eHUBS and transport modelling: the case of Leuven. Webinar report

The Polis webinar e-Mobility hubs and transport modelling: the case of Leuven focused on eHUBS and the EU-funded project MOMENTUM and featured the participation of the city of Leuven, pilot city of the two projects and example of how a city can capitalize from its involvement in different EU-projects, in order to advance its sustainable mobility policy objectives.

In her welcome address, Karen Vancluysen, Secretary General of Polis, highlighted the importance of making sure that research and innovation is turned into local action so that new solutions are properly integrated into local urban mobility policies. After the welcome, the floor was given to the speakers: Irene Blazquez Jimenez (EMT Madrid) and Javier Burrieza (NOMMON) for MOMENTUM, Arjen Rodenburg (eHUBS Project Manager) and Goncalo Correia (TU Delft) for eHUBS, and Tim Asperges (Urban mobility advisor for the city of Leuven).

Irene Blazquez Jimenez, MOMENTUM Project Coordinator

Irene provided an introductory presentation to the MOMENTUM project and its main objectives, which include: identifying future scenarios that will be used in mobility planning in European cities; characterizing changes in travel behaviour and developing data-driven models with the aim of developing transport simulations and planning support tools to cope with new transport planning challenges. MOMENTUM aims at testing these tools in its pilot cities, which will provide knowledge and lessons learned to be compiled in guidelines for the practical use of the methods and tools developed by the project. Irene also illustrated how the project contribution will support three of the pilot cities (Madrid, Regensburg, and Thessaloniki) to enhance their existing transport models, and will lead to the development of a new multimodal transport model in Leuven.

Javier Burrieza, MOMENTUM Technical Coordinator

Javier built on Irene’s introduction and described the approach, methods, and activities undertaken so far in the project: the identification of challenges for transport tools related with the emergence of new mobility services led to insights that included both consensus areas among experts, but also uncertainties. Starting from this identification of challenges, MOMENTUM develops algorithms capable of exploiting the data available from emerging mobility services (for example, use and adoption patterns for shared mobility). Some of the preliminary results of this analysis: shared mobility adoption is much more widespread among younger citizens and highly educated population; door-to-door use prevails over multimodal use of carsharing services. With regards to the development of modelling tools using these new kind of data sources, the project has concluded that aIl models have not reached their full potential yet, and over time they will improve current techniques for transport simulation that will enable to cope with emerging new mobility services.

Arjen Rodenburg, eHUBS Project Coordinator

Arjen illustrated the project objective of demonstrating that shared electric mobility modes organised in hubs represent a good alternative to the use of the private car. The 7 pilot cities of the project (large, medium, and small-size cities) aim at the deployment of a total of 3070 shared and electric vehicles. This experimentation will also lead to the development of a set of guidelines for cities that aim at replicating the eHUBS experience. Some of the intermediate results of the project are: the definition of technological and functional requirements for eHUBS; recommendations on the uptake of eHUBS; and the deployment of eHUBS in Nijmegen and Arnhem.

Goncalo Correia, eHUBS WP Transport Modelling leader

One of the objectives of eHUBS was to identify potential for placing hubs in the cities of the consortium, by defining areas with maximum potential (not exact locations), based on a series of factors: socio-demographic characteristics, mobility patterns and offer. A second activity undertaken in the context of the project is linked to the theme of behaviour change in favour of shared mobility: the goal was to identify potential user groups based on their attitudes towards shared mobility and on socio-demographic characteristics. The survey among potential users of eHUBS identified attitudes towards shared mobility, environmental stances, and perceived barriers to the use of shared mobility, as main factors affecting the widespread adoption of eHUBS. This led to the construction of different clusters of people, characterised by different potential and interest in terms of use of eHUBS and to general recommendations for deployment: have a pervasive network of hubs across the city; integrate it well with PT offer; make it easy to use and pay the service.

Tim Asperges, Urban mobility advisor of the city of Leuven

Leuven, due to population growth, must face issues of congestion. At the same time, it aims at becoming climate neutral by 2030, according to an integrated strategy that brings together the city administration, business community, academia, and the citizens. Concerning transport, the strategy set the objectives of doubling the trips done by PT and by bike and to reduce car trips by 20%. To reach this goal, it is important for Leuven to be supported by EU-funded projects and its technical partners, for example for upgrading transport models, as the case of the MOMENTUM project. Shared mobility services in combination with PT has been identified as key to reduce car trips, through different public and private carsharing and bikesharing systems. The eHUBS project will contribute to enhance the offer, by providing e-bikes and e-cargobikes: the underlying decision for shared mobility services is not allowing freefloating services in Leuven, but clustering them in eHUBS and stations. Service levels were also established to allow shared mobility and MaaS providers to deploy their services: the main requirement is to share their data that will inform the city’s transport models. Another EU-funded project in which Leuven is participating, WeCount, is contributing with data originating from real-time traffic sensors to the transport plan for the Eastern part of Leuven. In the Car-free day at the end of September the Flemish Transport Minister of Mobility will inaugurate the first 15 eHUBS in Leuven, which aligns to the regional investment program of €100 mln to realise eHUBS across Flanders.

The webinar was concluded with a Q&A session that covered issues of inclusion of vulnerable transport user groups , selection of location of eHUBS and potential of shared mobility services in rural and underserved areas.

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