Four simple thoughts on future mobility

MMKM's current vision for urban mobility is based on the interplay of the city, its inhibitors and their mobility. We came up with 4 simple schemes that capture our present thoughts about a near mobile future.


A vehicle originates where contextual needs coincide with human desires. Both forcefields house a large variety of aspects such as aerodynamics, size, weight, power or pollution, but also cost, ease of use, comfort or general appearance. From this point of view, technology is only an enabler that allows creating answers to certain needs or desires. Simultaneously, technological popularisation could also induce new human desires. In fact, contextual needs and human desires are in constant evolution. Over the last decade, a lot has changed for both without satisfactory answers from the automobile industries. We think there is an urgent need to rethink vehicles to become a splendid crystallisation of these two forcefields.



It is generally known that human mobility is shifting from a commodity towards a service. Values such as cost, efficiency, sustainability and flexibility create an environment in which a single modal solution is hard to fit in. A transmodal approach that unites diverse sectors is unavoidable and simultaneously indispensable. The era of the mono-functional mode is fading out; moving 'through the mobility chain' is becoming increasingly common. The challenge remains in combining all benefits of each mode and creating fluid intermodal changes. To facilitate this, we rethink modes, nodes and interactions in a transmodal structure.


Current limitations mean future opportunities. Being driven by innovation, we try to tackle problems in a different way. The current evolution of driver-embedded mobility is conceived and created top-down: to get a grip on the immense complexity of its implementation, only the top levels of road infrastructure are included. It will take years of mapping, learning and improving before the top-down technology has cascaded to the tiniest level. By approaching conditions and limitations in an offbeat form, it is possible to invert this principle; thus to grow from the bottom up. Following this path, driver-embedded technology can already be introduced in areas where it matters the most: there where it interacts directly with people.



Vehicles are not isolated objects. They are always operating in a certain environment and serving human beings. Approaching a vehicle as a detached item often results in a segregated functionality, increasing conflictual situations. How is mobility shaping the city and vice versa? What will the future city look like? What will it mean to its inhibitors? If mobility is properly conceived in a holistic way, it corresponds to both environment and user and can transcend its primary role.


(Lowie Vermeersch, Wouter Haspeslagh)