In May 2021, Mpact and 30 partners from Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Austria and Turkey launched the SmartHubs-project: Smart Mobility Hubs as Game Changers in Transport. The objective of this project is to study the concept of Mobipoints, mobility hubs on the public road where citizens can choose between different shared and sustainable mobility services. This project is unique since it departs from the needs of the (potential) users and aims to make MobiHubs as accessible as possible.
The aim of SmartHubs is to develop several MobiHubs that are centered on the needs of the users by co-designing them with the local residents. We will analyze the impact of this co-construction process on the way residents move around town: do they opt for more sustainable transport services? Has the Mobipoint become more accessible for them? To analyze this, we will set up Living Labs (where we develop and test the concept of sustainable and accessible SmartHubs) in Brussels, the Rotterdam-Hague metropolitan area, Munich, Vienna and Istanbul.
Amongst other things, we will conduct interviews with local residents, test digital kiosks that bring together all transport-related information for this MobiHub, design experiments with signage, use augmented reality to show what a Mobipoint could look like and use gamification approaches to facilitate co-creation processes.
The SmartHubs project is innovative because of this combination of different research techniques, but also because we are drawing attention to population segments vulnerable to exclusion such as low-income people, the digitally excluded, women, and refugees.
The Brussels consortium consists of Mpact, the MOBI research department of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), the municipality of Anderlecht and Brussels Mobility. The Brussels Living Lab will be developed in the municipality of Anderlecht, where we will co-create a Mobipoint with the citizens of Cureghem, the transport operators, the municipality… By developing a Mobipoint in the heart of one of the most diverse neighborhoods of the Belgian capital, we can learn more about the needs of people vulnerable-to-exclusion groups such as ethnic minorities, people with low income, and so forth.
The SmartHubs project is funded by JPI Urban Europe and Innoviris.