Students make their mobility futureproof


On December 14th 1911, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundson reached the South Pole as the first human being ever. He succeeded in doing that while in a friendly competition with the British explorer Robert F. Scott. Amundson reached the South Pole safely and first because he thought out of the box and used dogs as transport instead of horses. For years, Amundson’s road to the South Pole has been an inspiration for change in our mobility system. This is why Mpact used this story as a thread through the final event of the international student challenge, exactly 110 years later.

The youngsters are the future, that’s for sure. This is why Mpact thinks involving students is the way to go when creating future scenarios for reconsidering our current mobility system. Starting from this point of view, our youth platform, A Tribe Called Transport (ATCT), was launched in 2019. ATCT encourages students to think critically about mobility and empowers them to come up with their own solutions for their mobility challenges. This resulted in several blogs, Lost Lectures, international exchanges, podcast episodes,… and student challenges.

From October to December 2021, ATCT challenged students from Belgium and abroad to reconsider their travel experiences on and to their campus and make them futureproof. Very necessary, according to our own research. More than 100 students worked on this challenge with FACES (For everyone, Autonomous, Connected, Electric, Shared) as a thread through their ideas. 20 teams submitted an idea. From a shortlist of 10 teams, 4 teams were chosen by our team and 1 team by a public vote who could join us for the final event.

Finally (no pun intended), the tall order was for Milan Calloens (Flemish Youth Council), Ditte Bendix Lanng (University of Aalborg, Denmark), Rob van der Bijl (University of Ghent), Delphine Eeckhout (Traject), and Tjalle Groen (Mpact) to choose 3 winners out of the 5 rocking ideas. After long and difficult deliberation, these groups became the winners:

Tsudoi. The students of the University of Kyoto tackle the decentralized design of their campus by using multifunctional meeting places (tsudoi). They valorize the space, avoid travel and long queues and experiment with futuristic concepts: self-driving delivery robots! 

Yellow Brick Road. With a musical and a cinematic nod, the students from Uhasselt presented their prestigious and iconic road for more active mobility.  They roll out the yellow carpet for bikers and walkers and give them the status they deserve as the real stars of mobility! 

Cyclademy. This merge of ‘cycling’ and ‘academy’ comes from the hands of a blended team of students from the VUB (Belgium) and the University of Götheborg (Sweden). The aim of their idea is to make travel for bikers as fluent as possible, so that biking can become more prominent as a mobility option.

The inventiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm of the participating teams speak for themselves: the youth is ready and on stand-by to (re)shape (the mobility of) the future. This is why Mpact will keep on supporting the youth to let their voices be heard. 

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You can rewatch the thrilling final event of December 14th 2021 here.

The international student challenge was organized in the framework of the European North Sea Region project ART-Forum, which focuses on the social and economic impact of automated transport.