Understanding the SPROUT Innovative Urban Mobility Ecosystem

The SPROUT Project

What is the SPROUT project?
SPROUT stands for Sustainable Policy RespOnse to Urban mobility Transition. The project kicked off in September 2019 and will be running for three years The project consortium is led by the Zaragoza Logistics Center and brings together 29 partners from 15 countries including local and regional authorities, international organisations, transport authorities, and research institutes.

What triggered it?
The rapidly changing urban mobility environment – characterised by emerging business models, new technologies, and disruptive innovations – represents a considerable challenge for urban mobility policy making. Previously tested urban mobility policy responses are not adequate to address the transition underway and to address today’s societal challenges and issues related to citizens’ everyday lives and businesses’ requirements.

What is its overall mission?
SPROUT is a project of real-life implementations, driven by six pilot cities backed by a robust academic support. The pilot cities will be testing different urban mobility solutions from which the project will create un understanding of the current state of urban mobility and of the main drivers of future change. The cities will look at likely impacts and operational feasibility, identify areas where policy interventions, such as revised regulations, will be needed and what policy response alternatives there are, and then test and validate the pilot solutions and assess their financial, environmental and social impacts. The overall objective is not just to prove out particular mobility solutions, but to create real improvements in the capacity of cities worldwide to think through their current and future mobility issues and build policy-making capacity at urban, national and international level. The EU-funded project SPROUT will provide a new city-led innovative and data driven policy response to address the impacts of the emerging mobility patterns, digitallyenabled operating & business models, and transport users’ needs.

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City-led innovative policy response

Innovative mobility solutions are currently taking place in Europe since cities need to become SMART, CLIMATE NEUTRAL, ZERO POLLUTED until 2030 / 2050

Industry led innovation is speedy and sometimes have side effects that cities do not expect and many of them stay at pilots' stage...

City-led innovation aims at empowering leaders (city authorities and policymakers) to develop approaches in a way that is more effective and legitimate by placing people at the center of the problem-solving process and enabling the more active engagement of the stakeholders.

Cities need policy to enhance the transformation to digital & to accelerate their transition to innovation

City-led Innovations

Preparing the right conditions for embracing innovation

Innovative Policy Response

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The definition of the Urban Mobility Ecosystem

For identifying and defining the main elements of an urban mobility system that affect the readiness and capability of a city in deploying innovation in mobility, an ecosystem-based approach was followed. An ecosystem offers the ability to connect data, applications, relationships and expertise. Thus, adopting the ecosystem approach enables the user to bridge the gap between all the stakeholders, processes and systems involved in every move to more easily and efficiently connect, with greater transparency and better management reporting.

The following table contains the description of the six elements that were determined necessary to define an Innovative Urban Mobility ecosystem. The first element is “Climate & City Typology” which describes the geophysical and environmental conditions of a city and the element “Smart & Easily accessible” contains the level of accessibility of New Mobility Services (NMS) & Transportation services. Afterwards, the element “Safe & Security” assesses the level of security and safety of the current mobility services and the element Smart & “Innovative Resources & infrastructure available” refers to the Availability of smart resources, and physical and digital infrastructure. Moreover, the element “Innovative People & Stakeholders” concerns the behaviour of the people, the smart entrepreneurship etc. Finally, the element “Innovative Governance & Growth” describes the integrated planning and current political framework.

Element Description
Climate & City Typology This element reflects the need for a city that is open to new synergies and innovations; rich in educational and research levels and green in terms of the mobility system environmental performance
Smart & Easily accessible This element describes the need for a mobility system that is accessible and affordable for all the citizens as well as rich in terms of services provided and a city that provides higher levels of transparency in its governmental processes.
Safe & Secure The perception of the users about safety and security during the use of an Innovative UM solution can play a key role in the ecosystem. The number of accidents and the fatalities such as the safety requirements can express this element.
Smart & Innovative Resources & infrastructure available This element highlights the need for: 1) integrated, multimodal and smart infrastructure which will ease the implementation of innovative mobility solutions; 2) a highly efficient and effective mobility sector with low levels of congestion and enough space allocated to new mobility solutions; 3) advanced and data-driven knowledge of the city authorities on the needs of their mobility system and 4) a skilled workforce in mobility planning.
Innovative People & Stakeholders The actors and people of the city play a key role in the ecosystem approach since their perception defines the success of an innovative mobility solution adoption. This element reflects the city's culture which describes the city's perception of the deployment of innovative mobility solutions, the people's behaviour and level of smartness and finally the city's industry diversity.
Innovative Governance & Growth This element reflects the need for i) higher levels of interdepartmental coordination and a clear strategy towards implementation of innovative mobility policy ii) innovative procurement practices for facilitating the deployment of innovative mobility solutions; iii) higher levels of co-planning and iv) a clear investment strategy towards innovative mobility planning.

