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Year: 2022 

Client: EIT Urban Mobility

Citizen Engagement in EIT Urban Mobility’s RAPTOR Program

Creating better micro-mobility solutions through citizen engagement

RAPTOR (Rapid Applications for Transport) is an initiative of EIT Urban Mobility that seeks to support and test innovative solutions promoting the mobility transition across European cities. In the context of the RAPTOR programme, and in collaboration with EIT Urban Mobility’s User Engagement team, we developed a Citizen Engagement* strategy for two RAPTOR pilots: in Riga, Latvia; and in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

The objective of our work was to propose, deliver and analyse the results of two tailor-made citizen engagement research projects, with the goal to support the pilot implementation of two micro-mobility solutions: in Riga, a bicycle, e-bicycle and scooter smart parking locker, developed by Spanish start-up Novality; and in Cluj-Napoca, a mobile phone app dedicated to giving real-time information on the bus network, developed by Romanian company X2 Mobile.

Using mixed qualitative research methods both remotely and on-site (interviews, online surveys, observations, testing…) we reframed our core, leading question “How can we create the conditions for a more human-centric mobility transition?” to two specific questions for the context of the two pilot solutions: “In what situations is predictability of Cluj-Napoca’s bus network more crucial?” and “What challenges of the parking experience in Riga is a smart parking device most suited to address?”

Using these questions as the basis of our research we were able to analyse both contexts, the proposed solutions and identify how they could be best implemented or adapted to meet the needs and expectations of the citizens of Riga and Cluj-Napoca.

In Latvia, we identified several opportunity areas for Novality’s smart locker, based on the most pressing challenges for micro-mobility users in the city, namely long-term parking, partnerships with office complexes, housing developers and multi-modality. In Romania, we validated X2 Mobile’s value proposition and assisted in the demo testing of the first version of the app, while creating a roadmap for its potential future development. In both cases, we paid attention to how to increase the numbers of users of micro-mobility vehicles or public transport.

The results were a series of recommendations for both the companies and the corresponding municipalities on the implementation of their solutions, but also for EIT Urban Mobility on how to best tailor the RAPTOR programme and ultimately develop a more human-centric approach to their mobility transition programmes.

*For the purpose of this research, and overall in our work, we apply a research approach that we call Citizen Experience (CX), a name that references the popular User Experience (UX) and that contests that traditional user-centric approach. Instead, we put the focus beyond the user, seeking to understand how services, solutions, challenges and situations relate to other humans (all of them) and  the city. 

In the context of mobility, this approach allows us to learn more and better about the way people interact with a specific solution or service; about whether that solution is actually tackling their needs; and about how it affects their experience and that of the non-users.

Applying Citizen Experience in the development of solutions that impact the public space helps companies and municipalities alike in building a more robust value proposition that is aligned with people’s needs, increasing trust and support from citizens in the implementation of innovation projects.

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