Conference coverage on YouTube
The IED in collaboration with the Repubblica Futura of San Marino organized the third conference dedicated to Smart City titled #DIGITOCRACY2016 - Smart Mobility Forum which took place on Friday 16 September 2016 in San Marino, Republic of San Marino. This event was the part of the EUROPEAN MOBILITY WEEK 2016.
Following successful forums about SMART CITY – a new model of democratic life – held in San Marino in 2014 and 2015 – this year's forum focused on the sustainable mobility. The conference aspired to be a support to the evolution process of this topic, hoping to achieve a better environmental, economic and social sustainability by implementing a series of virtuous practices which involve political, infrastructure and technology choices.
The aim was to improve the urban mobility also in a characteristic territory like the Republic of San Marino which is – due to its territorial and demographic characteristics – an extraordinary testing model. The event was attended by several political figures and experts in the field who presented their experience, launched projects and new ideas and visions considering the issue of the sustainable mobility.
Organisers and speakers of the event
The conference was opened by Mrs Antonella Mularoni, the former Minister of Territory and Environment, Agriculture, Telecommunications and International Economic Cooperation of the Republic of San Marino and the member of the IEDʼs Scientific Committee. In her welcome speech, Mrs Mularoni emphasized the goal to make "smart republic" from San Marino by promotion and implementation of the sustainable technologies into practice. She revealed her intention to put forward political incentives for the use of electric vehicles in San Marino. She praised the organisers of the conference for bringing together the experts from various industries and giving San Marino the opportunity to learn and understand what are the options in the field of sustainable mobility. Mrs Flaminia Baffigo, as the Coordinator of the IED, highlighted the interest of IED to continue contributing to the debate on smart mobility and promoting a better understanding of opportunities which EU platforms offer to the citizens of Europe. She mentioned the past activities and research initiatives of the Institute and outlined the intention to continue further in strengthening the confidence of European citizens and furthering their direct participation on formulations of European policies.
In the first political panel, Mr Fabio Toccaceli from the Repubblica Futura presented this Sammarinese new political proposal which tries to develop ideas and projects pursuing the path of renewal, transparency, meritocracy, mature social sensitivity and overall betterment of the society. The members of the platform aspire to transform these initiatives into concrete political measures in San Marino. Mr Toccaceli emphasized the need for the reorganization of mobility and public transport in the European towns and cities by investing into more sustainable infrastructure and the incentives which promote the use of alternative means of transport. Mr Toccaceli concluded that active involvement of governments and state authorities is absolutely necessary in order to reach these goals.
The second, technical-scientific panel was dedicated to the presentations of leading industrial experts. Mr Maurizio Melzi, the Director of Marketing and Communications for Koelliker Group and the responsible for the development of Electric Vehicles Market and Mobility for Mitsubishi Motors in Italy talked about the state of electric and hybrid vehicles. He presented the ways how to travel smarter and save kilometers in order to be economically and environmentally beneficial. Alongside air pollution and global warning, oil dependency is the major issue to which the car industry has to respond nowadays. As a consequence, several automobile companies including Mitsubishi have launched manufacture of special cars running on re-chargeable batteries which are economically beneficial and produce zero emissions. However, first of all the efficiency of electric mobility has to be proved to drivers by industries as well as governments so drivers will be encouraged to use electric cars, Mr Melzi underlined.
Mr Alessio Cogliati, the industry expert and the responsible for technology and industrial services division in the LindeGas Group in Italy, focused his presentation on hydrogen energy. He talked about the importance to introduce the alternative fuels which can gradually replace the fossil fuels. In the LindeGas Group, they chose hydrogen energy as the ideal solution because it creates zero emission in environment. There are already hydrogen vehicles and stations used in many parts of the world such as in Italy, Germany or the UK; there are also the art festivals which run on the hydrogen energy. However, in order to proceed further, it is necessary to transform hydrogen to something which will be politically feasible to implement in reality – in the view of Mr Cogliati this is a big challenge for the years ahead.
