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International Symposium
on Inclusive Mobility Hubs

On May 19th the International Symposium on Inclusive Mobility Hubs, organized by the SmartHubs (smartmobilityhubs.eu) and CROW, took place in The Hague. We were hosted by the Municipality of The Hague with a great view over the Grote Markt in The Hague and had many fruitful discussions on the topic of inclusive, integrated mobility and the potential role of mobility hubs.

Our moderator of the day, Edwin van Uum (UUM), led us through a morning packed with information about tools developed in the SmartHubs project, international hub examples, and panel discussions on the challenges of developing inclusive hubs.

Professor Karst Geurs of the University of Twente and project leader of the European Smarthubs project kicked off the morning with an introduction to the SmartHubs project and its five living labs in the Netherlands, Munich, Vienna, Brussels, and Istanbul. He presented the SmartHubs integration ladder which categorizes hubs on their physical, digital, and democratic integration and includes inclusive design principles.

Christoph Kirchberger of the Technical University Vienna introduced the mobility hub ecosystem of Vienna and Eastern Austria to us which includes a whole network of mobility hubs facilitated by a wide range of actors. Examples of measures that support inclusion in these hubs include co-creation methods involving different actors during the design phase of hubs or digital skills training courses and test events during the operation phase.

Christoph also proudly launched the SmartHubs Open Data Platform (data.smartmobilityhubs.eu) which is the first cross-project open data platform for mobility hubs learning cases and allows to collect data on mobility hubs, compare hubs, and to analyze integration levels. We are happy to welcome new contributors on the ODP: Register

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The participants then split up into three groups for breakout sessions.

One group was introduced to the SmartHubs design game, a participatory co-creation tool developed in the SmartHubs project with augmented reality features. Four players took up new characters and discussed and negotiated which mobility and non-mobility elements should be placed at a square (Hobbemaplein) in The Hague. Karla Münzel (University of Twente) led through the game and Hilda Tellioglu (TU Vienna) explained the game features. Participants recognized the value of visualizing designs and the playful way of taking into account different perspectives and needs.

A second group discussed which governance factors influence the successful implementation of mobility hubs. Julia Hansel (WWU Münster) presented a framework for the governance of mobility hubs and led through a discussion on the influence of multiple governance aspects like the choice of locations for hubs, unclear responsibilities, and multi-level networks, stakeholder cooperation or the integration of hubs into policies.

The third group discussed the inclusion of vulnerable-to-exclusion citizens at mobility hubs. A relevant topic when you consider that current users of new mobility services like shared bikes or scooters are predominantly young, higher educated males. Jesse Pappers (VU Brussel) led through a discussion on barriers experienced by different groups, the reduction of barriers, and the question if hubs should be accessible to diverse groups from a cost-effectiveness perspective.

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After the breakout sessions, Diederik Basta of the municipality of Amsterdam and Martin Courtz of the province of Drenthe shared their insights from mobility hub projects in Amsterdam and Groningen-Drenthe with us. They explained their efforts for making hubs inclusive and using them as tools for a wider area of aspects next to transport and shared the struggles around inclusivity. Séverine Kas (KennisOverZien) then introduced us to the challenges faced by travelers with visual impairments and reflected on the opportunities and risks of inclusive mobility hubs. 

An interactive panel discussion evolved around the challenges of inclusive hub design which was then continued by representatives of the cities of The Hague and Rotterdam (Charles Huijts and Mariet de Haas) and the local public transit providers HTM and RET (Sandra Nijënstein and Halmar Kranenburg). Closing the symposium the audience and the panel agreed that hubs could act as game changers for transport and as a tool for increasing accessibility but that implementation knows many challenges.

Slides of the presentations