In a weekly column, alternately written by Lucien Engelen, Maarten Steinbuch, Carlo van de Weijer, Daan Kersten and Tessie Hartjes, E52 tries to find out what the future will look like. All five contributors are all working on technologies that can provide solutions to the problems of our time. This Sunday, it’s Carlo van de Weijer‘s turn.
“These Smart Mobility initiatives will not fly until they will be actually used, which I want to address here to you all.”Carlo van de Weijer,
Brainport has set yet another record. Last Sunday 746 electric cars were driving in a row between Helmond and Eindhoven, enough for a spot in the Guinness book of world records. There are many more embarrassing ways to achieve that honor. Apart from all riders, thousands of visitors were attracted by the event, also because there was much more automotive high-tech to be seen. That had to do with the fact that that Sunday the Automotive Week started in Helmond, a week of well-attended conferences, international events and meetings between hundreds of automotive technology students. It made me proud all over. Smart Mobility had landed again in the Brainport Area.
The week before, I attended the conference on Smart Cycling Futures in the center of Eindhoven. Again, a crowded room of people who made Eindhoven the center of perhaps the smartest form of mobility.
And this week it was announced that Uber has landed in Eindhoven. Not the only, but currently the most obvious example of how the future of so-called “Mobility as a Service” looks like. With the predictable result of some poor protesting taxi drivers whose communication style during an interview on Omroep Brabant demonstrated perfectly why Uber gets such high client appreciation worldwide.
And there will be many more smart mobility examples in our province. Deputy Christoph van der Maat pulls hard at the SmartWayz initiative that includes the unspent money saved from the cancelled highway construction “De Ruit” that will partly be used for ambitious Smart Mobility initiatives. You will notice.
But all these initiatives will not fly until they will be actually used, which I want to address here to you all. If there is one part of everyday life where habitual behavior reigns it is mobility. We’re very solid in the way to move ourselves. But surprisingly often it pays off to try a different way for a change. I therefore call on everyone to take advantage of all Smart mobility opportunities out there and try them yourself. Participate in projects to combat shock wave traffic jams, or similar projects to come. Try the fantastic electric VDL buses that Connexxion applies with great success in Southeast Brabant. Borrow an electric bike from someone to commute, it might work for you as well. Use Uber now it is here, if only once to feel how such systems work. Borrow a bike from Hopperpoint in Eindhoven or Tilburg. Rent your car to others or rent a car from someone else via Snappcar; already today there are hundreds of private rental cars in our region, starting at 20 Euros per day. It’s all up for grabs.
It shows that Smart Mobility is very close. And much more will follow. During that fantastic first weekend of the Automotive Week, it was clear that our region is ready for it.