The two pillars of the Innovative Urban mobility ecosystem

Each of the aforementioned elements corresponds to a specific field that is important to driving urban mobility innovation. To better understand and further analyse these elements, it was necessary to downgrade them to a lower level, into sub-elements. These sub-elements can be categorized based on the perspective. The SPROUT urban policy model develops a holistic approach for capturing the innovative perspective from two different dimensions

The Innovation Readiness sub-elements of an Innovative Urban Mobility Ecosystem

Identifying if the city is capable and ready in deploying or enabling the deployment of mobility innovations. Capturing the innovation readiness of the city by studying the city’s organization structure, capability and capacity, current regulation practices, engagement practices, financial strength and investment opportunities etc. The description of the 11-innovation readiness sub-elements is included in table below.

Element Sub-elements Description
Innovative Governance & Growth R1 Inter-departmental coordination Describes the structure and the dedicated departments of a city to better implement innovative mobility solutions
R2 Mobility Planning Depicts the current regulatory framework of the city against passenger and freight transportation (existence of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) & Sustainable Urban Logistic Plan (SULP))
R3 Laison Shows the level of Public-Private Partnerships and corporations taking part in the city
R4 Public Investments Represents to what extent the city has ensured funding for innovative mobility solutions
Climate and City Typology R5 Openness Concerns about the networking of the city by assessing the level of national and international synergies of the city’s institutes
R6 Science & Education Constitutes the educational level of the inhabitants and the number of the research institutes and universities located in the city
Smart & Easily accessible R7 Transparency & Accountability Corresponds to the level of the transparency of governmental processes and the availability and the level of accessibility of urban mobility data
Safe & Secure No sub-elements identified -
Smart & Innovative Resources and Infra available R8 Data Availability Refers to how developed the data collection system is in a city (e.g. physical surveys or infrastructure to observe)?
R9 Cities Capacity Explains the level of capacity the city has to adopt innovation by using/providing specialists and having evidence-driven policy-making and to what extent the city has the infrastructure to help adopt innovative mobility solutions.
Innovative People & Stakeholders R10 Culture Shows the direction of the city and habitats towards innovation by assessing the city’s previous experience of implementing Innovative Business models and the acceptance/trend of the users towards green modes.
R11 Industry Diversity Identifies the smartness of the city’s industry by considering the number of big innovators (start-up & high-tech companies) that are established in the city

The Liveability sub-elements of an Innovative Urban Mobility Ecosystem

Identifying the city’s liveability levels which will ease the implementation of mobility innovations. Identifying the current levels of quality of life, mobility’s connectivity and sustainability e.tc. The description of the 11-innovation liveability sub-elements is included in table below.

Element Sub-element Description
Innovative Governance & Growth L1 Planning Investments Concerns about the potential impact on the expenses required for developing and operating the current/future urban mobility system.
Climate and City Typology L2 Sustainability Concerns about the changes related to climate change, the Air quality index and the Noise
Smart & Easily accessible L3 Accessibility Concerns about the ease with which all categories of passengers can use public transport
L4 Affordability Described by citizens' average annual cost of trips compared to the annual income
L5 Availability Includes all impacts related to   the mix of transport modes, the type of vehicles used and the type of mobility services that operate or will operate in the city's mobility environment
Safe & Secure L6 Safety and security Address the safety and security issues that may come up due to changes in the urban environment
Smart & Innovative Resources and Infra available L7 Efficiency Concerns about the allocation of public urban space among the different modes of transport.
L8 Convenience Concerns about the service level of the urban transport services provided
Innovative People &   Stakeholders L9 Behaviour and smartness Concern the perception of the users towards the innovative and new mobility solutions.

City typology

Based on the score of the Innovation Readiness and Liveability, four different types of a city were defined with specific characteristics following a grid approach. Regarding Innovation Readiness, the axis represents the maturity of a city to adopt an innovative mobility measure/policy response and regarding the Liveability, the axis represents the performance of the city in relation to specific liveability indicators.

The grid that is represented in the above figure contains four different types of cities regarding innovative urban mobility, Transition Starter is the worst performing while Mobile Pioneer is the best performing. The first type of cities, “Transition Starter”, contains cities that are neither mature to adopt innovation nor have they a sustainable urban mobility system. Moving to a step further, there are two twin types of cities, “Innovation Ready” and “Sustainable”; regarding them, the one is ready to adopt innovation, but their sustainability is low and the other has a liveable environment, but it is not ready to adopt innovation. The last type, “Mobility Pioneer”, describes cities that are ready for innovation and already have a liveable urban mobility ecosystem. The goal of a city is to reach the ideal city, which has high innovation readiness and liveability score (red star at the lower right part)