Generation Y as a catalyst for a paradigm shift in urban mobility
Authors: Eduardo Noronha, J Oliveira
Abstract: Most urban areas in developed countries today have structural mobility problems, exacerbated by the ineffectiveness of territorial governance policies and the lack of strategies to anticipate the environmental challenges triggered by climate change. Given the many uncertainties predicted for the near future, mobility is perhaps the quality that best represents contemporaneity. It represents the pressures and political challenges that will determine the living conditions of the next generations, as Henrik Hololei, Director General for Mobility and Transport of the EU, said in 2019 (Transport in the European Union – current trends and issues). To integrate the EU's plan to implement the Climate Neutral Mission and Smart Cities, which aims for inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and communities, this study focuses on a research strategy on the current urban mobility paradigm and emerging opportunities as society continues to shift to electric vehicles.According to Eusotat's November 2021 data, commuting to work is one of the main reasons for daily trips. Moreover, the car is the predominant mode of transport, used by less than 2 people on average. Given this scenario, it is appropriate and urgent to redefine the status of the automobile and to orient a new vehicle design towards the expectations and values of the young and professionally active age group, between 25 and 45 years, referred to as Generation Y. These people do not find economic, safe and comfortable solutions compatible with their priorities and life expectations in the current commercial offer of own cars, shared mobility systems or public transport.For this reason, the authors believe it is appropriate to ask the following questions:- Will a typical passenger car with comfortable seating for 5 people, an average price of €32,035 (data from European average car prices in 2015-2020, by country, from Statista in June 2022), mainly used by the driver, be compatible with the mobility expectations of a young generation in Europe? - Does the continued investment in increasing the range of electric vehicles make sense when most journeys are between home and work with an average distance of 10 km? - Will it be possible to increase the capacity of parking spaces without changing the existing infrastructure? - Will people with reduced mobility be able to drive autonomously and access the interior of the vehicle effortlessly?Given these assumptions, this study converges in a research strategy that aims to analyze, reflect and design a user-centered vehicle for urban mobility that enforces the concepts of inclusion for people with reduced mobility, integrates the EU Sustainable Development Goals and gears the vehicle towards commuter trips. This context sets the stage for a radical innovation of the mobility paradigm that, despite recent technological advances, currently fails to meet the social, economic and environmental demands of contemporary society.
Keywords: urban mobility, commuting trips, generation Y, vehicle design
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