The City Council of Bilbao and Petronor, with the support of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), held on November 23rd the debate Building sustainable urban mobility models at the University of Deusto (Bilbao). This event was a preview to the SUM Bilbao 19 Congress, which next February will bring together at the capital of Biscay experts and representatives of cities from around the world.
Likewise, this debate gathered speakers from the academic, public and private sectors, who analysed the opportunities and challenges of urban mobility. In particularly they regarded how the construction and implementation of urban mobility models can contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, guarantee the security and welfare of citizens, as well as promoting local economic development. In this occasion, the debate congregated Alfonso Gil, Deputy Mayor and City Councillor for Mobility and Sustainability, City Council of Bilbao; Jordi Hereu, former Mayor of Barcelona and President of Idencity; Antonio Masegosa, Representative of DeustoTech Mobility; Aitor Arzuaga, General Manager of IBIL; and Ion Larrañaga, Director of the Automotive Business Area st Tecnalia.
This debate is closely related to the current scenario of our cities, which need to become increasingly more resilient; adapt and face the challenges which climate change and the exhaustion of resources are bringing. In this regard, sustainable urban mobility is emerging as one of key pillars that will allow us to build healthier and safer sustainable cities. In this regard, Jordi Hereu highlighted the protagonist role of cities in the 21st century and stressed how, through strategic collaborations among citizens, the public and private sector, cities can become themselves solution agents.
On the other hand, Antonio Masegosa, emphasized the role that science and technology play in consolidating more sustainable urban mobility. Artificial intelligence, Big data, the Internet of things (IoT) and technology in general, in Masegosa’s opinion, are shifting the paradigm in mobility, which now begins to be understood as a service. Along these lines, Aitor Arzuaga stated that throughout the transformation of conventional mobility systems shaped by both the emergence of new technologies and electrification, institutions have played a fundamental role in facilitating the deployment of the required infrastructures, such as electric vehicle charging points in the urban area. In addition, he highlighted the need to foster knowledge of the rise of these new systems in order to facilitate their incorporation into the everyday life of cities and their inhabitants.
In turn, Ion Larrañaga pointed out the transformations that are taking place in the mobility market, as well as the importance of adapting industries and companies to respond to the new needs of sustainable mobility. Consequently, he stated that the introduction of new technologies in the automotive sector should contribute to consolidate systems of connected, shared, flexible, on demand and environmentally friendly mobility, and pointed out that it is “very important that the Basque automotive sector does not miss the opportunities that this transformation offers”.
As a wrap-up of the event, Alfonso Gil emphasized the need for cities to “find answers to all the uncertainties brought up by new mobility systems”, as “we cannot afford be short-sighted, cities need to have a broad perspective and a clear path”. Along these lines, the SUM Bilbao 19 becomes an ideal setting to gather an array of stakeholders linked to urban mobility and consequently, an opportunity to explore clear solutions that will help cities face the challenges of urban mobility.