent further accidents between cyclists and cars in the future. When asked about the main hindrance of the mobility transition (that is to say: encouraging more people to shift to bicycle usage as opposed to private car usage), Marco Dozza answered with it being a behavioral problem. Routine human behaviour frequently stands in the way of choosing more sustainable forms of transportation.
Most especially, the cycling infrastructure in urban areas needs to be improved. Whether it is to protect (and prepare) for rain or snow, provide wider cycling paths to increase feelings of safety, or establish smarter traffic flow systems (through advanced signal systems for example), cycling needs to become more attractive and accessible to all (both in urban as well as rural regions).
“It is happening but we need to go faster.” – Maria Deingruber
Lastly, Peter Blösl described the possibilities of urban freight through cargo bikes as “a new form of logistics”. To put it bluntly, cargo bikes contain “the good: a bike; the bad: a big bike; and the ugly: a big bike with a trailer.”
However, B4B (Business 4 Bikes) is already implementing and therefore actively testing the benefits of cargo bikes in urban freight transport. Taking space away from cars by cycling on the road as opposed to bike lanes (due to the sheer size of the B4B bikes) and by being faster than regular urban freight transport, cargo bikes have great potential to reduce CO2 emissions, particulate matter and congestion in cities.
“In the future we won’t have 4 lanes for cars.” – Peter Blösl
A number of interested people complemented our expert panel discussion with important questions about the role cycling will play in urban mobility in the future. Moderated by Nicolas Nießen (Technical University Munich), we discussed the extent to which politics (on a national as well as municipal level) and societal factors play a role in the mobility transition and how the transition can be sped up.
As Maria Deingruber pointed out: the popularity of the bicycle is growing in Bavaria (65% use their bicycle as a means of transportation) but the ratio of bicycle ownership and actual bicycle usage can be hugely improved. This introduced the discussion about last mile transport and micro mobility opportunities.
Overall, it became clear that personal safety, accident likelihood and practicality are deciding factors for individuals choosing their transportation means. For both personal and freight transportation, the bicycle represents a great alternative to the car in urban mobility and will play a vital role in the sustainable mobility transition in the near future.
About our speakers:
- Prof. Marco Dozza, Professor of Active Safety and Road User Behavior at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences at Chalmers University of Technology
- Maria Deingruber, Deputy Chair of the German Cyclist Association (ADFC) Bavaria
- Peter Blösl, Founder of B4B Logistics & Sustainability Manager at Hermes Germany
A big thanks to our speakers for the insightful discussion and the @ TUM for providing the splendid location above Munich’s rooftops.
“Zukunft der Mobilität” is a series of presentations by MCube – Munich Cluster for the future of Mobility in Metropolitan Regions, Technische Universität München and openLAB Urban Mobility.
Miteinander – Möglich – Machen