Mr Omar Vittone, President of SITRASB and Vice President of SISEX, the Italian-Swiss tunnel management company, highlighted the importance of interaction between public and governmental bodies towards implementation of sustainable transport in practice. He admitted that governments are very important here because they have to implement electric mobility into concrete policy proposals. The governments should take initiatives and invest into electric transport. Mr Vittone also emphasized that despite there is a long journey ahead in the implementation of smart mobility solutions, electric mobility is not only the future but it is already here now. Much thus depends on people and their mind-setting and willingness to adjust to these new things. In Vittoneʼs words, "car can be like iPhone, you just need to charge it instead of refuelling it."
The speakers in the third session presented three interesting international practices. Firstly Mr Asier Abaunza Robles, Councillor of the governing Basque National Party for Urban Planning at Bilbao City Council, presented the smart mobility projects implemented in Bilbao, the major city of the Basque country. According to Mr Abaunza, European cities have two main challenges when designing urban planning and urban renewal and rehabilitation processes: on one hand there is an obligation to move towards an inclusive city that guarantees the autonomy of movement of all people, without any difference on the physical limitations that they have; on the other hand the aging problem of European population increases mobility necessities and dependence. To meet these two challenges, Bilbao has adopted a strategy with three main areas: guaranteeing accessibility to public services, eliminating architectural barriers in public spaces and encouraging the installation of mechanical elements to ensure universal access. Accordingly, they removed the architectural barriers to bring more greenery to the city, installed free public elevators across the city, installed external mechanical structures which improve the accessibility and movement of people across roads and rivers and constructed several mechanical innovations for culture, sport and leisure.
The Director of NAMOREG in Baden-Württemberg's Ministry of Transport in Germany and the Second Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors at Kreissparkasse Ludwigsburg Mr Rainer Gessler introduced the current initiatives and selected projects from Baden-Württemberg. On the basis of the fact that Stuttgart is one of the most polluted cities in Germany, the local authorities have a big motivation to come with new projects targeted to make the city cleaner and "smarter". Electric mobility, pedelec rental services and real time traffic management are the elements of a systemic approach of sustainable mobility. Mr Gessler also introduced the pilot projects from the "Sustainable Mobile Stuttgart Region" programme which demonstrates how Baden-Württemberg imagines its trajectory towards a leading provider of sustainable mobility. He also explained how the NAMOREG project, the digital platform accessible from smart phones and bike/car sharing services, has made the mobility less pollutant and more interconnected in Baden-Württemberg.
Finally, Mr Jordan Kupelian, the member of the youth organization Young Democrats for Europe (YDE) and the Transport Planner for Transdev TRA in Paris, talked about the importance of smart mobility for public interest. In his view, smart mobility projects represent the economy which functions in favour of citizens in terms of environment, economy, stability, effectiveness, transferability and quality of life. Mr Kupelian presented the SPLIT Company which has developed the application that connects people travelling to the same destination – they book the trip by their smart phones and the system will match them with other people travelling to the same destination immediately. This is efficient, sustainable and affordable way of travelling which saves money and environment. Mr Kupelian also talked about the ways how local authorities can be part of the optimization transports and about the OPTICITIES platform which associates major cities, groups and SMEs in Europe to develop interoperable intelligent transport system solutions.
The event took place in the scenic environment of Podere Lesignano and was attended by more than one hundred people. Demo area within which the newest technological innovations in the field of sustainable mobility and electric cars were presented in collaboration with ASI (Associazione Sammarinese per l'Informatica), Techno Science Park San Marino-Italia., Concessionaria VW Reggini, Mitsubishi Motors Italia, UMPI Elettronica.
Main highlights and outcomes:
- It is important to invest into the promotion and implementation of the sustainable technologies so the sustainable mobility is more familiar to general public;
- There is an urgent need for the reorganization of mobility and public transport in the European towns and cities by investing into the sustainable infrastructure and the incentives which promote the use of alternative means of transport;
- The interaction between public and governmental bodies towards implementation of the sustainable transport in practice is crucially important;
- Smart mobility projects represent the economy which functions in favour of citizens in terms of environment, economy, stability, effectiveness, transferability and quality of life and therefore the governments and local authorities should inform about them as well as promote and implement them into practice to a higher level.
The event was organized with the financial support of the European Parliament.