When getting from A to B, users have several mobility choices: car, bike, on foot, train or bus. The decision to use one mode of transport rather than another is dependent on many factors, including habit, ease, cost and lack of awareness of the alternatives.
In the town of Sion, many users get around using private motor transport, even for short journeys. This intensive use of motor vehicles has a number of knock-on effects for the municipal authority, such as saturation of the road network during rush hours, air and noise pollution, the construction of infrastructures that take up a lot of space (to the detriment of other urban facilities), and the safety of soft modes of transport such as walking and cycling.
To counter this intensive vehicle use and step up the efforts that have been made to offer alternatives, Sion municipal authority is keen to do more to inform the population about alternative modes of transport and encourage them to adopt more sustainable forms of mobility. In recent years, the municipal authority has tackled the problem by providing additional options including park-and-ride facilities and cycle lanes, expanding its Publibike self-service cycle hire scheme, providing self-service cargo bikes, improving local bus services (new routes and more frequent buses), introducing free bus services on Friday nights and Saturdays, and creating new pedestrian zones and attractive social areas. However, not many residents are aware of the existence of some of these facilities, and this helps explain why these alternatives have not yet had the desired impact on the use of private motor transport, even if encouraging progress has been made.
The long-term objective is to encourage users to adopt a change in behaviour by demonstrating that this is possible and facilitating the transition. One way of achieving this would be to create a platform informing the population about the various possibilities and transport options available which would focus on the advantages of alternative mobility. This could include the following issues and ideas:
- For commuters travelling by car into the town centre during rush hour (from a neighbouring valley for example), what are the available alternatives and what do they involve? An interactive map could be used to indicate the best journey solution based on different criteria (time required to get from A to B, total cost, carbon footprint, etc.). This journey calculator would have to incorporate the different modes of transport available and should, for example, suggest the optimum combination of travel options. To reflect the situation on the ground accurately, this calculator could also include real-time data management providing information about traffic hold-ups and passenger numbers, for example.
- Everybody knows that cycling is cheaper than driving, but what does that mean for the individual user and what are the actual figures? One option would be to provide a tool that compares the annual costs of different modes of transport. For example, for an individual user, what are the purchase, insurance, fuel and maintenance costs of a car compared to a bicycle or the cost of using public transport?
- There is not enough awareness of the soft mobility options introduced by the municipal authority. These could be promoted by, for example, creating a digital version of the Sion soft mobility travel map (https://www.sion.ch/_docn/2480762/Carte_mobilite769_douce_web.pdf). An interactive version would be more user-friendly and increase take-up. This could, for example, suggest different types of cycle routes to suit the abilities and objectives of different users (express, tourist and school routes, for example) and could promote lesser-known routes.
The solutions proposed should address the specific case of Sion, but where possible should also be more generally applicable so that they can be replicated in other urban areas.
We are looking for a really innovative solution that will inform users about existing alternatives to motor vehicles and promote the municipal authority’s mobility offers, and not just a standard communication plan.
Desired innovation focus:
- Presenting information in a fun, interactive form
- A freely available tool