Agreement to drive the mobility of the futureThe Urban Mobility Lab is the result of an alliance between Barcelona City Council, EIT Urban Mobility, Fira de Barcelona and the DGT, to facilitate pilot projects and transformational initiatives to tackle the current challenges for urban mobility. The goal is to promote innovation in smart and sustainable mobility, in line with the sustainable development goals (SDGS) in the 2030 Agenda.
The alliance between administrations and organisations also includes collaboration from promotors and advisory bodies (companies, associations, research centres and universities), which contribute resources and expert knowledge on mobility. In addition, the alliance will include the companies, start-ups, business associations and research centres chosen to carry out the innovation projects.
Projects will be selected according to the innovation challenges for which solutions are sought, for instance, facilitating recharging for electric vehicles, reducing environmental pollution in the city, optimising itineraries for the fleet of waste collection vehicles or reducing traffic accidents.
Public space as a test lab
One of the key aspects of the agreement is that it offers companies areas of public space in the city which can be used as a test bed for trialling innovation projects in real environments. This does away with the current limitations caused by a lack of regulations, a situation which some organisations come up against in trying to execute new tech and services with a huge social and economic potential.
Innovation space at Fira de Barcelona
SMEs, start-ups, companies, research centres and universities will be able to develop innovative mobility solutions and present them at leading fairs such as the Smart City Expo World Congress and Tomorrow Mobility, giving them an international reach and scaled capacity.
The space has been conceived to host similar initiatives in other sectors where Fira enjoys an international standing (tech, audio-visuals, food etc.).
Advisory service and access to data
The agreement also includes technical support from expert professionals who will help companies on legal, technical and operational aspects. They will also get help with collecting data and information thanks to the municipal infrastructure of networks and sensors (on buses, at traffic lights etc.).
A big data office will be set up to homogenise the information collected and create a joint database. This will also help establish a system of indicators to select the most suitable testing areas for future pilot projects.
First projects for the Urban Mobility Lab
Projects already under way include:
- DGT 3.0: promoted by the DGT, Barcelona City Council, SEAT and ETRA, has developed cellular technology to connect cars with traffic lights and the traffic control centre.
- Autonomous Ready, flota segura 3000: promoted by the DGT, Barcelona City Council and Mobileye and already under way in the city, this project plans to install artificial vision systems (ADAS) on fleets of private vehicles.
- Technical improvements on the H12 bus line: promoted by TMB and the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) to boost the service level on the current H2 bus line, transforming it into an electric service with connectivity and automatic enablers (big data, artificial intelligence etc.).
Barcelona as the capital of innovation
The Urban Mobility Lab is one of the first initiatives of the future Barcelona Urban Innovation Lab, which seeks to promote innovation to find tech solutions to the current and future challenges in various city spheres.
It is also one of the tools from the public-private collaboration platform Barcelona Innovation Coast (BIC), set up at the end of 2021 to diversify the economy and consolidate Barcelona as the capital for innovation for social, economic and environmental sustainability.