Sustainable Mobility

Utrecht University aims to contribute to sustainable mobility solutions that are good for people and the environment. Through our transdisciplinary research we combine complex challenges including spatial design, governance, ecology, innovation, equity, social inclusion and health.

Equitable mobility and behaviour

The accessibility of cities and regions is changing. Demographic, economic, societal and technological developments have a great impact on mobility. They do not only affect the everyday activities and travel behaviour of citizens, but also have an impact on health and social inclusion for example. How do we plan for just, equitable and healthy mobility solutions? What is the impact of new mobility services (i.e. Mobility as a Service, car and bicycle sharing) on our travel behaviour, accessibility and justice? How do we make sure that mobility solutions address both environmental and socioeconomic problems, thereby covering as wide a range of public values as possible?

Innovation and experiments

The development of more sustainable, equitable and inclusive mobility systems in cities and regions requires major socio-technical transitions. A wide range of stakeholders, including municipalities, provinces and private companies alike, are experimenting with all kinds of mobility innovations to find out how these transitions can be realized. How do we make sure that the potential of these experiments is fully harnessed? How can we encourage the upscaling of successful experiments? And how do we measure the results of mobility experiments?

Mobility and energy transition

The mobility system and energy system are strongly interrelated. What does this imply for a transition towards a more sustainable mobility system and for the more general energy transition that is needed. How can daily mobility take place in a more energy efficient way for example? To what extent will electric vehicles provide a sustainable form of transportation? And how should electric vehicles and the electricity grid interact? We combine technical knowledge with knowledge of behavioural and governance processes to come to new and effective insights.

Artist's impression of Scenario Travel Unlimited (foreseeable consequences), project Algorithmic Studio, credit: De Verbeeldstorm

Examples of mobility projects at Utrecht University

Equitable mobility and behaviour

Algorithmic Studio Digital platforms increasingly influence urban dynamics. Commercial and individual values typically prevail in this process. How can we ensure that these platforms contribute to public values in the city? 

EQUIMOB EQUIMOB believes that interdisciplinary collaborations and innovative approaches are necessary to reduce inequalities and make urban transport inclusive for the vulnerable population in India and Bangladesh. 

MOBIMON The Netherlands is an accessibile country, but not everybody enjoys the same degree of accessibility. MOBIMON developed a method to measure the degree of mobility poverty in the Netherlands and its impact on communities and citizens.

Mobility innovation and experiments

Virtual communities and upscaling innovations The potential of virtual user communities in upscaling innovations. UU-researcher Toon Meelen and colleagues conducted an internet ethnography of a large virtual community that formed around the Electric Vehicle (EV). They discovered that the community played a key role in fostering electric vehicle use. 

MaaS-TRAINER In this online experiment participants pretend to be policy makers. The goal of the experiment is to get a better understanding of the project characteristics that play a role in mobility investments. The results are shared with the Municipality of Rotterdam in order to help them formulate better mobilities policies in the future.

Mobility and energy transition

IRIS Smart Cities IRIS is a HORIZON 2020 EU funded project that runs between 2017 and 2022. Various cities within Europe will draw upon a mix of universities and research organisations, local authorities, innovation agencies and private expertise to accelerate entire communities to adopt ambitious energy, mobility and ICT initiatives.