New issue of Thinking Cities released: “Finding balance in the thinking city”

The latest issue of the Thinking Cities magazine, Finding balance in the thinking city, explores the constant balancing act that cities have to perform when it comes to modal shift and multimodality: indeed, to achieve a more sustainable transport system, the human factor, in addition to infrastructure and technology, has to get increasing attention, and policy makers must take in consideration the needs of the individual users, as well as societal and economic needs and the urban environment.

As Karen Vancluysen observes in her editorial, this balancing act “is not necessarily the same as doing what the user is asking for […], as individual wishes and societal needs are not always aligned”. Indeed, this balance requires a combination of carrots and sticks, of incentives and interventions which may not be very popular at first.

Many of the articles of our latest issue touch upon the concept of finding this perfect balance between not only the wide variety of mobility options and transport modes available to us and how they are delivered, but also between varying degrees of practical sustainability.

In this issue, senior transport officials Pascal Smet, Minister of Mobility and Public Works of the Brussels Capital Region, and Philip Broeksma, Groningen’s Deputy Mayor, respectively discuss their plans for the future of Brussels (Urban hymns, p. 6) and Groningen (The next Groningen, p.10) and how they address the mobility issues that matter the most to their citizens.

The issue then dives into the examples of ready-made marketplaces for Mobility as a Service by exploring the multimodal approaches of Antwerp, Elba and Turku (Something for everyone, p. 38). Polis’ Thomas Mourey takes a look on the excellent Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans showed by the winner and runners up of the 7th EU SUMP Award, Greater Manchester, Dresden and Basel (Excellent planning, p.60).

This issue also marks one of the first publications referring to the main results of the ISAAC project (Stimulating safe walking and cycling within a multimodal transport environment): a representative user survey in nine European cities to examine the psychological determinants for mode shift and the PedBikePlanner, a webtool that provides evidence based information about what impact transport interventions have on modal shift and on road safety (Travel behaviour is in your head, p.68).

Last but not least, the perspective of Small and Medium-sized cities, living laboratories for urban transport innovation, is analysed by Polis’ Pasquale Cancellara (Upwardly mobile, p.82).

The 12th issue of Thinking Cities is available here (PDF). To know more about Thinking Cities and to access previous editions, click here.