The smart car is more economical, cleaner, safer and cheaper than current models. It not only requires a technical breakthrough to enable the growth of smart mobility, but also some administrative disobedience. That’s what Carlo van de Weijer, director of Smart Mobility at TU Eindhoven, says in an interview with BrabantKennis on the Next Mobility Hack. The platform gathers information for a hackathon around smart mobility in October.

“I call on Brabant to embrace this modern technology”, Van de Weijer says. “Try to get ahead of the others with a little administrative disobedience occasionally! Of course you might even pick up a wrong turn once every while, but even that you have to experience. Brabant has a lot of activity and knowledge in the field of automotive electronics which can come in handy, like at NXP, Prodrive, TomTom, TASS International and TNO. All kinds of new products and services arise in the areas of mobility, such as sensors that warn of danger of collision or the app Beamrz that brings together supply and demand in the field of mobility.”

Public Transport

Van de Weijer is not a fan of public transport, especially because it is too expensive. For urban transport, he sees more solutions in car sharing and bicycling. “Cyclists and cars cost the government very little money. This is in contrast to the current public transport, which should really be organized differently. In the current bus system, only once a day a full bus will bring students to and from a village school, the other fifteen times it just drives around completely empty, or perhaps it can bring aunt Fien from Farmville to the market. We must link demand and supply to each other in a smarter way. This allows us to anticipate to a reality that will arrive anyway.”

Dusseldorf

Trains are not a solution either, Van de Weijer says. “The specific problem with rail transport is that infrastructure is very expensive. There are talks to build a High Speed Line between Eindhoven and Düsseldorf, which will cost around ten billion. Even with the most positive estimate of the number of passengers, the price will be just over €100 per ticket. For that amount, you can also get a privately leased car for one month.”

During a SingularityU training last week, Van de Weijer shared his calculations on payback of highways versus rail infrastructure. Van de Weijer’s Singularity-colleague Lucien Engelen reports:

singularity logo“To our, certainly my, surprise, the costs of public transportation appear to be much higher than for instance cars and planes, as explained by Carlo van de Weijer (PhD). And with vehicles quickly becoming inherently safe and clean, classical public transport will face some difficult times. He foresees a huge role for “mobility as a service” where private lease, car- and ride-sharing services will offer a much better and cheaper alternative. He calculated replacing rail with asphalt would deliver a far better and cheaper option, and the replacement would have earned back within a year.”