TEI Supports SEAMlessTM Vision

The Transportation Evolution Institute has been involved in a number of sustainable mobility-related initiatives in Canada and abroad. We thought we would end the year by providing readers with a brief update of some of these activities.

As many of you are aware, the Institute supports the SEAMless™ vision of mobility developed by MARCON. As a brief summary for those who are not familiar with this model, SEAMless refers to Shared, Electric, Autonomous, Multimodal mobility. In this sustainable transportation ecosystem, mobility is accessible via technology that is becoming increasingly ubiquitous. A user is presented with mobility options (including but not limited to information about cost, time of departure, time of arrival, active and non-active modes to be used, environmental footprint and level of sharing with others) enabling him/her to reach his/her destination. Travel options take into consideration the user’s set preferences (example: increased physical activity) and physical limitations (example: options may limit active mobility).

The Institute’s activities over the last few months reflect our work in promoting the SEAMless mobility model.

Electric mobility: The Institute is a staunch supporter of electrification of transportation, wherever possible. Within Canada, the Institute collaborates with Electric Mobility Canada, the national organization promoting electrification of transportation, in all its forms. The Institute also collaborates with AVERE, the European electric mobility association.

Our environmental realities and the blatant inability of internal combustion engines to help us meet our pressing environmental commitments means that electric propulsion systems charged with electricity generated increasingly through renewables is an important solution.

For Canada, it is a no-brainer. Almost 70% of Canada’s electricity is generated through renewables and thanks to utility efforts, this percentage is increasing.  Instead of importing fossil fuels and hurting the provincial trade balances, it makes strong economic sense to use electricity produced locally to power our mobility solutions. This approach supports a domestic good and the local jobs required to deliver this good to the mode of mobility.

A 2015 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists entitled “Cleaner Cars from Cradle to Grave” says that “over their lifetime, battery electric vehicles produce far less global warming pollution than their gasoline counterparts – and they’re getting cleaner.”

Car sharing: Sharing is an important part of the SEAMless Mobility model. Research has demonstrated that a shared vehicle replaces 9 to 13 individually owned vehicles. Shared, electric mobility is increasingly being encouraged by municipalities as a way of dealing with stifling congestion and pollution issues. One need only look at the efforts and plans of cities like Helsinki, Oslo, Paris and London.

The Institute collaborates with the Car Sharing Association and supports efforts of car sharing organizations to electrify their fleets. Not only is car sharing fleet electrification important in terms of immediate environmental impact, but it has the advantage of educating car sharing users about electric vehicles. In fact, research undertaken this year in the US concluded that an individual who has used an electric vehicle in car sharing mode is 43% more likely to buy an EV if a change in his/her lifestyle requires him/her to purchase a vehicle.

Research undertaken this year by some of the Institute’s members in the area of car sharing fleet electrification and discussions with car sharing fleets in Canada and abroad lead us to believe that municipal – fleet collaborations present strong opportunities for car sharing electrification.

Mobility as a Service (MaaS):  Last month’s newsletter article described the plans of the government of Finland to implement MaaS as a way of moving to a sustainable mobility model based on usership instead of ownership of mobility. It is a model that makes significant sense from the perspective of the Finnish people as well as the Finnish government. For the latter, it is an economic development policy that also helps the country better manage its expenditures while helping to meet its emissions reductions targets. For the citizens of the country who, like motorists around the world, use their vehicles on average 4% of the time, the car is generally their second greatest expense after lodging (first for home owners who choose to invest in their lodging). If the Finnish people can be presented with an integrated mobility system composed of a variety of options for moving around, a system that is convenient and easy to use, and one that costs less than vehicle ownership, why would ownership make sense?

MaaS means sharing of mobility assets. It also means true integration of multimodality. Where possible, electrification is encouraged. Shared, electric and multimodal: three of the four pillars of the SEAMless Mobility model.

A few weeks ago, Catherine Kargas was in Finland, collaborating with the Finnish government on this important step in sustainable transportation. She moderated the MaaS Summit (involving transportation, technology, transit and government stakeholders from around the world) that took place in Helsinki and represented the Institute at the MaaS Alliance meetings. We are pleased to announce that the Institute is a member of the MaaS Alliance.

Automated technology: The Finnish Government is interested in incorporating autonomous vehicle technology into MaaS: the fourth pillar of the SEAMless model.

Given its numerous benefits, the Institute is a firm supporter of automated vehicle technology. We are pleased to have contributed to the discussions at the Ontario AV Ministerial Roundtable that took place on October 29th 2015.

Over the last three years, the Institute’s members have visited the developers of this technology in Canada, the US as well as Europe. A couple of our members recently completed a tour of numerous organizations in Europe that are involved in the development and early commercialization of the technology. We are proud to report that some of these organizations will be demonstrating their capabilities at EVS29 that will take place in Montréal, June 18-22, 2016.  Don’t miss the opportunity to see and experience tomorrow’s electric mobility.

We are working on exciting projects that we hope to report on in the coming year. In the meantime, we take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a great start to 2016.

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