A geek between data and environment, to build a more sustainable mobility

 

A news story from INNOVEIT 2019

 

Did you know that there is an Institution, within the European Union, that’s called the European Institute of Technology (EIT)? Its goal is to stimulate innovation, technological enhancements and education programs to positively impact citizens’ lives and planet’s sustainability.

And did you know that every year EIT organizes INNOVEIT, an event in which institutions, companies, investors, start-ups and students are invited to come together to present the results of the annual initiatives carried on within EIT and to discuss future common challenges?

 

Well, this year Dedagroup was at INNOVEIT 2019, that was recently held in Budapest, as the only Italian company to be nominated for the 2019 EIT Innovation Awards with its project SMASH. 

I flew to Hungary and had the opportunity to personally participate in the event: it has been so exciting to discover that the SMASH project won the second place in the EIT Public Award category!

It was a really good recognition, also because SMASH is a project made by people for the people: the fact that it has been voted in this specific category shows that the public actually perceived it as a useful tool to transform mobility.

 

In fact, SMASH has the objective of supporting the sustainable mobility players, such as public administrations, local transport authorities, public transport companies, in enhancing the services they offer to their communities.

These include, for example, bike or car sharing services or apps aimed at improving awareness and use of more sustainable ways of moving within a city.

 

Reuse data to build a more efficient and sustainable mobility offer

 

SMASH project aims at creating new sustainable mobility’s solutions through the intelligent and innovative reuse of diverse data sources. In particular, the project’s goal is to collect and reuse information made available by public and private companies dealing with transportation and sustainability issues, such as: 

 
  • public transport planned schedule and routes, actual service, electronic validations, passenger counts;
  • bikes’ counts, walking, bike and car-pooling paths tracked through mobility apps; 
  • routes traveled by vehicles and bikes of sharing services, etc.
 

Innovation lies in the simplicity and the economy of the approach: data that already exist - and that are normally collected for the most diverse goals - are put into relation, processed and aggregated so that they can also be used to respond to needs that are different from the original ones.

 

An example of this approach is monitoring how sustainable mobility is offered to identify the critical points, to assess their impact and to consequently plan specific improvement actions. That would be applied, for example, to the following issues: the systematic delays of the public transport service, the divergences between available cycle tracks and the actual most used routes, the gaps between the supply and the demand for bike and car sharing vehicles.  

The project is co-financed by Climate-KiC, one of the "Knowledge Innovation Communities" created by EIT and it’s carried on by a set of partners (BetterPoints, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Agenzia dell’innovazione Forum Virium Helsinki, Agenzia per l’energia e lo sviluppo sostenibile) that Dedagroup is coordinating.

SMASH has a two-year duration (2018-2019): during the first year, the project was focused on collecting information about what types of mobility data are available in cities and which are the monitoring challenges that could be tackled by insights coming from such data.

To do so, the project involved stakeholders of the sustainable mobility ecosystem from different European cities: Trento, Rovereto, Bologna, Ferrara, Reggio Emilia and Milano in Italy; Bristol, Norfolk, Leicester, Salford in the United Kingdom.  

During its second year, the identified monitoring and analysis scenarios have been transformed into services, such as data integration, processing and visualization, and tools, such as portals, maps and interactive dashboards. This combination of services and tools has been made available to the project’s stakeholders to verify their strengths, flaws and potential, with the aim of further enhancing them.

 

European cities at work to be smart and sustainable

 

SMASH is not only a project, but it’s meant to be a true partnership aiming at answering the following question: how to meet the needs of private and public companies working on sustainable mobility within small and medium-sized European cities? These urban centers, in fact, are relevant in terms of population – and therefore of impact on both the quality of life and the quality of the environment – as they host most of the European population.

Moreover, small and medium-sized cities are as riddled as big cityes with mobility planning issues, but, even though they also collect large amounts of data, they often do not have sufficient resources and technical skills to ensure that data management, processing and exploitation is carried out in the best possible way.  

The concrete effects on citizens of the services developed within SMASH project derive from a better and more efficient offer of sustainable mobility services - public transport, bike and car-sharing, cycle and pedestrian infrastructures, intermodal hubs, etc. Thanks to the in-depth analysis of the critical points of these services and to the understanding of the real demand for sustainable mobility, it is possible to adjust the trajectories of the development and improve the offer of public and private transport services.  

SMASH is one of several projects in which Dedagroup Public Services is involved: initiatives through which the company carries out research and development activities, new technologies implementation, new services prototyping and the development of new partnership at a European level. The final goal is to define innovative products and services to market, expanding and enriching our offer and the value we can offer to all our customers.