Fonix was delighted to exhibit at the UK’s first dedicated conference on mobility hubs on Wednesday 25th May, which brought together experts from all different sectors of this industry. Here’s our top takeaways from each session:
Session 1: Mobility Hub Landscape
The first session was chaired by Adam Bidder, MD at Q park and joined by representatives from Steer, SESTran, CoMoUK and Meristem Design. The talk highlighted how a mobility hub landscape would be mapped out and how they provide space for a wide range of urban services such as car-sharing, electric vehicle charging (EV), car rental etc. It also emphasised the importance of retrieving data and working out solutions for different locations, and from this, developing a strategy for both mobility hubs and shared transport to make its integration effective in all locations.
Session 2: Evolution of Mobility Hubs
The evolution of the mobility hub talk was chaired by Jennie Martin, Secretary-General for ITS (UK). Supported by representatives from Arup, Voi Technology, TIER Mobility and Steer. Developing a framework for future mobility hubs and the role of them in supporting MaaS (Mobility as a Service) were among the topics discussed. This is essential when looking towards the future of mobility as it must focus on user needs and accessibility to reduce the likelihood of consumers reverting back to more comfortable options. The necessity for net-zero carbon is also a key factor in this push for change. This brought us nicely into the ever-changing industry of micro-mobility presented by Voi and TIER, showing the rapid growth of e-scooter usage but raised issues about pricing and inclusion.
Session 3: Data and Payment Hubs
This discussion was chaired by our very own Commercial Manager Sam Hunn alongside representatives from Chipside and Ecommpay. They covered how physical hubs have become places that facilitate the sharing of data, EV bay usage and multimodal travel. As something that will play a big part in mobility and transport, it is important to discuss what is needed to make the payment process convenient, seamless, and accessible to all users. ‘One size doesn’t fit all’ was a key point brought up in this discussion. As we progress into the future of this industry it’s necessary to have as many convenient and inclusive payment options as possible to provide for those unable to use the traditional payment methods.
Paul Moorby OBE explained how data sharing is the key to the innovation and development of society regarding mobility hubs. A ‘transport network of technology’ is needed and he believes learning consumer habits is the single most important thing when integrating mobility hubs. Further backed by Anthony Medica, who said that through this data sharing we can create the concept of ‘one journey, one payment’, allowing consumers to adjust to this transition into shared transport and micro-mobility.
However, the integration of mobility hubs is very dependent on accessibility, convenience, practicality and payment options. If these are not well thought through, then the public may not adopt these new modes of transport. Sam summed this up, saying ‘in the pursuit of synergy and data collection, we must not forget that public and shared transport is largely for the working class, and ensure that when it comes to marginalised groups, no one gets left behind by innovation.’
Session 4: Car Park 2.0
This session covered the future of car parks and how they can be designed and redefined as locations for mobility and service hubs. This was chaired by Vaso Vaina, MD of Stripe Consulting and supported by representatives from Fatkin and Potter Church & Holmes Architects.
The discussion delved into the potential of the architecture of mobility hubs and how we can utilise the space to incorporate everything a consumer would need in one place. This included many ideas from play areas, car rental and drive-in cinemas to helipads and delivery drones. The possibilities are endless! It is essential to cover all bases to ensure that they are used in all urban areas in the years to come as the population is growing and cities and towns are becoming more compact. An efficient use of this space is essential.
There are currently plans for new mobility hubs/car parks in Stoke on Trent, Manchester and London. These will look to be introduced in the mid to late 2020s. These developments will pave the way for future projects in the mobility hub sector.
Sessions 5: Electric Vehicle Hubs
This talk had a focus on EV hubs and how mobility hubs are playing a key role in the transition to zero-emission vehicles by becoming focal points for EV charging facilities and other local green energy initiatives. This was chaired by Mark Moran, Managing Editor, Parking review EVolution magazine and supported by representatives from Oxford city council and Mobilize.
It began with explaining the necessity of decarbonising transport and improving air quality through EVs due to the current state of emergency that our planet is in. A particular fact that stood out to me was that ‘in the UK up to 36,000 lives are shortened by air pollution every year’. They proceeded to talk about the importance of facilitating the growth of EVs by increasing the amount of EV charging points. Mobilize explained that there are currently issues with the timings, power supply and investment in EV charging points.
The future is bright for EV charge points; however, we are currently in a difficult transition phase where society is comfortable with their current forms of transport and are reluctant to adopt new modes of transport that are available. This is because they are not yet integrated enough into society. Ideas for charging points included pavement gullies, lamp post charging and retractable charging points.
Thanks to Landor Links for hosting the event, we look forward to the next event is this incredibly exciting space.